Breeder line and age affects the occurrence of developmental defects, the number of culled one-day old broiler chicks and their body mass

https://doi.org/10.17221/137/2018-VETMEDCitation:Nowak B., Pawlina E., Ilska K., Mucha A., Kruszynski W. (2019): Breeder line and age affects the occurrence of developmental defects, the number of culled one-day old broiler chicks and their body mass. Veterinarni Medicina, 64: 323-333.
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The objective of this work was to study the reasons for culling one-day old broiler chicks and to examine the relationship between the age and line of the hens and the culled chick’s body mass. Hatching eggs and day-old chicks were collected from a commercial flock of the Cobb 500 and Ross 308 broiler lines. The eggs were collected when the hens were 32, 42 and 52 weeks old. The reasons for culling the chicks were assessed immediately after the chicks had been removed from the hatcheries. The four main groups of defects were distinguished, depending on the part of the chick’s body. A fifth group covered general developmental defects. Within each group, the structural defects were identified in detail. The statistical analysis was performed in the R project. Amongst 57 600 chicks evaluated, 1042 malformations disqualifying them from further rearing were found in 666. The most frequent developmental defects were associated with the structure of the abdominal wall and umbilical cord: these were found in 155 chicks from the Ross 308 line and in 107 from the Cobb 500 line. In turn, umbilical defects occurred in 95 and 104 chicks from the Ross 308 and Cobb 500 lines, respectively. Abdominal defects were the most common in 107 chicks from the 42-week-old layers and in 89 chicks from the 52-week-old layers. There were also correlations between the age of the parent flock and the following defects: glued down, lack of down on the wings, contorted hips, wry neck and spine, and lack of a wake-up reflex. The average body weights of the Ross 308 and Cobb 500 chicks were 44.00 g and 43.13 g, respectively, but these differences were not statistically significant. However, the age of the broiler breeders (42 or 52 weeks) did affect the chick’s body weight (P ≤ 0.05). The lightest chicks (40.75 g) came from the Ross 308 line (age 42 weeks) and were nearly 4 g lighter than all the other groups. Most relationships between the lines of the layer hens at a particular age and the occurrence of malformations in the chicks were found in the hens aged 32 weeks, which may indicate the need for changes in the management of the eggs from the youngest layers belonging to the different lines.

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