Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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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.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Egg storage and breeder age impact on egg quality and embryo development
    Nasri, Hedia ; Brand, Henry van den; Najjar, Taha ; Bouzouaia, Moncef - \ 2020
    Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 104 (2020)1. - ISSN 0931-2439 - p. 257 - 268.
    breeder age - chicken eggs - embryo quality - hatchability - storage

    Prolonged hatching egg storage (>7 days) influences internal egg quality and embryo survival during both storage and subsequent incubation. Moreover, effects of storage of hatching eggs interact with the breeder age. The aim of this review was to investigate how this interaction between storage duration and breeder age affects egg, embryo, hatchling and chicken characteristics. Prolonged storage resulted in a reduction in egg quality in both young and old breeders. This reduction was more pronounced in young flocks than in older flocks. For example, albumen pH increased more after 8 days of storage in younger flocks than in older flocks. Additionally, the embryonic morphological stage appears to increase as well with storage duration, but this increase is again more pronounced in younger flocks than in older flocks. Short storage (<7 days) seems to increase hatchability of eggs from young breeders, probably as a result of albumen liquefaction with consequently better oxygen availability for the embryo. However, long storage (>7 days) resulted in a decline in hatchability, which was stronger in older breeders than in younger breeders. Prolonged storage duration resulted in lower chicken quality in both young and old breeders, but interaction between storage duration and breeder age on multiple chicken quality parameters is not clear. Based on this review, it can be concluded that (a) Short storage can improve hatchability of eggs from young breeders, but not from older breeders. (b) Negative impact of long storage appears to be lower with young breeders than with old breeders. (c) Adapted storage conditions related to the age of breeders might be an option to reduce negative effects of prolonged storage on hatching egg quality and chicken quality.

    Applying cold incubation profiles during the last week of incubation in a commercial incubator: effects on broiler embryonic mortality, hatchability, and chick quality
    Roovert, Inge van; Eijk-Priester, Marieke van; Wijnen, H.J. ; Pol, C. van der - \ 2018
    In: The XVth European Poultry Conference (EPC). - Zagreb, Croatia : Croatian Branch of the World's Poultry Science Association - ISBN 9789082915709 - p. 126 - 126.
    chick quality - eggshell temperature - hatchability - incubation
    During incubation, an eggshell temperature (EST, as a reflection of embryo temperature) of 37.8°C was long considered to be optimal for broiler embryonic development. However, an EST of 36.7°C (Cold) from embryonic day (E)15 onward may result in a more developed heart at hatching than 37.8°C EST throughout (Control; Maatjens et al., 2016). Maatjens et al.’s study was performed in large incubation chambers with low air velocity, unlike commercial practice. To study Cold EST in a commercial situation with high air velocity and egg density, three trials were conducted. In all trials, EST for Cold was maintained at 37.8°C, decreased to 36.7°C with varying profiles in the last week, and then maintained at 36.7°C till hatching. Cold treatments were always compared to Control (37.8°C EST throughout incubation). 3,000-10,800 broiler eggs from a 30-39 week old parent flock were used. Firstly, EST was decreased within 30 minutes, on E15. Compared to Control, Cold resulted in 2.5x higher embryonic mortality around the time of the EST decrease (P = 0.015), 2.2% more second grade chicks (P = 0.049), and chicks were 0.4cm shorter (indicating lower development) at hatch (P = 0.001). Possibly, the EST decrease happened too early or abruptly. Secondly, EST was decreased gradually in 1 day, from E16-E17. No differences were found in hatchability (P = 0.68) or chick length (P = 0.93), but embryonic mortality around the time of the EST decrease tended to be 1.7x higher for Cold than for Control (P = 0.070). It was thought that an even slower EST decrease may optimize Cold further. Thirdly, EST was decreased using three different profiles. EST was decreased gradually from E16-E17, or quickly (to 36.9°C on E17) and then slowly (to 36.7°C on E18), or slowly (to 37.5°C on E17) and then quickly (to 36.7°C on E18). Embryonic mortality, hatchability, and navel quality did not differ between the Cold profiles and Control (P > 0.29). To conclude, results differed from the low air velocity trial situation. When EST was decreased from 37.8°C to 36.7°C abruptly or too early in development, hatchability and chick quality decreased. A slow transition from E16-E18 can result in chick quality and hatchability similar to Control. Knowledge on these optimal EST decrease profiles can be used to further investigate the effect of Cold incubation during the last days of incubation on post hatch performance and possibly apply it to commercial practice.
