General biology

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General biology


Modern commercial broilers, for example, Cornish crosses and Cornish-Rocks[citation needed], are artificially selected and bred for large-scale, efficient meat production. They are noted for having very fast growth rates, a high feed conversion ratio, and low levels of activity. Modern commercial broilers are bred to reach a slaughter-weight of about 2 kg in only 35 to 49 days. As a consequence, the behaviour and physiology of broilers reared for meat are those of immature birds, rather than adults. Slow growing free-range and organic strains have been developed which reach slaughter-weight at 12 to 16 weeks of age.

Typical broilers have white feathers and yellowish skin. Recent genetic analysis has revealed that the gene for yellow skin was incorporated into domestic birds through hybridization with the grey junglefowl (G. sonneratii). Modern crosses are also favorable for meat production because they lack the typical “hair” which many breeds have that necessitates singeing after plucking. Both male and female broilers are reared for their meat.