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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

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Record number 505871
Title Effects of temperature and CO2 during late incubation on broiler chicken development
Author(s) Maatjens, C.M.
Source University. Promotor(en): Bas Kemp, co-promotor(en): Henry van den Brand; I.A.M. van Roovert-Reijrink. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462578258 - 196 p.
Department(s) Adaptation Physiology
Publication type Dissertation, internally prepared
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) broilers - embryonic development - temperature - carbon dioxide - incubation - animal physiology - broiler performance - artificial hatching - hatcheries - poultry farming - vleeskuikens - embryonale ontwikkeling - temperatuur - kooldioxide - broeden - dierfysiologie - vleeskuikenresultaten - kunstmatig bebroeden - broedinstallaties - pluimveehouderij
Categories Poultry / Embryology

Incubation conditions need to be adjusted to meet embryonic requirements to obtain optimal chick quality and hatchability. Eggshell temperature (EST) can be used as a non- invasive method to determine embryo temperature. A high EST of 38.9°C during the second or third week of incubation negatively affects chicken embryo development and survival compared to a constant EST of 37.8°C during that period. These negative effects of high EST might be due to a dis-balance between metabolic rate and oxygen (O2) availability. However, effects of lowering EST, which might restore the balance between metabolic rate and O2 availability, are largely unknown. Besides EST, the carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration during late incubation also seems to affect embryo development and might even interact with EST. Based on the potential effects of (lower) EST during the last week of incubation and of CO2 during only the hatching phase, the following three aims are derived: 1, to investigate effects of EST during the last phase of the incubation process, with special attention for EST below the general accepted optimal EST of 37.8°C, 2, to examine from which day of the incubation process onward EST should be changed from 37.8°C, and 3, to investigate whether CO2 concentrations are interacting with EST during the hatcher phase.

Time until hatch was longer when an EST of 35.6°C was applied during the last week of incubation, followed by 36.7, 37.8, and 38.9°C, which is probably caused by the lower metabolic rate at an EST below 37.8°C. Hatchability of fertile eggs was not affected at low EST, and EST did not affect time between internal pipping (IP) and hatch. An EST of 35.6 and 36.7°C, resulted in a higher yolk-free body mass (YFBM) at hatch compared to 37.8 and 38.9°C, and residual yolk weight was higher at hatch at 38.9°C compared to all other EST treatments. An EST of 35.6°C resulted in higher hepatic glycogen concentration and amount at IP and hatch compared to all other EST treatments. The proposed mechanism involved is that at lower EST, metabolic rate is reduced, which prevents the embryo from O2 limitation and ensures that fatty acid oxidation from the yolk can be maintained, resulting in energy production to be invested in growth and development. At an EST of 38.9°C, metabolic rate is high, resulting in a relative O2 shortage for the embryo. Consequently, lipid oxidation is reduced, which forces the embryo to switch to alternative energy sources, such as glycogen. Because glycogen storage is very limited in the egg and embryo, alternative energy sources such as amino acids obtained from muscles might be used. A clear interaction between EST and start day of treatment was found for relative heart weight. Relative heart weight was higher at an EST of 35.6°C and decreased with increase in EST. The differences among EST became larger when the EST treatment started earlier.

Effects of CO2 on embryo physiology, embryonic organ development, and chick quality were marginal. EST interacted with CO2 mainly before IP, but effects were minor at hatch. Interactions between EST and CO2 were found at an EST of 36.7 and 37.8°C, but remained absent at an EST of 38.9°C, which might indicate that physiological systems are already challenged due to the higher metabolic rate, which limits the capacity to cope with high CO2 of the embryo.

No effect of start day of treatment was indicated for embryonic organ development and chick quality found at hatch, which suggests that EST affected these parameters only in the last phase of incubation, e.g. from E19 onward. However, first week post-hatch performance was affected by start day of treatment. The beneficial effects of a lower EST of 35.6 and 36.7°C applied during the last week of incubation found at hatch, might contribute to an enhanced development during the first week post-hatch as body weight, carcass weight, and gain to feed ratio were increased.

In conclusion, results of this thesis show that an EST below 37.8°C during late incubation is beneficial for embryo development, organ growth during incubation, and growth performance during the first week post-hatch. In addition, start day of treatment did not affect chick quality and organ growth, except heart weight, at hatch, which implies that effects of EST occur during the hatching phase, e.g. from E19 onward. Although, an effect of start day of treatment was found on first week post-hatch performance, it remains to be investigated whether an EST below 37.8°C leads to improved later life quality characteristics.

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