    Effects of floor eggs on hatchability and later life performance in broiler chickens
    Brand, H. Van Den; Sosef, M.P. ; Lourens, A. ; Harn, J. Van - \ 2016
    Poultry Science 95 (2016)5. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 1025 - 1032.
    broiler - floor eggs - footpad dermatitis - hatchability - incubation

    Two experiments were conducted in which effects of floor eggs, washed floor eggs, and clean nest eggs were investigated on incubation characteristics and performance in later life of broiler chickens. In both experiments, a young and an older breeder flock were used in a 3 × 2 factorial design during incubation. In the second experiment, male and female chickens were reared separately until d 35 of age in floor pens. During this grow out trial, an extra group was created in which chickens obtained from clean nest eggs were mixed with chickens obtained from floor eggs, meaning that grow out period was set up as a 4 × 2 × 2 factorial design with 4 egg types, 2 breeder ages, and 2 sexes. In both experiments, fertility and hatchability of fertile eggs were lower in floor and washed eggs than in clean nest eggs (hatchability: experiment 1: 74.4 vs. 70.6 vs. 92.6% for floor eggs, washed floor eggs and clean nest eggs, respectively, P <0.001; experiment 2: 78.3 vs. 81.7 vs. 90.2%, respectively, P <0.001). In experiment 2, BW at d 0 of chickens obtained from clean nest eggs was higher than that of chickens from floor eggs and washed floor eggs (41.5 vs. 40.4 and 40.3 g, respectively; P <0.001). This difference disappeared during the grow out period and was absent at slaughter age at d 35 of age. Feed intake (FI), feed conversion ratio (FCR), and mortality during the grow out period were not affected by egg type. Incidence and severity of hock burns and footpad dermatitis were not affected by egg type or breeder age. Litter friability at d 35 of age tended to be lower in pens with chickens obtained from washed floor eggs compared to clean nest eggs. We conclude that incubation of floor eggs or washed floor eggs resulted in lower fertility and hatchability compared to clean nest eggs, but that performance during the grow out period was not affected.

    Effect of relative humidity during incubation at a set eggshell temperature and brooding temperature posthatch on emryonic mortality and chick quality
    Pol, C.W. van der; Roovert-Reijrink, I.A.M. van; Maatjens, C.M. ; Brand, H. van den; Molenaar, R. - \ 2013
    Poultry Science 92 (2013)8. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 2145 - 2155.
    constant temperatures - water-loss - oxygen concentration - broiler performance - body-weight - growth - hatchability - egg - osmoregulation - ascites
    Previous studies have shown that RH during incubation of chicken eggs influences water loss from the egg and embryonic mortality. In those studies, eggshell temperatures (EST) were not monitored or controlled. Because RH influences the egg’s heat loss through evaporation, EST might have been different between RH treatments, influencing embryonic mortality and development. To eliminate the effect of EST, in the current study eggs were incubated at an EST of 37.8°C from embryonic d (E) 0 until E18 and at a high (55 to 60%) or low (30 to 35%) RH from E2 until hatch. Embryonic mortality, hatch curve, and several chick quality characteristics (length, weight, navel quality, organ weights, and DM of the yolk free body mass and yolk) were determined on E18 and at hatch. Low RH increased egg weight loss between E0 and E18 (+3.0%) and third week embryonic mortality (+3.0% of fertile eggs) and decreased hatch of fertile eggs (-2.9% of fertile eggs) compared with high RH. Hatch duration and chick quality characteristics did not differ between RH treatments. To assess the effect of RH during incubation on posthatch performance under suboptimal conditions, hatchlings were brooded at a normal (35.0°C at d 0, decreasing to 27.0°C at d 4) or cold (27.8°C at d 0, decreasing to 25.6°C at d 4) temperature until 4 d posthatch. Incubation RH and brooding temperature significantly interacted with posthatch growth but not development. Both low and high RH × cold brooding temperature resulted in lower (-6.9 and -6.0 g, respectively) BW than high RH × normal brooding temperature at 4 d of age. The cold brooding temperature resulted in lower daily feed intake (-1.3 g/chick) than the normal brooding temperature. In conclusion, incubating eggs at a low RH compared with a high RH and maintaining the EST at 37.8°C decreased hatch of fertile eggs, but had little effect on chick quality or posthatch performance.
