Broilers in a shed© Tim Scrivener

Popular broiler brand Ross is celebrating its 60th year in poultry genetics, dating back to the launch of the Chunky Chicks (Nichols) business in Ingliston, Edinburgh, in 1956.

Since then, there have been a number of landmarks, including the inclusion of Chunky Chicks as part of the Ross Group in 1962, the introduction of the Ross 1 in 1968 and the establishment of Ross Poultry Breeders in the US in 1972, in partnership with Arbor Acres.

See also: Aviagen expands as poultrymeat market takes off

By 1978 the Ross 1 brand had about a 25% share of the world market.

The company was acquired by Hillsdown Holdings in 1982, and the following year the Ross 1 was renamed the Ross Broiler.

The Stratford hatchery was opened in 1990, and in 1999 the Aviagen Group was created, combining the Ross and Arbor Acres brands.

Ross infographic

The company was acquired by the privately owned EW Group, based in Germany, in 2005.

The breeder offers Arbor Acres, Indian River and Ross brands of commercial broilers, as well as the Rowan Ranger and other speciality breeds.

“Over the past six decades, Ross has led the trend towards product differentiation,” said a statement.

“Instrumental to this has been a culture of science and innovation. Pioneering innovations such as multiple-environment selection, lifetime [feed conversion ratio (FCR)], and applied genomics have kept Ross at the forefront of poultry genetics.”

The company claims an FCR improvement in broilers of about two to three points a year. 

Alfons Koerhuis, Aviagen’s chief technical officer, said ongoing product development remained a top priority as the company aimed to meet a dramatic rise in demand for poultrymeat.