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Title: Short preincubations during egg storage increase hatchability and chick quality in long-stored broiler eggs

item Dymond, Jessica
item NICOHSON, DINAH - Aviagen, Ltd
item Vinyard, Bryan
item FRENCH, NICK - Aviagen, Ltd
item Bakst, Murray

Submitted to: World Poultry Science Association Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/30/2012
Publication Date: 8/21/2013
Citation: Dymond, J.E., Nicohson, D., Vinyard, B.T., French, N., Bakst, M.R. 2013. Short preincubations during egg storage increase hatchability and chick quality in long-stored broiler eggs. World Poultry Science Association Proceedings. 92:2977–2987.

Interpretive Summary: Egg storage is a common practice in commercial hatcheries for logistical and financial reasons. Fresh laid eggs are typically stored in a cool room for up to 3 wks before incubation. Storage less than 7-10 days has no effect on the embryo. However, with storage longer than 10 days, embryo survival decreases with increasing length of storage. Procedures to reduce or eliminate such hatchery losses would greatly benefit the poultry industry. In this study, eggs stored in a cool room were pre-incubated for 4 hr at 4-5 day intervals over a 21-day storage period. These ‘short preincubations during egg storage’ (SPIDES) treatments resulted in increased embryo survival and hatchability and increased chick quality over stored, non-SPIDES eggs. This work will be useful to poultry personnel in the management hatcheries and poultry scientists and developmental biologists studying factors impacting early chick embryo development.

Technical Abstract: We have investigated the efficacy of the SPIDES (short pre-incubations during egg storage) regimen in restoration of hatchability of broiler eggs during 21-day cool storage. Prolonged cool storage reduced hatchability of stored eggs from 92% to 71%. Alternatively, the SPIDES treatment, which consisted of four 4-hr preincubations at 4-5 day intervals during storage, reduced the incubation time and restored hatchability to 84% by lowering both early and late mortality (p = 0.0002). SPIDES-treated embryos exhibited higher proportions of viable cells after each preincubation (p = 0.02), potentially reducing embryonic stress during storage. After completion of four preincubations, SPIDES embryos were advanced to intermediate primitive streak formation, a developmental stage previously associated with embryo mortality during storage. Additionally, in contrast to existing preincubation methods, the SPIDES technique permits a four day storage prior to the initial preincubation treatment, introducing flexibility in the incubation protocol and enabling cool storage up to three weeks with minimal impact on hatch rates. Although SPIDES chicks exhibit a body weight equivalent to that of embryos derived from unstored eggs at hatch, the initial relative body weight gain is increased as a result of SPIDES, generating a higher body weight over the first four weeks post-hatch (p<0.05). Single preincubations of 6 and 12 hours failed to recapitulate the beneficial effects of SPIDES, suggesting small multiple preincubations during storage have a greater benefit than a single 6 or 12 hr incubation. Future research regarding the cellular and molecular basis of physiological stress reduction in SPIDES embryos will yield valuable insights into the biological basis of this methods success.