Effect of maternal transition of omega-3 fatty acids on hatchability, chick quality and performance until slaughter age

  • Delezie, Evelyne (Project Manager)
  • Maertens, Luc (Former Project Supervisor)
  • Koppenol, Astrid (Former Researcher)

    Project Details


    Main research question/goal
    The goal of this research is to improve the health and performance of broilers by adding omega-3 fatty acid to the feed of the broiler breeder hens.  The research question is: Can dietary enrichment of the broiler breeder hens with omega-3 fatty acid program the metabolism and the immune system of the progeny with long term postnatal effects? Can we prove maternal transition of omega-3 fatty acids and effects on the zootechnical results of the broiler breeders, on the egg quality, on incubation parameters, on fatty acid composition of immunological organs and on the zootechnical performance of the offspring?  Can we affect the immunological parameters of the offspring?


    Research approach
    We perform empirical animal trials.  We work with 2 rounds of broiler breeders.  The feed of breeder hens is enriched with different concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids.  In the first round breeders will be enriched starting from 6 weeks of age onwards. In the second round, they are enriched from 21 weeks of age onwards.  At various time points, eggs are collected to measure egg quality and incubated to generate offspring. This offspring is raised until slaughter age.  Throughout the trial samples are taken from the breeder hens and from the offspring to analyse fatty acid composition to prove the hypothesis of maternal transition.

    The results of this research have a direct impact on the poultry sector. If optimized feed helps to reduce metabolic disorders and mortality at broiler level until slaughter age, this would create potentially important health benefits. By changing feeding strategies, small improvements can be obtained to improve the welfare of billions of broilers.  Fundamental feed research with an immunological basis can lead to practical advice which can then be commercially applied.

    Funding provider(s)
    ILVO - Instituut voor Landbouw-, Visserij- en voedingsonderzoek
    K.U. Leuven

    External partner(s)
    KULeuven - Dept. Biosystemen
    Effective start/end date1/10/101/09/14

    Data Management Plan flag for FRIS

    • DMP not present


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