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The day-old chick: a crucial hinge between breeders and broilers*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2007

E. Decuypere
Laboratory for Physiology and Immunology of Domestic Animals, Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Agricultural and Applied iological Sciences, K.U. Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 30, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium
K. Tona
Laboratory for Physiology and Immunology of Domestic Animals, Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Agricultural and Applied iological Sciences, K.U. Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 30, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium
V. Bruggeman
Laboratory for Physiology and Immunology of Domestic Animals, Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Agricultural and Applied iological Sciences, K.U. Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 30, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium
F. Bamelis
Laboratory for Physiology and Immunology of Domestic Animals, Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Agricultural and Applied iological Sciences, K.U. Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 30, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium
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The quality of the day-old broiler chick is foremost in the minds of many poultry managers. From fertilised ovum to the placement at the broiler farm, some factors such as the characteristics of the incubating eggs, the egg holding conditions, the incubation conditions and the conditions that exist between hatching and placement at the farm and their interactions may affect chick quality. It may be questioned if maximal hatchability is the best indicator for chick quality and/or post-hatching viability, even if optimal hatchability is considered a prerequisite for successful incubation. The environmental conditions during incubation (e.g. the temperature, humidity and ventilation rate (carbon dioxide concentration)) are not set independently from each other, although each may have its own optimum for hatchability and chick quality. These optima for each incubation factor may alter differentially according to the characteristics of the incubating egg. It is concluded that more independent control as well as more control of the variability of the classical physical conditions in the incubator are required in order to improve hatchability and chick quality.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2001

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An abstract of this review has been presented at the meeting of the “Incubation and Fertility Research Group”, Oxford, UK, 11-12 September 2000


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