    Energy utilization and heat production of embryos from eggs originating from young and old broiler breeder flocks
    Nangsuay, A. ; Meijerhof, R. ; Ruangpanit, Y. ; Kemp, B. ; Brand, H. van den - \ 2013
    Poultry Science 92 (2013)2. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 474 - 482.
    incubation-temperature - lipid-metabolism - chick-embryo - age - size - hens - hatchability - components - weight - growth
    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 replicate 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.
    Comparative analysis as a management tool for broiler breeder farms: simulated individual farm analysis (IFAS)
    Yassin, H. ; Velthuis, A.G.J. ; Giesen, G.W.J. ; Oude Lansink, A.G.J.M. - \ 2012
    Poultry Science 91 (2012)3. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 744 - 757.
    chick quality - body-weight - economic-evaluation - egg quality - hatchability - performance - nutrition - feed - age - incubation
    The objective of this study was to develop a management information system to evaluate the tactical management of a breeder flock using individual farm analysis with a deterministic simulation model (IFAS). Individual farm analysis is a method that evaluates the performance of individual farms by comparing them with standards. In the first step of IFAS, a farm accounting system is used to compare performance indicators of a flock with the same performance indicators of the average of a group of flocks that produced in the same time period. In the next step, a deterministic simulation model is used to determine the factors causing the traced deviations in performances. Then, relevant deviations are determined based on the economic and statistical importance of each traced deviation. Finally, the deviations are identified by relevance to give farmers an indication of their strong and weak management practices.
    A model for an economically optimal replacement of a breeder flock
    Yassin, H. ; Velthuis, A.G.J. ; Giesen, G.W.J. ; Oude Lansink, A.G.J.M. - \ 2012
    Poultry Science 91 (2012)12. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 3271 - 3279.
    egg-production - broiler breeders - dairy-cattle - rejuvenated assets - hatchability - performance - policies - hens - age - decisions
    A deterministic model is developed to support the tactical and operational replacement decisions at broiler breeder farms. The marginal net revenue approach is applied to determine the optimal replacement age of a flock. The objective function of the model maximizes the annual gross margin over the flock’s production cycle. To calculate the gross margin, future egg production, fertility, or hatchability of the eggs, revenues and variable costs of a flock were estimated. For tactical decisions, the optimal laying length is the age at which the average gross margin of an average flock is maximal. For operational decisions, a flock should be replaced when the marginal gross margin of a replaceable flock is less than the average gross margin of an average flock. To demonstrate the model, a broiler breeder flock from a Dutch breeder farm was used. A sensitivity analysis showed that the optimal replacement decision, for both tactical and operational management, is sensitive to the decrease in the weekly egg production after the peak and the prices of feed and hatching eggs. The effect of the decrease in weekly fertility after the peak on the replacement decision is related to the payment system for hatching eggs. Key words: on-farm decision support tool , flock replacement decision , marginal net revenue approach , broiler breeder farm
    Significance of chick quality score in broiler production
    Ven, L.J.F. van de; Wagenberg, A.V. van; Uitdehaag, K.A. ; Groot Koerkamp, P.W.G. ; Kemp, B. ; Brand, H. van den - \ 2012
    Animal 6 (2012)10. - ISSN 1751-7311 - p. 1677 - 1683.
    egg storage time - embryonic-development - posthatch growth - hatchability - performance - incubation - weight - age - temperature - parameters
    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.
    Adaptive response to Eimeria acervulina in rearing hens is affected by suboptimal incubation temperature and heat exposure in later life
    Walstra, I. ; Napel, J. ten; Kemp, B. ; Brand, H. van den - \ 2012
    Animal 6 (2012)1. - ISSN 1751-7311 - p. 137 - 144.
