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Introduction: In Germany about 40 million one-day male chicks of laying hens are killed every year. An alternative to culling of males is the use of dual-purpose chicken. Objective of this study was to compare anatomical characteristics of dual-purpose chicken (Lohmann Dual, LD) with broiler chicken (Ross 308) under identical husbandry conditions. Materials and Methods: A total of 6 birds of each breed of comparable weight at different ages (Ross = 35 days; 1651.67 204 g body weight (BW) and LD = 63 days; 1491.17 73 g BW) were culled. Relative length of intestine, femur, and tibiotarsus, intestinal and bone density (g*cm 1) were calculated. Moreover, normalized mass [organ (g)/ BW (g)*100] of intestine, stomach complex (proventriculus, isthmus, and gizzard), liver, spleen, pancreas, Fabricius bursa, and heart were determined. Both data sets were compared using the Mann-Whitney U test.
Results: Normalized heart and pancreas mass and relative length of the entire intestine were signiﬁcantly smaller in LD (P < 0.05) than in Ross 308. In contrast, results for normalized stomach complex, spleen, femur and tibiotarsus mass and also relative bone length were signiﬁcantly larger in LD than in Ross 308. However, differences in bone and intestinal density were not signiﬁcant.
Conclusion: Smaller intestines in LD birds suggest a smaller area for nutrient digestion and absorption than in Ross 308. However, a larger stomach complex in LD than in Ross 308 corresponds to an increased processing of food, which could inﬂuence intestinal peristaltic and morphology. The similar bone density of both breeds suggests an equivalent mechanical strength and quality of bones at these ages. Differences between the groups could also be due to age difference and reﬂect a faster growth rate of the broiler birds. Thus, further investigations are required to establish morphology and growth pattern of the organs in LD birds.