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Apeldoorn, Netherlands

Uitdehaag K.A.,Wageningen University | Uitdehaag K.A.,Vencomatic BV | Rodenburg T.B.,Wageningen University | van Reenen C.G.,Wageningen University | And 6 more authors.
Poultry Science | Year: 2011

Purebred laying hen lines of White Leghorn (WL) origin have been found to be more flighty and to show more feather pecking than lines of Rhode Island Red (RIR) origin. It has been found, however, that when RIR birds were housed together with WL birds, RIR birds became more flighty and those mixed groups developed more feather damage than pure-line cage-housed groups. It is unknown, however, whether this effect of social environment is accompanied by changes in stress-related behavior and neurophysiological activity, which are assumed to be associated with increased feather damage. The objective of this study was therefore to investigate the effects of genetic origin (WL or RIR) and social environment (mixed or pure groups) on behavioral response to manual restraint and monoamine functioning. Monoamine functioning was measured by brain serotonin (5-HT) and dopamine turnover. Furthermore, correlations between 5-HT turnover in the brain and peripheral measures of 5-HT in the blood were calculated. Experimental birds, housed either with other birds from the same genetic origin (pure groups) or with both RIR and WL birds (mixed groups) from hatching onward, were subjected to a manual restraint test at 47 wk of age. The WL birds struggled less during restraint and had higher dopamine and 5-HT turnover levels after restraint than did RIR birds. The WL birds also showed higher levels of platelet 5-HT uptake than did RIR birds. No effects of social environment were found. Blood and brain 5-HT measures were found to be correlated, with correlations ranging from 0.34 to 0.57, which seems to offer opportunities for less invasive peripheral indicators of 5-HT activity. In conclusion, genetic origin, but not social environment, affected the behavioral response to manual restraint and monoamine functioning in laying hens. © 2011 Poultry Science Association Inc. Source

Van De Ven L.J.F.,Vencomatic BV | Van Wagenberg A.V.,Vencomatic BV | Debonne M.,Catholic University of Leuven | Decuypere E.,Catholic University of Leuven | And 2 more authors.
Poultry Science | Year: 2011

A multilevel housing system for broilers was developed, named Patio (Vencomatic BV, Eersel, the Netherlands), in which the hatching and brooding phase are combined. In a Patio system, climate conditions differ from those provided in the hatchers currently in use. We compared the physiology of broilers hatched in a hatcher or in a Patio system, and included the effects of hatching time. Eggs from 1 breeder flock were incubated until embryonic d 18 in a setter and subsequently placed in a hatcher or the Patio until the end of incubation. From each hatching system, 154 chicks were collected per hatching time, at 465 h (early), 480 h (midterm), and 493 h (late) of incubation, from which 24 chicks/group were decapitated for analyses of blood plasma and organ weights. The remaining 130 chicks in each group from both systems were individually labeled and placed together in the Patio system. All chicks were given access to feed and water directly after hatch and were housed up to d 45 to monitor growth. From embryonic d 18 until the end of incubation, average ambient temperature and RH were 38.1°C and 50.8% in the hatcher and 35.2°C and 29.7% in the Patio system. Glucose and corticosterone were slightly higher in hatcher chicks, whereas organ weights were not affected by the hatching system. Although hatchling weights were lower in hatchery chicks, growth from d 0 to 45 was not affected by the hatching system. In both systems, glucose increased with hatching time, whereas lactate and triiodothyronine levels decreased. Yolk weights decreased with hatching time, whereas absolute and relative weights of the yolk-free body, intestines, stomach, lungs, and heart increased, indicating more advanced maturation of organs. Growth up to d 21 was depressed in chicks in the late group, which was possibly related to lower thyroid hormone levels at hatching. We conclude that the hatching system had minor effects on hatchling physiology and that posthatch growth and livability were not affected. Because hatching time affected broiler physiology, it seems important to take hatching time into account in future studies related to hatchling physiology. © 2011 Poultry Science Association Inc. Source

van de Ven L.J.F.,Vencomatic BV | van Wagenberg A.V.,Vencomatic BV | Decuypere E.,Catholic University of Leuven | Kemp B.,Wageningen University | van den Brand H.,Wageningen University
Poultry Science | Year: 2013

Little is known about physiological responses of early- versus late-hatching chicks to early posthatch conditions in broiler practice. We investigated effects of hatching time on perinatal broiler physiology in 2 hatching systems, differing in conditions: a conventional hatcher, where chicks are deprived of feed and water between hatching and the moment of chick pulling (d E21.5), and a patio system, in which the hatching and brooding phase are combined, and chicks have immediate posthatch feed and water access. Climate conditions in patio also differ with about 3°C lower temperature and 20% lower RH compared with conventional hatchers. At E18, fertile eggs were transferred to either a hatcher or the patio until the end of incubation. From each system, 50 newly hatched chicks were collected at 3 hatching times: at 468 h (early), 483 h (midterm), and 498 h (late) of incubation, of which 25 chicks were decapitated for analyses of physiological parameters. The other 25 chicks were returned to the hatching system for analyses after 515 h of incubation (E21.5). At hatch, weights of the heart, lungs, stomach, and intestine increased with hatching time, concurrent with a decrease in residual yolk weight, regardless of hatching system, and indicating that later hatching chicks are more matured. Weights of the heart, liver, stomach, and intestines were lower in hatcher than in patio chicks. Between hatch and E21.5, residual yolk weight decreased, whereas organ weights increased in both fasted hatcher and fed patio chicks, but at a higher rate in the latter. At E21.5, plasma glucose and triiodothyronine had increased with time after hatch in patio chicks, whereas levels were similar among hatching times and lower in hatcher chicks. Early feed and water access seems to enable early hatching chicks to compensate for their apparent disadvantage in development at hatching, whereas chicks subjected to fasting show metabolic adaptations to preserve nutrients. Chick physiology at chick pulling time was shown to vary with time after hatching and posthatch conditions, especially feed access. © 2013 Poultry Science Association Inc. Source

