Indexed on: 17 Aug '11Published on: 17 Aug '11Published in: Poultry science
Manipulating the development of the leg bone by making simple changes to incubation temperature could help reduce the incidence of abnormalities. This study tested the hypothesis that increasing or decreasing the temperature of chick incubation by 1°C for 3 d during ED 4 to 7 affects hatchability, growth, and leg abnormalities of Cobb 500 broilers fed 3 diets: a diet that induced tibial dyschondroplasia, a Ca-deficient diet that induced rickets, and a P-deficient diet that induced rickets. In experiment 1, eggs hatched earlier, and more eggs hatched, at 38.5°C (92.77%) compared with at 37.5°C (86.22%). Body weight was lower in chicks incubated at the higher temperature compared with those incubated at the lower temperature (44.66 vs. 42.92 g). In experiment 2, egg setting times were +17 h for 36.5°C eggs and -10 h for 38.5°C compared with standard setting at 37.5°C (508 h). Hatchability of fertile eggs (92.92%) was highest at 37.5°C and decreased at 36.5°C (89.82%) and 38.5°C (81.55%). Body weight was lower (48.98 g) at 36.5°C than at 37.5°C (49.57 g) and at 38.5°C (50.56 g). Experiment 3 separated effects of incubation temperature and incubation time and was conducted with control and Ca-deficient diets. No main effects or interactions between incubation temperature or time and bone abnormalities were detected. It is important to note that eggs hatched at different times in this study. A difference as little as 1°C for 3 d during ED 4 to 7 affected hatching time and weight.