Submitted to: Maple Leaf Farms Duckling Hatchery Workshop Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/15/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Embryo mortality in poultry is a significant problem. This problem is particularly acute in the duck industry where embryo mortality in some strains exceed 30% of all eggs laid. While much is known about the early embryonic development of the chicken, and new information is available in the turkey, corresponding information for the duck does not exist. Since it should not be assumed that duck embryo development corresponds to that of the chicken and turkey embryo, the development of the duck embryo was examined from the first division of the fertile ovum through 24 hr of incubation. It was observed that, with some exceptions, the duck embryo development did in fact resemble that of the chicken and not the turkey embryo. This work will be useful to hatchery personnel who must differentiate between an infertile egg and an early dead embryo. It will be provide scientists working in the areas of bird embryology and the studying factors affecting embryo development a standardized means of precisely identifying particular stages of development.
Technical Abstract: Embryonic mortality in the domestic avian species is far from negligible and especially affects early embryos. In order to determine the period(s) of early embryonic death, the normal sequence of embryonic development must be precisely known. The present study presents the normal sequence of development of the Peking duck embryo from first cleavage to 24 h of incubation. Furthermore, embryo size and cell number and shell thickness were evaluated. We found that early embryonic development of the duck was more similar to that of the chicken as opposed to the turkey embryo. Therefore, with some modification the staging procedures described for the chicken were adapted for the duck. Of particular interest was that during the course of hypoblast differentiation, embryo diameter or blastodermal cell numbers did not change. Egg envelope thickness is a very good indicator of the embryonic developmental stage of the oviducal egg, whereas sthe egg weight loss during incubation is more appropriate to estimate the embryonic developmental stage during the first 24 hr of incubation.