Skip to main content Accessibility help

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

  • E. Decuypere (a1), K. Tona (a1), V. Bruggeman (a1) and F. Bamelis (a1)

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.

Hide All
Abd El Azim, A. (1991) Effect of periodic cooling and warming of incubating chicken eggs on hatchability, postnatal growth and heat stress tolerance. PhD Thesis, Cairo University
Ancel, A. and Visschedijk, A.H.J. (1993) Respiratory exchanges in the incubated egg of the domestic guinea fowl. Respirution Physiology 91: 3142
Ande, T.B. and Wilson, H.R. (1981) Hatchability of chicken embryos exposed to acute high temperature stress at various ages. Poultry Science 60: 15611566
Avrutina, A.J. and Kisljuk, S.M. (1982) Formation of the reaction of hypothalamic-hypophyseal-adrenocortical system to cooling during chick embryogenesis. Ontogenesis 13: 404408
Avrutina, A.J., Galpern, I.L. and Kisljuk, S.M. (1985) Stimulation of adrenals during the critical periods of development and production in fowls. World's Poultry Science Journal 41: 108114
Barott, H.G. (1937) Effects of temperature, humidity and other factors on hatch of eggs and on energy metabolism of chick embryos. US Departmental Agricultural Technical Bulletin 553: 145
Brian, H. (2000) Incubation, the physical requirements. International Hatchery Practice 14: 25
Butler, D.E. (1991) Egg handling and storage at the farm and hatchery. In: Avian Incubntion (Tullett, S.G., Ed.), Butterworths, London, pp. 195203
Buys, N., Dewil, E., Gonzales, E. and Decuypere, E. (1998) Different CO2, levels during incubation interact with hatching time and ascites susceptibility in two broiler lines selected for different growth rate. Avian Pathology 27: 605612
Crittenden, L.B. and Bohren, B.B. (1962) The effects of current egg production, time in production, age of pullet, and inbreeding on hatchability and hatching time. Poultry Science 41: 426433
Decuypere, E. (1984) Incubation temperature in relation to postnatal performance in chickens. Archiv für Experimentalle Veterinärmedi zin 38: 439449
Decuypere, E. and Michels, H. (1992) Incubation temperature as a management tool: a review. World's Poultry Science Journal 48: 2738
Decuypere, E., Nouwen, E.J., KÜhn, E.R., Geers, H. and Michels, H. (1979) Iodohormones in the serum of chick embryos and post-hatching chickens as influenced by incubation temperature. Relationship with the hatching process and thermogenesis. Annal de Biologie Animal et Biochémie Biophysique 19: 17131723
Decuypere, E., Iqbal, A., Michels, H., Kuhn, E.R., Schneider, R. and Abd El Azim, A. (1988) Thyroid hormone response to thyrotropin releasing hormone after cold treatment during pre- and postnatal development in the domestic fowl. Hormone and Metabolism Research 20: 484489
Deeming, D.C. (1989 a) Characteristic of unturned eggs : critical period, retarded embryonic growth and poor albumen utilisation. British Poultry Science 30: 239249
Deeming, D.C. (1989 b) Importance of sub-embryonic fluid and albumen in the embryo's response to turning of the egg during incubation. British Poultry Science 30: 239249
Deeming, D.C. (1990) Turning helps hatchability. Poultry Misset 4: 27
Deeming, D.C. (1991) Reasons for the dichotomy in egg turning in birds and reptiles. In: Egg Incubation: Its Effects on Embryonic Development in Birds and Reptiles (Deeming, D.C. and Ferguson, W.J., Eds), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 307323
Deeming, D.C. (1996) Large eggs: an incubation challenge. Poultry International 35: 5054
Dibner, J. (1999) Feeding hatchling poultry: avoid any delay. Feed International 12 1999: 3034
Funk, M.E. and Irwin, M.R. (1955) Hatchery Operation and Management. John Willey & Sons Inc., New York
Haque, M.A., Pearson, J.T., Hou, P.-C.L. and Tazawa, H. (1996) Effects of pre-incubation egg storage on embryonic function: and growth. Respiration Physiology 103: 8998
Iqbal, A., Decuypere, E., KÜhn, E.R. and Abd El Azim, A. (1989) Plasma iodohormone concentrations in early and late hatched chicks incubated at different temperatures. Medical Science Research 17: 269270
Iqbal, A., Decuypere, E., Abd El Azim, A. and KÜhn, E.R. (1990) Pre- and post-hatch high temperature exposure affects the thyroid hormones and corticosterone response to acute heat stress in growing chicken (Gallus domesticus). Journal of Thermal Biology 15: 149153
KÜHn, E.R., Decuypere, E., Colen, L.M. and Michels, H. (1982) Post hatch growth and development of circadian rhythm for thyroid hormones in chicks incubated at different temperatures. Poultry Science 61: 540549
LapÂo, C., Gama, L.T. and Soares, M.C. (1999) Effects of broiler breeder age and length of egg storage on albumen characteristics and hatchability. Poultry Science 78: 640645
