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Broiler chicks are transported to production sites within one to 2 d post-hatch. Possible effects of this transportation are poorly understood and could vary among chicks from breeder flocks of different ages. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of transportation duration and parental flock age on chick welfare, productivity, and quality. After hatch in a commercial hatchery, 1,620 mixed-sex chicks from 29-wk old (young) and 1,620 chicks from 60-wk old (old) breeders were subjected to transportation of 1.5 h or 11 h duration. After transportation, 2,800 chicks were divided among 100 pens, with each pen containing 28 chicks from one transportation crate (2 or 3 pens per crate). From the remaining chicks, on average 6 chicks (min 4, max 8) per crate (n = 228) were randomly selected and assessed for chick quality, weighed, and culled for yolk sac weighing (one d). Chicks that had not been assigned to pens or were not used for post-transportation measurements, were removed from the experiment (n = 212). Mortality, ADG, BW, and feed conversion ( FC: ) of the experimental chicks were recorded until 41 d. Meat quality was measured for breast fillets (n = 47). No interaction effect of parental age and transportation duration was found for any variables. BW and yolk sac weight at one d were lower for chicks transported 11 h than 1.5 h and for chicks from young versus old breeders. The effect of parental flock age on BW persisted until slaughter. Additionally, parental age positively affected ADG until slaughter. Chick quality was lower in chicks from old versus young breeders. Chick quality and productivity were not affected by transportation duration. Mortality and meat quality were not affected by either parental age or transportation duration. To conclude, no long-term detrimental effects were found from long post-hatch transportation in chicks from young or old parent flocks. Based on these results, we suggest that 11 h post-hatch transportations under similar conditions do not impose long-term welfare or productivity risks.
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