Longitudinal patterns for feeding traits in the two parental populations of the mule duck - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2023

Longitudinal patterns for feeding traits in the two parental populations of the mule duck


In France, the mule duck contributes to more than 90% of the production of foie gras. The mule duck is the sterile hybrid obtained by crossing a Muscovy drake with a Pekin dam. Our objective was to study the dynamics of feeding behaviour traits during the growth of mule duck parental populations and ultimately evaluate if they can be used to improve their offspring foie gras production. Data were recorded on 453 Muscovy males and 740 Pekin ducks of both sexes using electronic feeders. Records were available for 5 weeks, starting from d15 in Pekin and d22 in Muscovy. Traits were computed on a daily basis as meal and feed intake (MFI and DFI), feeding time (DFT), meal duration (MD), feeding rate (FR), number of meals (NM) and body weight (BW). Traits were analysed using random regression models. The combined effects of age, batch and sex were used as fixed effects, while additive and environmental effects were fitted using Legendre polynomials of order up to 3. Daily heterogeneous residual variances were accounted for, through a structured antedependence approach. Average performances largely differed between populations: for instance, Muscovy ducks spent daily almost twice as much time feeding as Pekin ducks, while they ingested 12% less feed. However, despite these differences feeding traits exhibited similar longitudinal patterns between populations: BW, FR, DFI and MFI showed a positive trend throughout the trial in both Muscovy and Pekin populations, contrary to DFT and NM which decreased over time. In both populations, heritability estimates were low (0.10 for Pekin DFI) to moderate (0.35 for Pekin MD) at start, and increased to reach a maximum around 0.5, six to ten days later. Afterwards, in Pekin, heritabilities of feeding traits remained moderately high over time, while in Muscovy they showed a slight decreased over time (DFI, DFT, FR) or a sharp drop towards the end of the period (MFI, NM). This analysis would profitably be extended to estimate the genetic correlations of FR, DFT and MD, recently evidenced as potential selection criteria for an improved foie gras production, with the foie gras weight of mule offspring.
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Dates and versions

hal-04188558 , version 1 (25-08-2023)


  • HAL Id : hal-04188558 , version 1


Hervé Chapuis, Clément Ribas, Hélène Gilbert, Michel Lagüe, Ingrid David. Longitudinal patterns for feeding traits in the two parental populations of the mule duck. 74. Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP), Aug 2023, Lyon, France. pp.898. ⟨hal-04188558⟩
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