Mcloughlin, L. and Gous, R.M. (1999) The effect of egg size on pre- and post-natal growth of broiler chickens. World Poultry 15: 3438
Meijerhof, R. (1994) Theoretical and empirical studies on temperature and moisture loss of hatching eggs during the pre-incubation period. PhD Thesis, Landbuowunicersiteit te Wage-ningen, The Nederlands
Merritt, E.S. and Gowe, R.S. (1965) Post embryonic growth in relation to egg weight. Poultry Science 44: 477480
Minne, B. and Decuypere, E. (1984) Effects of late prenatal temperatures on some thermo-regulatory aspects in young chickens. Archiv für Experimentalle Veterinärmedizin 38: 374383
Mirosh, L.W. and Becker, W.A. (1974) Storage and incubation temperature effects on hatching time of coturnix quail eggs. Poultry Science 53: 432434
Moran, E.T. Jr (1990) Effects of weight, glucose administration at hatch, and delayed access to feed and water on the poult at 2 weeks of age. Poultry Science 69: 17181723
Muambi, S., Decuypere, E. and Michels, H. (1980) Influence de la durkée de conservation desoeufs sur la durkée d'incubation, le taux d'éclosion et la croissance postnatale chez la race de volaille “Rhode Island Red”. Revue Zaïroise des Sciences Nucléaires 1: 6583
Muambi, S., Decuypere, E. and Michels, H. (1982) Influence du stockage des aeufs à couver sur la dureée d'incubation et le taux sérique d'hormone thyroydïennes chez l'embryon du poulet. Reproduction, Nutrition, Development 21: 585589
Noy, Y. and Sklan, D. (1999) Energy utilization in newly hatched chicks. Poultry Science 78: 17501756
Nvota, J., Vyboh, P., Jurani, M., Lamosova, D., Boda, K. and Baroskova, Z. (1980) The influence of environment in the early ontogenesis on the development of endocrine functions and body growth in fowls. Proceedings of the 28th International Congress of Physiological Science, p. 616A
Okuda, A. and Tazawa, H. (1988) Gas exchange and development of chicken embryos with widely altered shell conductance from the beginning of incubation. Respiration Physiology 74: 187198
Peebles, E.D. and Brake, J. (1986) The role of the cuticle in water vapor conductance by the eggshell of broiler breeders. Poultry Science 65: 10341039
Pinchasov, Y. and Noy, Y. (1993) Comparison of post-hatch holding time and subsequent early performance of broiler chicks and turkey poults. British Poultry Science 34: 111120
Raghavan, V. (1999) Give day-old chicks the best start. World Poultry 15: 2829
Romanoff, A.L. (1935) Influence of incubation temperature on the hatchability of eggs, postnatal growth and survival of turkeys. Journal of Agricultural Science 25: 318325
Romanoff, A.L. (1936) Effects of different temperature in the incubator on the prenatal and postnatal development of the chick. Poultry Science 15: 311315
Shanawany, M.M. (1992) Identifying the causes of hatching failure. World Poultry 8: 5759
Sturkie, P.D. and Williams, A.G. (1945) Studies on pregatrular development, early embryonic development and hatchability of prematurely laid eggs of the hen. Poultry Science 24: 546554
Taylor, G. (1999) High-yield breeds require special incubation. World Poultry 15: 2729
Tazawa, H. (1980 a) Oxygen and CO2 exchange and acid-base regulation in the avian embryo. American Zoology 20: 395404
Tazawa, H. (1980 b) Adverse effect of failure to turn the avian egg on embryo oxygen exchange. Respiration Physiology 41: 137142
Tazawa, H. and Whittow, G.C. (2000) Incubation physiology. In: Sturkie's Avian Physiology (Whittow, G.C., Ed.), Academic Press, London, pp. 617634
Thompson, J.B., Wilson, H.R. and Voitle, R.A. (1976) Influence of high temperature stress of 16-day embryos on subsequent hatchability. Poultry Science 55: 892894
Tullett, S.G. (1990) Science and the art of incubation. Poultry Science 69: 115
Tullett, S.G. and Burton, F.G. (1986) The recent reawakening of interest in bird physiology particularly eggs, eggshell porosity and embryonic respiration. Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Mathernatisch-Naturzuissenschaftliche Reihe 35: 273284
Vieira, S.L. (1999) Feeding the newly-hatched broiler chick. World Poultry 15: 1718
Vieira, S.L. and Moran, E.T. Jr (1999) Effects of age of origin and chick post-hatch nutrition on broiler live performance and meat yields. World's Poultry Science Journal 55: 125142
Wilson, H.R. (1991) Physiological requirements of the developing embryo: temperature and turning. In: Avian Incubation (Tullett, S.G., Ed.), Butterworth-Heinemann, London, pp. 145156
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

World's Poultry Science Journal
  • ISSN: 0043-9339
  • EISSN: 1743-4777
  • URL: /core/journals/world-s-poultry-science-journal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed