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Nangsuay A.,Kasetsart University | Ruangpanit Y.,Kasetsart University | Meijerhof R.,Poultry Performance Plus | Attamangkune S.,Kasetsart University
Poultry Science | Year: 2011

To evaluate the effect of breeder age and egg size on yolk absorption and embryo development, a total of 4,800 Ross 308 hatching eggs were subjected to 4 treatments arranged in a 2 × 2 factorial randomized complete block design using 2 breeder ages (29 and 53 wk of age, or young and old) and 2 egg sizes (57-61 g and 66-70 g, or small and large). A significant interaction between breeder age and egg size was found for egg composition. Yolk weight increased with flock age, whereas a larger egg size resulted in higher albumen content. A significant interaction between breeder age and egg size was found for yolk-free body (YFB) weight only at d 7. Until the fourteenth day of incubation, eggs from the old flock yielded greater YFB weight than did eggs from the young flock. At hatch, chicks of both age groups had comparable wet YFB weight, chick weight, wet and dry residual yolk weight, and chick length. Dry YFB weight of chicks from the old flock was higher than that of chicks from the young flock. Compared with the small eggs, embryos and chicks of the large eggs had greater YFB weight from d 14 to hatching. At hatch, these chicks were also heavier, longer, and had higher wet and dry YFB and residual yolk weight. Yolk absorption at d 18 and at hatch of embryos and chicks of the old flock was higher than that of the young flock, both in absolute values and percentages. Rates of absolute and percentage yolk absorption through d 18 and percentage yolk absorption at hatch were higher in the small eggs than in the large eggs. It can be concluded that egg size influences chick length at hatch and embryo development when expressed in terms of total and YFB weight. Although yolk availability and rate of absorption may have influenced dry YFB weight, they did not influence hatching chick length or total and YFB weight. © 2011 Poultry Science Association Inc.


Nangsuay A.,Kasetsart University | Meijerhof R.,Poultry Performance Plus | Ruangpanit Y.,Kasetsart University | Kemp B.,Wageningen University | van den Brand H.,Wageningen University
Poultry Science | Year: 2013

Two experiments were conducted to study the interaction between breeder age and egg size on the energy utilization (experiment 1) and heat production (experiment 2) of broiler embryos. In experiment 1, a total of 4,800 Ross-308 hatching eggs from 2 breeder ages (29 and 53 wk of age, or young and old) and, within each age, 2 egg sizes (57 to 61 g and 66 to 70 g, or small and large) were used. In experiment 2, a total of 240 Ross-308 hatching eggs from 2 breeder flocks at 29 (young) and 53 (old) wk of age, and which were selected from the same egg weight range (58 to 61 g), were tested in 2 Rep.licate chambers. In experiment 1, it was shown that the amount of yolk relative to albumen was higher in the old flock eggs, and this effect was more pronounced in the large eggs. The old flock eggs, especially the larger egg size, contained more energy as a result of a greater yolk size. Energy utilization of the embryos was positively related to yolk size and the amount of energy transferred to yolk-free body (YFB) was largely determined by the available egg energy. The efficiency of converting egg energy into chick body energy (EYFB) was equal for both egg sizes and both breeder age groups. Chick YFB weight of young and old flock eggs was equal. However, dry YFB weight of chicks from old flock eggs was higher than in chicks from young flock eggs, which was associated with more protein and fat content and thus more energy accumulated into YFB. As a consequence, embryos derived from old flock eggs produced more heat from d 16 of incubation onward than those of the young flock eggs. In conclusion, the higher energy deposition into chick YFB of old flock eggs, leading to higher embryonic heat production, is the result of a higher amount of available energy in the egg and is not due to changes in EYFB. © 2013 Poultry Science Association Inc.


Molenaar R.,Hatchtech | Hulet R.,Pennsylvania State University | Meijerhof R.,Poultry Performance Plus | Maatjens C.M.,Hatchtech | And 2 more authors.
Poultry Science | Year: 2011

