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The effect of age and castration on the growth rate, blood lipid profile, liver histology and feed conversion in Green-legged Partridge cockerels and capons

  • M. Zawacka (a1), D. Murawska (a1) and M. Gesek (a2)


The surgical castration of male chickens induces hormonal changes, which permanently influence metabolic processes in birds. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of age and castration on the growth rate, feed conversion, lipid profile and histopathological changes in the livers of cockerels and capons. The experimental materials comprised male chickens of the Green-legged Partridge breed (old traditional Polish chicken breed), raised to 28 weeks of age. At 8 weeks of age, 100 birds were castrated. Caponization had a significant effect on the plasma concentrations of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triacylglycerols (P<0.05). Fatty degeneration and lymphoid cell infiltration were observed more frequently in the livers of capons than cockerels. Capon carcasses were characterized by increased deposition of abdominal and subcutaneous fat (P<0.05). Total meat weight in the carcasses of cockerels and capons was similar, but the proportions of muscles were different. From 20 weeks of age, the weight of breast muscles was higher, and the weight of leg muscles was lower in capons than in cockerels (P<0.05). Capons were characterized by higher liver weight, higher gizzard weight and lower heart weight than cockerels (P<0.05). The feed conversion ratio (kg/kg BW) was similar in intact cockerels and capons. The values of carcass quality parameters and feed conversion ratio as well as histopathological changes in the liver indicate that Green-legged Partridge capons should be slaughtered at 20 to 24 weeks of age.


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