Whether the interval between preovulatory surges of LH was different between lines of turkey hens with either poor (RBC3 line, peak at 55%) or excellent rate of egg production (Egg line, peak at 85%) was examined. Laying hens were cannulated and bled hourly for 10 days at peak of production. A constant light photoschedule was used to avoid diurnal masking of innate circadian rhythms. The mean interval between LH surges in the RBC3 line was longer than in the Egg line and had a higher coefficient of variation. A few longer LH surge intervals (>72 h) were found in some RBC3 line hens (2 of 7 hens), but none were found in Egg line hens (0 of 11 hens). All progesterone (P4) surges were coupled with LH surges, but not all LH-P4 surges were coupled with ovipositions (blind LH-P4 surges). The percentage of blind LH-P4 surges was not different between lines. The baseline concentration of LH was higher in Egg line than RBC3 line hens, but LH surge amplitude, and surge duration were not different. The baseline and surge amplitude concentrations of P4 were not different between lines, nor was the concentration of estradiol-17β. The longer interval between LH surges was the major factor tested that was associated with the poorer egg production rate in RBC3 line hens in comparison to Egg line hens. A higher incidence of blind LH surges further contributed to lower egg production in RBC3 line turkey hens.
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