Submitted to: Journal of Applied Poultry Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 26, 2002
Publication Date: January 1, 2003
Citation: Bourassa, D.V., Buhr, R.J., Wilson, J.L. 2003. Elevated egg holding room temperature of 74 f (23 c) does not depress hatchability or chick quality. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 12(1):1-6.
Interpretive Summary: Broiler breeder hatching eggs are normally held at 66 F at the farm and are commonly collected twice a week and transported to a hatchery. Holding these eggs at a higher temperature of 74 F may save on energy costs and minimize egg sweating at the farm and during transport. Four trials of an experiment were done using 5,632 eggs. For each trial clean eggs with good shell quality were collected for four consecutive days and divided into two groups each day. One group was held at 66 F to represent the normal temperature used in the industry. The other group was held at 74 F and was called the treatment group. On the fifth day, all eggs were loaded in a vehicle and driven 10 miles to simulate transportation to a hatchery. These eggs were then placed in the hatchery cooler at 66 F and set in an incubator at normal temperatures the following day simulating normal hatchery procedures. The eggs were incubated for 21 days. At hatch, normal chicks were counted, abnormal chicks were noted, and all unhatched eggs were opened and examined. At an average of 20.5 somites, the control and treatment temperature groups did not differ. Hatchability of eggs set and hatchability of fertile eggs differed by less than one percent. According to the data collected, it seems that elevating the holding room temperature for broiler breeder eggs 8 F would conserve electrical energy on the farm and minimize the potential for egg sweating.
A series of experiments was conducted to determine the effect of holding broiler hatching eggs on the farm at 74 F prior to transport to the hatchery. After collection on each of four consecutive days, hatching eggs were distributed into two groups that were held at either 66 or 74 F. On Day 5, all eggs were transported 10 miles to simulate transportation from the farm to the hatchery. Eggs were then placed into the hatchery egg cooler at 66 F, held overnight, and set the following morning. After 21 days of incubation, normal hatched chicks were counted, abnormal chicks were noted, and the hatch residue was opened and recorded. Additional eggs from each temperature group were set and opened after 48 h of incubation to determine if embryo somite count (an indication of embryonic development rate) was influenced by the egg holding temperatures. Somite counts were the same for both temperature groups at 20.5 somites. Hatchability of fertile eggs differed between temperature groups by less than one tenth of one percent (90.1% to 90.2%). Elevating the holding room temperature for broiler breeder eggs would conserve energy on the farm and minimize the potential for egg sweating during transport to the hatchery.