The present study aims to validate the Gompertz model to predict the growth performance of chicken crosses according to growth curve parameters of the parental lines and the estimated heterosis for each curve parameter. A total of 252 one-day-old chicks of both sexes belonging to 6 genotypes, including Ross 308, Sassò (SA), Bionda Piemontese (BP), and Robusta Maculata (RM), and the crosses between these local breeds and SA (BP × SA and RM × SA) were randomly allocated in 18 pens (3 pens/genotype) in mixed-sex groups (14 animals/pen; 7 females and 7 males). The individual body weight (BW) of all birds was recorded once a week from hatching until slaughtering (81 d for Ross 308; 112 d for SA, 140 d for the other genotypes). We drew up our final dataset with 240 birds (40 birds/genotype; 20 females and 20 males). The growth curve of each genotype was described using the Gompertz model, and the heterosis for each growth curve parameter was calculated as the difference between F1 crosses and the average of parental breeds. The predicted growth curve parameters were evaluated by cross-validation. The Gompertz model accurately estimated the growth curves of all the genotypes (R2 > 0.90). Heterosis was significant for almost all growth curve parameters in both crosses (P < 0.05). Heterosis ranged from −13.0 to +11.5%, depending on parameters, but varied slightly between the crossbreeds (BP × SA and RM × SA). The predicted values of adult BW, weight at the inflection point, and maximum growth rate were overestimated for BP × SA and underestimated for RM × SA, with a mean error between observed and predicted values <│2.7│% for all the curve parameters. In conclusion, the growth performance of chicken crosses between local breeds and commercial strains can be accurately predicted with Gompertz parameters of the parental lines adjusting for heterosis.
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