Development and nutrient metabolism of embryos from two modern broiler strains

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A progressive selection for broiler live and processing performance traits has changed broiler growth patterns during the post hatch period. However, limited information is available to understand whether changes have also occurred during the embryonic stages. This study aims to examine influences of broiler strain on nutrient availability, embryonic development, and nutrient metabolism during incubation. Hatching eggs of Ross 308 and Cobb 500 fast feathering were selected from breeder flocks aged 43 to 46 weeks at an egg weight range of 60 to 63 g. Eggs were obtained in 2 batches, 120 eggs per strain per batch. For each batch, 20 eggs per strain were used to determine egg composition and nutrient availability. The remaining eggs were incubated separately in one of 2 climate respiration chambers at an eggshell temperature of 37.8°C. The results showed that Ross 308 eggs had a higher yolk:albumen ratio with 0.9 g more yolk and 0.7 g less albumen than Cobb 500. Albumen + yolk of Ross 308 eggs had a higher dry matter (¿ = 0.24 g) and crude fat (¿ = 0.23 g) than that of Cobb 500 eggs, but a similar amount of crude protein. Albumen and yolk of Ross 308 eggs had a higher energy content (¿ = 8.9 kJ) compared to Cobb 500 eggs. At 3¿h after hatch, Ross 308 chicks were 0.2 cm longer and had a 0.6 g heavier yolk free body mass (YFBM) than Cobb 500 chicks. During incubation, Ross 308 embryos used 13.9 kJ more energy than Cobb 500, and the efficiency of converting energy used to YFBM (EYFB) was approximately 7.6% lower compared to Cobb 500. Ross 308 chicks hatched approximately 4¿h later and had less hepatic glycogen (¿ = 5 mg) than Cobb 500 chicks. It can be concluded that, Cobb 500 and Ross 308 differ in egg nutrient availability and have different trajectories for embryonic development and nutrient metabolism during incubation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2546-2554
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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