    eggshell temperature - embryo development - performance - behavior - growth - hatchability - parameters - broilers - immunity - stress
    This study aimed to investigate whether suboptimal incubation (SI) temperature in weeks 1 and 3 of layer embryo incubation affects their development and post-hatch adaptive capacity during infectious challenges, by using Eimeria as a model infection under normal and immediately after more challenging environmental conditions of 72 h heat exposure. Eggs (n = 160 per treatment) were incubated at optimal (OI = 37.8°C continuously) or suboptimal eggshell temperature (36.7°C, 37.8°C and 38.9°C in weeks 1, 2 and 3, respectively). At day 33 of age, half the chickens of each incubation treatment were exposed to 72 h heat (35°C), whereas the other half remained under control conditions (21°C). At day 36 of age, all chickens were inoculated with 1 ml of a phosphate buffer saline solution containing 25 000 sporulated Eimeria acervulina oocysts/ml. The adaptive response to E. acervulina was measured by BW gain and FI from days 0 to 3 post infection (p.i.), days 3 to 5 p.i. and days 5 to 7 p.i., and by oocyst production (days 4 and 7 p.i.) and lesion scores in the duodenum (day 3, 4 and 7 p.i.). Our results demonstrated that SI temperatures in weeks 1 and 3 of incubation resulted in a reduction in yolk-free BW, chick length and navel condition. Moreover, SI temperature appeared to reduce the adaptive capacity to E. acervulina. This was demonstrated by tendencies to lower FI (P = 0.07) and BW gain (P = 0.08), more duodenal lesions (P = 0.09) and higher oocyst production (P = 0.02) after inoculation of E. acervulina. Higher lesion scores and faecal oocyst numbers were especially found when suboptimal incubation was combined with heat exposure preceding the infection. In conclusion, SI layer chickens tend to be less able to cope with an infectious challenge post hatch.
    Effects of egg position during late incubation on hatching parameters and chick quality
    Ven, L.J.F. van de; Baller, L. ; Wagenberg, A.V. van; Kemp, B. ; Brand, H. van den - \ 2011
    Poultry Science 90 (2011)10. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 2342 - 2347.
    embryonic-development - broiler - temperature - hatchability - performance - mortality - weight - growth - quail
    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.
    Energy partitioning during incubation and consequences for embryo temperature: A theoretical approach
    Lourens, A. ; Meijerhof, R. ; Kemp, B. ; Brand, H. van den - \ 2011
    Poultry Science 90 (2011). - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 516 - 523.
    heat-production - eggshell temperature - lipid-metabolism - chick quality - egg size - broiler - growth - hatchability - consumption - exchange
    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, this variation 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.
    Standardized data in the broiler value chain
    Yassin, H. ; Velthuis, A.G.J. ; Boerjan, M. ; Lourens, A. ; Oude Lansink, A.G.J.M. - \ 2011
    Poultry Science 90 (2011)2. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 498 - 506.
    information-systems - chick quality - hatching eggs - hatchability - breeders - performance - incubation - mortality - storage - weight
    In the Dutch broiler chain, data are collected as a routine practice. However, there is wide variation in the content of data collected and in data collection systems. This variability hampers the use of field data in management information systems to support decisions. The objective of this study was to analyze the quality of data and to standardize the content of data sets in the broiler production chain. To evaluate the quality of data, data sets from 3 Dutch hatcheries, from 23,637 batches of eggs, were assessed. The quality of data was assessed intuitively based on 7 quality attributes. To standardize the content of the data set, a protocol was proposed and validated. The protocol was validated at 30 breeder farms, 3 hatcheries, and 104 broiler farms by using 3 quality attributes: consistency, uniformity, and completeness. Results of the data quality analysis of the 3 Dutch hatcheries showed that the data sets had some fields with inaccurate, incorrect, inconsistent, nonuniform, incomprehensible, missing relevant, or incomplete data. Results of the validation protocol were as follows: feedback was obtained from 23 (77%) breeder farms, 3 (100%) hatcheries, and 7 (7%) broiler farms. Of all the questions, on average 88% were answered on breeder farms; 57, 65, and 82% were answered at each of the 3 hatcheries, respectively; and 79% were answered on the broiler farms. Data collected at 2 hatcheries were more consistent than those collected at the third hatchery. Hatchery data were less consistent than breeder farm data, but the number of data entries at hatcheries far exceeded the number at the farm level. Data from the hatcheries, breeder farms, and broiler farms were not always uniform, possibly because of differences in management strategies. This protocol enables the listing of relevant and standard contents of a data set whereby information exchange along the chain can be simplified. However, it is recommended that the protocol be supplemented with some rules for data collection and management, for example, that variables must be recorded in the provided fields, and that a variable must have one and only one name or code, the same unit of measurement, and the same definition
    Effect of match or mismatch of maternal-offspring nutritional environment on the development of offspring in broiler chickens
    Waaij, E.H. van der; Brand, H. van den; Arendonk, J.A.M. van; Kemp, B. - \ 2011
    Animal 5 (2011)5. - ISSN 1751-7311 - p. 741 - 748.
