Initiation of incubation: understanding chicken embryo processes

A. Pennings*, H.J. Wijnen, B. Kemp, H. van den Brand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


After oviposition, ambient conditions affect biological processes related to chicken embryonic development, making the chicken embryo sensitive to changes in its environment, such as temperature fluctuations. The sensitivity of the chicken embryo increases with prolonged egg storage durations, which may be due to a decreased number of vital embryonic cells, depletion of energy reserves, oxidative stress, and/or the weakening of the vitelline membrane. A rapid increase in temperature during the transition from egg storage to incubation may cause a temperature shock to the sensitive embryo, resulting in cell damage, oxidative stress, and nutrient stress. This may explain the higher embryonic mortality, lower hatchability, and worsened chick quality that has been reported after prolonged egg storage durations of hatching eggs at hatcheries in commercial poultry industry. It has been hypothesized that a more gradual temperature increase during the transition from egg storage to incubation, referred to as slow pre-warming, prevents temperature shock and allows for DNA repair after egg storage, and therefore could decrease early embryonic mortality.

Barely any research has been devoted to how, and in what time frame, eggs should be warmed from storage temperature to incubation temperature in artificial incubation. Additionally, biological processes happening during this transition period are even more rarely investigated. The aim of this project is to understand the biological processes of the chicken embryo during the temperature transition from egg storage to incubation. The proposed research and methods to investigate chicken embryo processes during the initiation of incubation will be discussed during the presentation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2023
EventADP Science Day 2023 - Landgoed Welderen, Elst, Netherlands
Duration: 24 Oct 202324 Oct 2023


OtherADP Science Day 2023


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