Hatching system and time effects on broiler physiology and posthatch growth

L.J.F. van de Ven, A.V. van Wagenberg, M. Debonne, E. Decuypere, B. Kemp, H. van den Brand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


A multilevel housing system for broilers was developed, named Patio (Vencomatic BV, Eersel, the Netherlands), in which the hatching and brooding phase are combined. In a Patio system, climate conditions differ from those provided in the hatchers currently in use. We compared the physiology of broilers hatched in a hatcher or in a Patio system, and included the effects of hatching time. Eggs from 1 breeder flock were incubated until embryonic d 18 in a setter and subsequently placed in a hatcher or the Patio until the end of incubation. From each hatching system, 154 chicks were collected per hatching time, at 465 h (early), 480 h (midterm), and 493 h (late) of incubation, from which 24 chicks/group were decapitated for analyses of blood plasma and organ weights. The remaining 130 chicks in each group from both systems were individually labeled and placed together in the Patio system. All chicks were given access to feed and water directly after hatch and were housed up to d 45 to monitor growth. From embryonic d 18 until the end of incubation, average ambient temperature and RH were 38.1°C and 50.8% in the hatcher and 35.2°C and 29.7% in the Patio system. Glucose and corticosterone were slightly higher in hatcher chicks, whereas organ weights were not affected by the hatching system. Although hatchling weights were lower in hatchery chicks, growth from d 0 to 45 was not affected by the hatching system. In both systems, glucose increased with hatching time, whereas lactate and triiodothyronine levels decreased. Yolk weights decreased with hatching time, whereas absolute and relative weights of the yolk-free body, intestines, stomach, lungs, and heart increased, indicating more advanced maturation of organs. Growth up to d 21 was depressed in chicks in the late group, which was possibly related to lower thyroid hormone levels at hatching. We conclude that the hatching system had minor effects on hatchling physiology and that posthatch growth and livability were not affected. Because hatching time affected broiler physiology, it seems important to take hatching time into account in future studies related to hatchling physiology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1267-1275
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • eggshell temperature
  • oxygen concentration
  • gallus domesticus
  • thyroid-hormones
  • chicken embryos
  • late incubation
  • body-weight
  • mortality
  • egg
  • performance

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Hatching system and time effects on broiler physiology and posthatch growth'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this