    catch-up growth - long-term consequences - nutrient restriction - insulin-resistance - skeletal-muscle - obesity - leads - age - hatchability - trajectories
    In mammals, maternal food restriction around conception and during pregnancy results in low birth weight and an adjusted growth trajectory of offspring. If, subsequently, the offspring are born into a food-abundant environment, they are at increased risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and renal dysfunction. Here, we show similar effects of maternal undernutrition on hatch weight, growth and fat deposition in offspring of birds (domestic chicken). Both mothers and offspring were fed either ad libitum or restricted in a two-by-two factorial design, resulting in two matched and two mismatched maternal–offspring nutritional environments. Offspring of ad libitum mothers grew heavier than those of restricted mothers, possibly due to the larger muscle mass. Ad libitum-fed offspring, especially females, of restricted mothers were lighter at hatch, and were heavier and had more abdominal fat at 6 weeks of age than daughters of ad libitum-fed mothers. These results suggest a common mechanism in mammals and birds in response to a mismatch in the maternal–offspring nutritional environment. They also indicate that the common practice of restrictive feeding of the broiler breeders and subsequent ad libitum feeding of the broilers may result in reduced growth and increased abdominal fat as compared to broilers of less restricted broiler breeders.
    Effect of eggshell temperature and oxygen concentration on survival rate and nutrient utilization in chicken embryos
    Molenaar, R. ; Meijerhof, R. ; Anker, I. van den; Heetkamp, M.J.W. ; Borne, J.J.G.C. van den; Kemp, B. ; Brand, H. van den - \ 2010
    Poultry Science 89 (2010)9. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 2010 - 2021.
    lipid-metabolism - heat-production - gas-exchange - turkey eggs - growth - hatchability - incubation - broiler - gluconeogenesis - hypoxia
    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 x 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
    Temperature manipulation during layer chick embryogenesis
    Walstra, I. ; Napel, J. ten; Kemp, B. ; Brand, H. van den - \ 2010
    Poultry Science 89 (2010)7. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 1502 - 1508.
    incubation-temperature - thermal manipulations - body-temperature - broiler chicks - muscovy duck - heat-stress - thermoregulation - embryos - hatchability - performance
    The current study investigated the effects of temperature manipulation (TM) during late embryogenesis on temperature preference, response to high environmental temperature, behavior, and performance in young layer chicks. Control (CC) embryos (n = 96) were incubated at 37.8°C eggshell temperature throughout incubation. Thermally manipulated embryos (n = 96) were incubated at 37.8°C eggshell temperature throughout incubation and were exposed to 40°C for 4 h/d from embryonic d 14 to 18 (TM chicks). After hatch, chicks from each treatment were divided into 3 subgroups (n = 32 per group) and were subjected to a temperature preference test at d 1, 7, or 33. One day after the temperature preference test, each subgroup was exposed to 1 thermal challenge for 4 h (d 2, 40°C; d 8, 40°C; or d 34, 35°C). Effects of TM on (fearfulness) behavior of chicks were investigated in a tonic immobility test and during home pen observations. Temperature manipulation decreased incubation time with 7 h (P <0.0001) and body temperature at hatch with 0.2°C (P = 0.002). The TM chicks preferred a lower ambient temperature in the temperature preference test (P <0.05) and showed a higher body temperature response than CC chicks to the thermal challenge at d 2 and 8 (P <0.05). No effects of TM on behavior and performance were observed. Because most TM studies are conducted in broilers, this study is the first attempt to unravel the effects of TM during late embryogenesis on posthatch environmental adaptation in layer chicks. The results demonstrated that effects of our TM on postnatal temperature preference and response to high environmental temperatures are only found until d 8 of age. This may suggest 1 of 3 options: a) the timing or the level, or both, of TM and duration were not at the sensitive period of embryogenesis or not sufficient, or both, respectively; b) the level of the postnatal thermal challenge was not strong enough to induce a hyperthermic response; and c) the postnatal effects of TM in layers are limited in time
    Field study on broilers' first-week mortality
    Yassin, H. ; Velthuis, A.G.J. ; Boerjan, M. ; Rielt, J. van - \ 2009
    Poultry Science 88 (2009). - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 798 - 804.
