Effects of a combined hatching and brooding system on hatchability, chick weight, and mortality in broilers

L.J.F. van de Ven, A.V. van Wagenberg, P.W.G. Groot Koerkamp, B. Kemp, H. van den Brand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Chicks hatch over a time window of approximately 36 to 48 h and are removed from the hatchers only when the majority of the chicks has hatched. Consequently, chicks are exposed to prolonged posthatch holding periods and delays in feed and water access, leading to dehydration and impaired posthatch performance. It is questionable whether the physiological requirements of the hatchlings can be met with current hatching systems. An alternative system that may better match the requirements of the hatchlings is a system that combines the hatching and brooding phase, so that feed and water can be provided immediately after hatch. Such a system, named Patio, was developed in the Netherlands and tested from 2006 to 2008, to evaluate effects on hatchability and early performance of broilers. This paper describes the Patio system and the results from these tests. A total of 21 broiler production trials (780,686 eggs) in the Patio system were evaluated at 3 locations and compared with control hatches of eggs of the same parental flock in the hatchery. Hatchability in the Patio was on average 1.45, 1.83, and 1.86% higher at location 1, 2, and 3, respectively. However, in the calculation of the hatchability in the Patio, possible second grade chicks were included, whereas these were excluded in the calculation of hatchability in the hatchery. Additionally, in the hatchery, the hatching process was interrupted earlier than in the Patio, meaning that possible late hatching chicks remained in the flock in the Patio, but not in the hatchery. In 3 trials, the Patio chicks were 11.6 to 16.3% heavier at d 0, when the hatchery chicks were placed in the broiler house. Mean cumulative 7-d mortality was only assessed in the Patio and was 1.27, 1.09, and 1.43% at location 1, 2, and 3, respectively. The Patio system appears to function as an alternative to current hatching and brooding systems. Further studies are required to determine to what extent the higher hatchability is due to second grade and to late hatching chicks
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2273-2279
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • performance
  • temperature
  • incubation
  • hatchery
  • growth
  • flocks
  • intestine
  • 1st-week
  • poults
  • body

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