High eggshell temperatures (EST; ≥38.9°C) during the second half of incubation are known to decrease the body and organ development of broiler hatchlings. In particular, relative heart weights are decreased by a high EST, and this may increase the incidence of metabolic disorders that are associated with cardiovascular development, such as ascites. The current study investigated the effects of a high EST on chick quality, subsequent performance, and the incidence of ascites later in life. Eggs were incubated at a normal (37.8°C) or high (38.9°C) EST from d 7 of incubation onward. After hatching, the chickens were housed per EST in pens, and a normal or cold temperature schedule was applied during the grow-out period. Hatchability, hatchling quality, BW, feed conversion ratio, total mortality, mortality associated with ascites, slaughter characteristics, and ascites susceptibility at 6 wk of age were evaluated. Except for total ventricle weight, no interaction was found between EST and the grow-out temperature. Hatchability was comparable between the EST treatments, but the percentage of second-grade chickens was 0.7% higher at the high EST. Yolk-free body mass was 3.0 g lower, and heart weights were 26% lower at hatch in the high compared with the normal EST treatment. Body weight continued to be less during the grow-out period after the high EST incubation. However, breast meat yield was 1.0% higher in the high than in the normal EST. Feed conversion ratio did not differ between EST treatments. Total mortality was 4.1% higher and mortality associated with ascites was 3.8% higher in the high compared with the normal EST treatment. The ratio between the right and total ventricle was 1.1% higher in the high compared with the normal EST treatment at slaughter age. In conclusion, a high EST from d 7 of incubation onward decreased hatchling quality and growth performance, but increased breast meat yield. Furthermore, high EST incubation increased the incidence of ascites, which may be related to the reduced heart development at hatch. © 2011 Poultry Science Association Inc.


Molenaar R.,Hatchtech | Van Den Anker I.,Wageningen University | Meijerhof R.,Poultry Performance Plus | Kemp B.,Wageningen University | Van Den Brand H.,Wageningen University
Poultry Science | Year: 2011

This study evaluated the influence of incubation conditions on the developmental and physiological status of birds in the perinatal period, which spans the end of incubation until the early posthatch period. Embryos were incubated at a normal (37.8°C) or high (38.9°C) eggshell temperature (EST) and a low (17%), normal (21%), or high (25%) O 2 concentration from d 7 until 19 of incubation. After d 19 of incubation, EST was maintained, but O 2 concentrations were 21% for all embryos. Body and organ weights, and hepatic glycogen levels were measured at d 18 of incubation and at 12 and 48 h after emergence from the eggshell. In addition, blood metabolites were measured at 12 and 48 h after emergence from the eggshell. Embryos incubated at a high EST and low O 2 concentration had the highest mortality in the last week of incubation, which may be related to their low yolk-free body mass (YFBM) or a reduced nutrient availability for hatching (i.e., hepatic glycogen). High EST, compared with normal EST, decreased YFBM. This may be due to the shorter incubation duration of 8 h, the lower weight of supply organs (i.e., heart and lung), or a lack of glucose precursors. Because of this lack of glucose precursors, embryos incubated at high EST may have used proteins for energy production instead of for body development at the end of incubation. The YFBM at d 18 of incubation increased with an increase in O 2 concentration. However, differences between the normal and high O 2 concentration disappeared at 12 and 48 h after emergence, possibly because the high O 2 concentration had difficulties adapting to lower O 2 concentrations in the perinatal period. Blood metabolites and hepatic glycogen were comparable among O 2 concentrations, indicating that the physiological status at hatch may be related to the environment that the embryo experienced during the hatching process. In conclusion, EST and O 2 concentration differentially influence the developmental and physiological status of broilers during the perinatal period. © 2011 Poultry Science Association Inc.


Reijrink I.A.M.,Hatchtech | Berghmans D.,Wageningen University | Meijerhof R.,Poultry Performance Plus | Kemp B.,Wageningen University | van den Brand H.,Wageningen University
Poultry Science | Year: 2010

When eggs are stored beyond 7 d, hatchability and chick quality decrease. The cause of the negative effects of prolonged egg storage is not clear. The negative effects may be caused by a decrease in embryo viability due to an increase in cell death. The optimal time and curve of preincubation warming (the preincubation warming profile) may be different for eggs stored over short and long periods of time because embryo viability is dependent on egg storage time. The aim of this study was to investigate whether preincubation warming profiles affect embryonic development, hatchability, and chick quality when eggs are stored for a short or prolonged time. Two experiments were conducted. In both experiments, a 2 × 2 completely randomized design was used with 2 storage times (4 and 14 d at 17°C in experiment I and 4 and 13 d at 19°C in experiment II) and 2 preincubation warming profiles (within 4 or 24 h from storage temperature to 37.8°C). In experiment I, results suggested that the effect of preincubation warming profile on hatchability was dependent on storage time. However, because a low number of eggs were used in this experiment, these differences were not significant. In experiment II, the interaction between storage time and preincubation warming profile was observed for embryonic mortality during the first 2 d of incubation and hatchability (P = 0.006 and P = 0.01, respectively). When storage time was 13 d, embryonic mortality during the first 2 d of incubation decreased by 4.4% and hatchability increased by 5.7% when the 24-h preincubation warming profile was used instead of the 4-h preincubation warming profile. However, no effect of preincubation warming profile was observed when storage time was 4 d. In both experiments, chick quality decreased when storage time increased but was not affected by preincubation warming profile. We concluded that a slow preincubation warming profile is beneficial for hatchability when storage time is prolonged but does not affect chick quality. © 2010 Poultry Science Association Inc.


