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Voorst, Netherlands

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. Source


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. Source


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. Source


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. Source


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. Source

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