    day-old chick - live performance - egg storage - dietary-fat - breeder age - flock age - hatchability - incubation - nutrition - quality
    In the Dutch poultry meat production chain, first week mortality (FWM) of the chicks is an important measure to quality and is therefore highly related to the price of the chicks that the broiler farm has to pay to the hatchery. Therefore, next to the total number of broiler eggs produced per hen and hatchability, this figure is often used as a measure of efficiency in the breeder-hatchery-broiler production chain. In this study, factors that are related to chick mortality in the first week at broiler farms were investigated. Field data obtained from 2 commercial Dutch hatcheries, for which 482 broiler farms voluntarily recorded FWM of 16,365 flocks of broiler chicks over the years 2004, 2005, and 2006, were analyzed. These represented 79% of the total number of day-old chicks delivered to separate broiler farms. First week mortality was significantly related to breeder age, egg storage length at the hatchery, season, strain, feed company of the breeder farm, year, and hatchery. Furthermore, FWM differed significantly between chicks originating from eggs of different breeder flocks and which were kept for grow-out at different broiler farms
    Storage of Eggs in Water Affects Internal Egg Quality, Embryonic Development, and Hatchling Quality
    Brand, H. van den; Reijrink, I.A.M. ; Hoekstra, L.A. ; Kemp, B. - \ 2008
    Poultry Science 87 (2008)11. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 2350 - 2357.
    hatching eggs - carbon-dioxide - chicken embryos - plastic bags - body weights - shell eggs - incubation - temperature - performance - hatchability
    In a series of experiments, effects of storage of eggs in water on internal egg quality, embryonic development, and hatchling quality were investigated. In experiment 1, unfertilized eggs were stored for 4 to 14 d in water (W) or air (control; C). In experiment 2, fertilized eggs were stored for 3 to 14 d in water or air and thereafter incubated for 9 d. In experiment 3, eggs were stored for 16 d in water or air and incubated for 1 to 9 d thereafter. In experiment 4, eggs were stored for 14 d in water or air, incubated thereafter, and hatching time and hatchling quality were determined. In all experiments, egg weight loss in the C treatment increased with duration of storage, whereas W eggs gained weight during storage. Albumen and yolk pH after storage and during incubation were greater in the C eggs compared with the W eggs. In experiment 3, embryonic development at d 4 and 9 was advanced in the W eggs compared with the C eggs. In experiment 4, the number of viable embryonic cells after storage and after trypsinization was lower in the C treatment than in the W treatment (30,188 vs. 69,618; P <0.001). Hatching time was postponed in the W treatment compared with the C treatment (501 vs. 495 h; P <0.05). Hatchling length was greater in the C treatment (19.7 vs. 20.3 cm; P = 0.01), and residual yolk was less in the C treatment than in the W treatment (4.9 vs. 8.3 g; P <0.001). We concluded that storage of eggs in water for a prolonged period positively affects internal egg characteristics and early embryonic development, but negatively affects hatchling quality. The reason for the loss of the head start with progressing incubation needs further investigation.
    Effects of Eggshell Temperature and Oxygen Concentration on Embryo Growth and Metabolism During Incubation
    Lourens, A. ; Brand, H. van den; Heetkamp, M.J.W. ; Meijerhof, R. ; Kemp, B. - \ 2007
    Poultry Science 86 (2007)10. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 2194 - 2199.
    chick-embryos - organ growth - egg weight - broiler-chickens - ascites syndrome - yolk utilization - heat-production - hatching time - parental age - hatchability
    Embryo development and heat production (HP) were studied in eggs of similar size (60 to 65 g) that were incubated at normal (37.8°C) or high (38.9°C) eggshell temperature (EST) and exposed to low (17%), normal (21%), or high (25%) O2 concentration from d 9 through 19. High EST initially increased HP, but gradually O2 became more important for HP than EST. Finally,HP was highest for the combination of high EST with high O2 and lowest for the combination of high EST with low O2. High EST decreased hatch time, BW, yolk free BW, and relative heart weight. The EST had no effect on residual yolk weight, chick length, or relative liver weight. Increased O2 increased yolk free BW and chick length and decreased residual yolk weight at hatch. No interactions between EST and O2 were observed with regard to embryo development and hatchling characteristics. If embryo development is reflected by HP, it can be concluded that high EST primarily increased embryonic development until the second week of incubation. During the third week of incubation, O2 had a greater effect in determining embryo development than EST.
