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Institute of

OF Organic Farming


Colorful chicken 3

Comparison of fattening and laying performance of crosses between layer and meat breeds in order to evaluate their potential for commercially independent breeding of chicken for organic husbandry

In this project four dual purpose genotypes were evaluated regarding their potential for organic agriculture: Purebred German Lachshuhn, a cross of German Lachshuhn and White Rock, and the two crosses ÖTZ Coffee and ÖTZ Cream.

Background and Objective

The current Eu regulation for organic agriculture (848/2018) states as one of the aims of organic agriculture "encouraging the preservation of rare and native breeds". Therefore, this project focused on using the breed German Lachshuhn under the conditions of organic husbandry. Purebred German Lachshuhn as well as a cross between German Lachshuhn and the laying breed White Rock, were compared with ÖTZ Cream and ÖTZ Coffee, two crosses of Ökologische Tierzucht gGmbH.


Mixed-sex groups of all genotypes were reared at a commercial farm. The cockerels were slaughtered at the age of 15 and 18 weeks, and the pullets were reared until they were ready to lay. Afterwards, the hens are kept for a one-year laying period.


The cockerels of the crosses ÖTZ Coffee and ÖTZ Cream showed a slightly better fattening performance than purebred German Lachshuhn and the cross German Lachshuhn x White Rock. The difference was higher at slaughtered with 15 weeks than with 18 weeks, indicating that the German Lachshuhn is a comparatively late-maturing breed.
The laying performance per average hen was 66-69% for ÖTZ Coffee, ÖTZ Cream and German Lachshuhn x White Rock, only the purebred German Lachshuhn showed a lower laying performance with 35%. This shows that crossing with White Rock led to a significant improvement in laying performance.

For both sexes combined, sibling pairs of ÖTZ Coffee, ÖTZ Cream, and German Lachshuhn x White Rock produced 1 kg of food (ready-to-sell carcasses plus eggs) from 3.7 kg of feed, while the value for German Lachshuhn was higher (6.3 kg), reflecting the lower laying performance of this meaty breed.

Involved external Thünen-Partners


4.2019 - 3.2021

More Information

Project status: finished


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    Werner D, Bussemas R, Baldinger L (2023) Crossing the old local breed Deutsches Lachshuhn with the layer breed White Rock: effects on laying performance of the females and fattening performance of the males. Animals MDPI 13(19):2999, DOI:10.3390/ani13192999

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