Determining the genetic relationship between feed efficiency, production traits and greenhouse gas (NH3, N20, CO2, CH4)

Principal Investigator

Ben Wood, Hybrid Turkeys (Hendrix Genetics)/University of Guelph

Year the work was done


Overall objective

  • Determine the underlying genetic relationships between feed efficiency, production traits and greenhouse gas emission in turkeys.


  • A prototype apparatus to measure birds at the individual level was built and significant results were obtained from the apparatus.
  • Birds from the lower efficiency genetic line produced on average: 40.1%, 51.2% and 33.2% more CH4, NH3 and CO2 during sampling.
  • The feasibility of collecting enough individual measures required to measure the heritability was not accomplishable.
  • The difficulty (particularly the time required) in measurement made the implementation of GHG measure as a selection criterion in a breeding program not technically or economically feasible.


  • By selecting for reduced FCR by traditional practices the turkey industry will be moving to a more sustainable practice by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This research applies to


This research was supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canadian Poultry Research Council, Poultry Industry Council and Hybrid Turkeys.