Van de Ven L.J.F.,Vencomatic BV | Baller L.,Wageningen University | Van Wagenberg A.V.,Vencomatic BV | Kemp B.,Wageningen University | Van den Brand H.,Wageningen University
Poultry Science | Year: 2011

Chicken eggs are commonly incubated for 17 to 18 d in setters, after which they are transferred to the hatchery for the last 3 to 4 d of incubation. Whereas eggs are positioned vertically with the air cell up during the first incubation phase, they are placed horizontally for the hatching phase. It is unknown whether egg position in the last phase of incubation is of importance to the hatching process and chick quality. An experiment was conducted to investigate effects of egg position in the last 4 d of incubation on the hatching process and chick quality. The experiment consisted of 2 identical trials, where 300 fertile eggs per trial were transferred to a hatching cabinet at embryo day 17. Eggs were placed in 1 of 3 positions: with the air cell up (ACU), with the air cell down, or horizontally (HOR). Starting at embryo day 18, the following data were collected for each egg at 3-h intervals: time of internal pipping (IP), external pipping (EP), hatching, and position of EP. Approximately 6 h after hatch, BW, chick length, and chick quality based on the Pasgar score, were determined for each chick. In addition, residual yolk weight and yolk-free body mass were determined in every fourth chick that hatched. Time of IP was not affected by egg position, but EP occurred 5 h later in ACU eggs, and thus, the IP-EP interval was increased by 3 to 4 h in this group compared with the other egg positions. Hatching occurred 1 to 2 h earlier in HOR eggs than in the other 2 positions. Body weight, yolk weight, and yolk-free body mass were not affected by egg position. Chick length was 1 to 2 mm shorter and the Pasgar score was slightly lower in air cell-down eggs compared with ACU and HOR eggs, mainly caused by a high incidence of poor navel quality, red hocks, and red beaks. Hatchability was not affected by egg position. We concluded that egg position in the last phase of incubation affects the duration of the hatching process, and has small effects on chick quality. © 2011 Poultry Science Association Inc. Source

Van De Ven L.J.F.,Vencomatic BV | Van De Ven L.J.F.,Wageningen University | Van Wagenberg A.V.,Vencomatic BV | Uitdehaag K.A.,Vencomatic BV | And 3 more authors.
Animal | Year: 2012

The quality of day old chicks is crucial for profitable broiler production, but a difficult trait to define. In research, both qualitative and quantitative measures are used with variable predictive value for subsequent performance. In hatchery practice, chick quality is judged on a binomial scale, as chicks are divided into first grade (Q1-saleable) and second grade (Q2) chicks right after hatch. Incidences and reasons for classifying chicks as Q2, and potential of these chicks for survival and post-hatch performance have hardly been investigated, but may provide information for flock performance. We conducted an experiment to investigate (1) the quality of a broiler flock and the relation with post-hatch flock performance based on a qualitative score (Pasgar©score) of Q1 chicks and based on the incidence of Q2 chicks and (2) the reasons for classifying chicks as Q2, and the potential of these chicks for survival and post-hatch growth. The performance was followed of Q1 and Q2 chicks obtained from two breeder flocks that hatched in two different hatching systems (a traditional hatcher or a combined hatching and brooding system, named Patio). Eggs were incubated until embryo day 18, when they were transferred to one of the two hatching systems. At embryo day 21/post-hatch day 0, all chicks from the hatcher (including Q2 chicks) were brought to Patio, where the hatchery manager marked the Q2 chicks from both flocks and hatching systems and registered apparent reasons for classifying these chicks as Q2. Chick quality was assessed of 100 Q1 chicks from each flock and hatching system. Weights of all chicks were determined at days 0, 7, 21 and 42. There were no correlations between mean Pasgar©score and post-hatch growth or mortality, and suboptimal navel quality was the only quality trait associated with lower post-hatch growth. Growth was clearly affected by breeder flock and hatching system, which could not be linked to mean Pasgar©score or incidence of Q2 chicks. Q2 chicks showed lower post-hatch growth compared to Q1 chicks but effects on flock performance at slaughter weight were limited because early mortality in Q2 chicks was high (62.50% at 7 days). We concluded that chick qualitative scores and the incidence of Q2 chicks may be informative for the quality of incubation, but are not predictive for post-hatch flock performance. Culling Q2 chicks after hatch is well-founded in terms of both animal welfare and profitability. © 2012 The Animal Consortium. Source

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