    The effects of sub-optimal eggshell temperature during incubation on broiler chick quality, live performance and further processing yield.
    Joseph, N.S. ; Lourens, A. ; Moran, E.T. - \ 2006
    Poultry Science 85 (2006)5. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 932 - 938.
    metabolic responses - growth - hatchability - embryo - hatch
    Different incubation conditions can cause eggshell temperature (EST) to deviate from optimum. Two experiments were performed to determine the effect of low EST at the start of incubation and high EST at the end of incubation on hatchability, chick quality, 6-wk live performance, and breast meat yield of broiler chickens. In each experiment, 1,800 eggs from a single flock were divided and set into 2 setters. From 0 to 10 d of incubation, one setter was set to attain an EST of 36.6 degrees C (considered low), whereas the other was set to 37.8 degrees C (the control temperature). Using an infrared thermometer, EST was measured daily on a sample of eggs to ensure treatment intentions. On d 11 of incubation, the temperature of the low EST setter was increased to 37.8 degrees C in synchrony with the other setter until transfer. On d 18 of incubation, eggs from both setters were combined into 2 equal groups and transferred to hatchers. The EST in one hatcher was set to 37.8 degrees C (control) and in the other to 39.5 degrees C (considered high) until 21 d of incubation. Hatched males were placed in battery cages (Experiment 1) or floor pens (Experiment 2) and reared on common feeds to 1 or 6 wk of age, respectively. Low EST in the first 10 d of incubation reduced hatchability, increased BW and chick yield, and reduced 1-wk gain compared with the control EST. Throughout rearing, BW was reduced for low EST chicks compared with control EST chicks; consequently, carcass, fillet, and tender weights were also reduced. High EST in the hatcher increased hatchability, and reduced BW, chick yield, and 1-wk gain compared with control EST in the hatcher. By 3 wk of age, there was no difference in BW between chicks in high EST and control EST treatments. Subsequent carcass and processing yields were also similar. Incubation at the control EST of 37.8 degrees C, particularly from 0 to 10 d, resulted in the best performance overall.
    Effect of Egg Size on Heat Production and the Transition of Energy from Egg to Hatchling
    Lourens, A. ; Molenaar, R. ; Brand, H. van den; Heetkamp, M.J.W. ; Meijerhof, R. ; Kemp, B. - \ 2006
    Poultry Science 85 (2006)4. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 770 - 776.
    incubation-temperature - embryo - metabolism - chicken - weight - growth - hatchability - performance
    It has been reported that during incubation, large eggs produce more heat than small eggs (Rahn et al., 1974; Hoyt, 1987; Vleck et al., 1980; Vleck and Vleck, 1987; Meijerhof and Van Beek, 1993). Large eggs also face more difficulties to remove the surplus heat from the egg (French, 1997), as a result of the decreasing ratio between egg surface and egg content with increasing egg size (Vogel, 1984), and the reduced air velocity over the eggs in commercial incubators (French, 1997). If large eggs and small eggs are incubated under similar conditions, the higher heat production (HP) and increased difficulties to remove heat in large eggs will result in higher embryo temperatures in these eggs (Meijerhof and Van Beek, 1993, Meijerhof, 2002). The influence of embryo temperature on embryo development and hatchability is shown by Lourens et al (2005), who used egg shell temperature (EST) as reflection of embryo temperature. As egg size influences embryo temperature through heat production and heat transfer, experiments studying the effect of egg sizes on embryo development between species (Ricklefs, 1987) or late embryonic mortality within one species (Hagger et al, 1986; Reinhart and Moran, 1979) will be influenced by differences in embryo temperature, if incubator conditions are not adjusted to obtain an equal embryo temperature. To our knowledge, the effect of egg size on embryo development and hatchability is never studied independent of embryo temperature. Therefore, an experiment was conducted to incubate eggs from two different size classes at an equal EST. The goal of the experiment was to investigate the effect of egg size on HP, embryo development and energy transition between egg and hatchling, when eggs of different sizes were kept on the same EST of 37.8°C throughout incubation.
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