Seven and 14 day mortality of broiler chicks is often associated with egg handling and hatchery and incubation conditions although the exact cause of this mortality is not fully understood. Therefore, three experiments were conducted at the University of Arkansas to determine if factors which are known to affect embryo mortality would also affect 14 day chick livability.
Egg storage length, in-vivo sperm storage length, and egg temperature fluctuations were the pre-incubation storage conditions. The first experiment looked at egg storage length in a hatching cooler on the livability and performance of broilers. The eggs were stored at 68ºF in three time intervals: 0-5 days storage, 6-10 days storage, 11-15 days storage.
Sperm storage in-vivo was the second experiment performed. Hens were inseminated to allow for groups of 0-5 days in-vivo sperm storage, 6-10 days in vivo storage, and 11-15 days in-vivo storage. Lastly, the third experiment focused on fluctuating temperatures of eggs in storage. The three test groups for fluctuating temperatures were comprised of a control maintained at 70ºF for three days, and two groups that were fluctuated between 65ºF or 75ºF for 24 hour intervals before finally brought back to control at 70ºF.
For all three trials, a two week broiler growout was performed to determine the effect these parameters had on livability and performance of broilers. Overall, there were no differences observed in the livability of the broilers or in their mean body weight, nor were there as the cause of death from necropsy data. Though these factors have been shown to decrease embryo livability, there seems to be no relation to the seven and 14 day livability of broilers hatched from eggs subjected to these conditions.
Source: Proceedings of the 2010 International Poultry Scientific Forum, Atlanta, GA, USA. Authors: S. M. Whipple, J. R. Moyle, D. E. Yoho, F. D. Clark, and R. K. Bramwell, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AK, USA