Van den Brand H.,Wageningen University | Molenaar R.,Hatchtech | Van der Star I.,Wageningen University | Meijerhof R.,Poultry Performance Plus
Poultry Science | Year: 2010

In field conditions, a fasting period of 24 to 72 h after hatch is common, which is associated with delayed gastrointestinal development and yolk utilization and retarded subsequent performance. Hardly any information is available about the influence of diet composition in the first days on later life and additionally, effects of early feeding on thermoregulatory development are also not known. The aim of this study was to investigate effects of diet composition in early fed broiler chickens on their (thermoregulatory) development. Shortly after hatch, 200 Hybro chickens (initial BW of 43.6 g) were assigned to 1 of 5 feed treatments: control, dextrose, albumen, prestarter, or prestarter plus fat. Water was available ad libitum. Measurements were done in 10 replicates of 4 chickens per treatment. At d 2 or 3, half of the chickens were exposed to 20°C for 30 min to determine resistance against cold exposure and rectal temperature was determined just before, immediately after, and 30 min after the end of this cold exposure. Thereafter, all chickens were killed to investigate body development. Chickens in both prestarter groups developed faster than in the other 3 groups, expressed by a higher BW, yolk-free body mass, heart and liver weight, and higher chick and intestine length. Between d 2 and 3, differences in these variables among chickens from both prestarter groups and other groups increased. Rectal temperature before cold exposure was higher in chickens from both prestarter groups (40.6 and 40.7°C, respectively) and decreased less (0.6 and 0.7°C, respectively) during cold exposure than in chickens from the control (39.5 and 1.2°C, respectively) and albumen group (39.8 and 2.1°C, respectively), whereas chickens from the dextrose group were in between (40.4 and 1.2°C, respectively). We conclude that early fed diet composition in broiler chickens is (besides general development) important for development of both body temperature and resistance against cold exposure, probably as a reflection of a changed metabolic rate.


Molenaar R.,Hatchtech | Meijerhof R.,Poultry Performance Plus | van den Anker I.,Wageningen University | Heetkamp M.J.W.,Wageningen University | And 3 more authors.
Poultry Science | Year: 2010

Environmental conditions during incubation such as temperature and O2 concentration affect embryo development that may be associated with modifications in nutrient partitioning. Additionally, prenatal conditions can affect postnatal nutrient utilization. Using broiler chicken embryos, we studied the effects of eggshell temperature (EST; 37.8 or 38.9°C) and O2 (17, 21, or 25%) applied from d 7 until 19 of incubation in a 2 × 3 factorial design. Effects of these factors on embryonic survival, development, and nutrient utilization were assessed in the pre- and posthatch period. High EST reduced yolk-free body mass compared with normal EST (36.1 vs. 37.7 g), possibly through reduced incubation duration (479 vs. 487 h) and lower efficiency of protein utilization for growth (83.6 vs. 86.8%). Increasing O2 increased yolk-free body mass (from 35.7 to 38.3 g) at 12 h after emergence from the eggshell, but differences were larger between the low and normal O2 than between the normal and high O2. This might be due to the lower efficiency of nutrient utilization for growth at low O2. However, the effects of O2 that were found at 12 h were less pronounced at 48 h posthatch. When O2 was shifted to 21% for all treatments at d 19 of incubation, embryos incubated at low O2 used nutrients more efficiently than those incubated at normal or high O2. An additional negative effect on survival and chick development occurred when embryos were exposed to a combination of high EST and low O2. Possible explanations include reduced nutrient availability for hatching, decreased body development to fulfill the energy-demanding hatching process, and higher incidence of malpositions. In conclusion, EST and O2 during incubation affect nutrient utilization for growth, which may explain differences in survival and development. Embryos raised under suboptimal environmental conditions in the prenatal period may develop adaptive mechanisms that still continue in the posthatch period. © 2010 Poultry Science Association Inc.


Lourens A.,Wageningen University | Meijerhof R.,Poultry Performance Plus | Kemp B.,Wageningen University | Van den Brand H.,Wageningen University
Poultry Science | Year: 2011

In practice, many hatchability and chick quality problems have been related to the control of embryo temperature (ET) during incubation. Within an incubator, set at a constant machine temperature (MT), ET can vary substantially. Embryo temperature is the result of the balance between heat transfer to and from the embryo and heat production (HP) of the embryo. We investigated which factors theoretically could account for the variation in ET within an incubator. First, the effects egg weight, MT, and oxygen availability on HP of embryos were quantified. Differences in HP could be due only to differences in the amount of energy utilized from the egg or to differences in the efficiency of the conversion of energy in the egg to energy in the chicken, indicated as EYFB. Results of these analyses showed that differences in HP attributable to egg weight or oxygen availability were mainly a result of the amount of energy used from the egg constituents and not of a change in EYFB. However, at a given MT, thisvariation in HP could account for a maximum increase in ET of only 1.21°C, suggesting that other factors played a role because in practice within an incubator, larger differences in ET have been found. The most important factor was probably the difference in air velocity within an incubator, resulting in differences in heat transfer. Because of this variation, ET varied within an incubator and with increasing ET, EYFB decreased, resulting in an even higher HP and consequently ET. We concluded that this theoretical approach could explain the wide variation in ET, and consequently could explain the negative effects of high ET on hatchability and chick quality found in the literature. This indicates that, in both practice and in incubation experiments, it is of great importance to realize that any factor affecting HP or heat transfer influences ET. We strongly suggest that ET (or eggshell temperature) be controlled in any incubation experiment involving hatchability or energy utilization. © 2011 Poultry Science Association Inc.


Molenaar R.,Hatchtech | van den Borne J.J.G.C.,Wageningen University | Hazejager E.,Wageningen University | Kristensen N.B.,Knowledge Center for Agriculture | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Environmental conditions during the perinatal period influence metabolic and developmental processes in mammals and avian species, which could impact pre- and postnatal survival and development. The current study investigated the effect of eggshell temperature (EST) on glucose metabolism in broiler chicken embryos. Broiler eggs were incubated at a high (38.9°C) or normal (37.8°C) EST from day 10.5 of incubation onward and were injected with a bolus of [U-13C]glucose in the chorio-allantoic fluid at day 17.5 of incubation. After [U-13C]glucose administration,13C enrichment was determined in intermediate pools and end-products of glucose metabolism. Oxidation of labeled glucose occurred for approximately 3 days after injection. Glucose oxidation was higher in the high than in the normal EST treatment from day 17.6 until 17.8 of incubation. The overall recovery of 13CO2 tended to be 4.7% higher in the high than in the normal EST treatment. An increase in EST (38.9°C vs 37.8°C) increased 13C enrichment in plasma lactate at day 17.8 of incubation and 13C in hepatic glycogen at day 18.8 of incubation. Furthermore, high compared to normal EST resulted in a lower yolk-free body mass at day 20.9 (-2.74 g) and 21.7 (-3.81 g) of incubation, a lower hepatic glycogen concentration at day 18.2 (-4.37 mg/g) and 18.8 (-4.59 mg/g) of incubation, and a higher plasma uric acid concentration (+2.8 mg/mL/+43%) at day 21.6 of incubation. These results indicate that the glucose oxidation pattern is relatively slow, but the intensity increased consistently with an increase in developmental stage of the embryo. High environmental temperatures in the perinatal period of chicken embryos increased glucose oxidation and decreased hepatic glycogen prior to the hatching process. This may limit glucose availability for successful hatching and could impact body development, probably by increased gluconeogenesis from glucogenic amino acids to allow anaerobic glycolysis. © 2013 Molenaar et al.


Reijrink I.A.M.,Hatchtech | Meijerhof R.,Poultry Performance Plus | Kemp B.,Wageningen University | van den Brand H.,Wageningen University
Poultry Science | Year: 2010

Negative effects of prolonged egg storage on hatchability and chick quality may be caused by changes in the embryo or in the egg characteristics, or by both. The aim of this experiment was to investigate whether prestorage incubation (PSI), frequent warming during storage (FW), or hypercapnic incubation (HI) during the first 5 d of incubation affect egg characteristics, embryonic development, hatchability, and chick quality. The experiment had a 2 × 2 × 2 randomized design: PSI (yes-no), FW (yes-no), and HI (yes-no). All eggs were stored for 15 d at 16°C and 75% RH. On the second day after oviposition, half of the eggs were incubated for 7 h (PSI). During storage, half of the eggs were warmed 6 times for 30 min in water at 37.8°C (FW). During the first 5 d of incubation, the CO2 concentration in the incubator was maintained between 0.70 and 0.80% (HI) or increased from 0.05 to 0.20% (control). Prestorage incubation and FW increased the stage of embryonic development and the number of viable viable embryonic cells, but these treatments did not have a pronounced effect on egg characteristics, hatchability, or chick quality. Hypercapnic incubation decreased total albumen pH, which was measured at 18, 42, 66, and 90 h of incubation, and the percentage of eggs classified as infertile (Δ = 1.2%). In contrast, HI retarded embryonic development, decreased hatchability of fertile eggs by 1.3%, but did not affect chick quality. We conclude that both PSI and FW did not improve hatchability and chick quality, although the stage of embryonic development and the number of viable embryonic cells increased due to the treatments. Hypercapnic incubation decreased total albumen pH, which may be related to the increased number of embryos that continued their development at the onset of incubation. Because HI retarded further embryonic development and decreased hatchability, long-term stored embryos were probably sensitive to the CO2 concentration of 0.70 to 0.80% between 48 and 72 h of incubation. © 2010 Poultry Science Association Inc.

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