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Flexible alternatives to the Gompertz equation for describing growth with age in turkey hens

AuthorsPorter, T.; Kebreab, E.; Darmani Kuhi, H.; López, Secundino ; Strathe, A. B.; France, J.
Turkey hen
Repeated measure
Issue Date2010
PublisherPoultry Science Association
CitationPoultry Science 89(2) : 371-378 (2010)
AbstractA total of 49 profiles of growing turkey hens from commercial flocks were used in this study. Three flexible growth functions (von Bertalanffy, Richards, and Morgan) were evaluated with regard to their ability to describe the relationship between BW and age and were compared with the Gompertz equation with its fixed point of inflection, which might result in its overestimation. For each function, 4 ways of analysis were implemented. A basic model was fitted first, followed by implementation of a first-order autoregressive correlation structure. A model that considered only mature BW varied with year and another that considered only the rate coefficient varied with different years were applied. The results showed that the fixed point of inflection of the Gompertz equation can be a limitation and that the relationship between BW and age in turkeys was best described using flexible growth functions. However, the Richards equation failed to converge when fitted to the turkey growth data; therefore, it was not considered further. Inclusion of an autoregressive process of the first order rendered a substantially improved fit to data for the 3 growth functions. The Morgan equation provided the best fit to the data set and was used for characterizing mean growth curves for the 7 yr of production. It was estimated that the maximum growth rate occurred at 3.74, 3.65, 3.99, 4.18, 4.05, 4.01, and 3.77 kg BW for production years from 1997 to 2003, respectively. It is recommended that flexible growth functions should be considered as an alternative to the simpler functions (with a fixed point of inflection) for describing the relationship between BW and age in turkeys because they were easier to fit and very often gave a closer fit to data points because of their flexibility, and therefore a smaller residual MS value, than simpler models. It can also be recommended that studies should consider adding a first-order autoregressive process when analyzing repeated measures data with nonlinear models.
Description8 páginas.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps.2009-00141
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