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Effects of egg storage time on spread of hatch, chick quality, and chick juvenile growth

Tona, K., Bamelis, F., De Ketelaere, B., Bruggeman, V., Moraes, V.M.B., Buyse, J., Onagbesan, O., Decuypere, E.
Poultry science 2003 v.82 no.5 pp. 736-741
broiler breeders, eggs, storage time, incubation, duration, egg hatchability, hatching, body weight, egg quality, postnatal development, chicks, egg weight, animal growth, animal physiology, animal reproduction
A total of 1,800 incubating eggs produced by a commercial flock of Cobb broiler breeders was used to determine the effects of storage duration (3 or 18 d) on spread of hatch and chick quality. Chick relative growth (RG) at the end of 7 d of rearing was also determined as a measure of the chick performance. Chick quality was defined to encompass several qualitative characteristics and scored according to their importance. Eggs stored for 3 d hatched earlier than those stored for 18 d (P < 0.05). Hatching was normally distributed in both categories of eggs, and the spread of hatch was not affected by storage time (P = 0.69). Storage duration of 18 d reduced the percentage of day-old chick with high quality as well as average chick quality score (P < 0.05). RG varied with length of egg storage, quality of day-old chick, and the incubation duration (P < 0.05). Eighteen-day storage of eggs not only resulted in longer incubation duration and lower quality score but also depressed RG. Chick quality as defined in this study was correlated to RG and storage time. It was concluded that day-old chick quality may be a relatively good indicator of broiler performance. The results suggest however that in order to improve performance prediction power of chick quality, it would be better to define it as a combination of several qualitative aspects of the day-old chick and the juvenile growth to 7 d.