Effect of transport duration and broiler breeder age on day-old chick welfare and performance

Leonie Jacobs, Frank Tuyttens, Evelyne Delezie, Klara Goethals, Luc Duchateau, Xavier Gellynck, Evelien Lambrecht, Jacques Viaene

    Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan congresGepubliceerd abstractpeer review


    Broilers are the most numerous of all farm animals, ca. 5 billion are being produced in the EU every year. Most of these broiler chicks are transported to production sites within 1-2 days post-hatch. This process may cause stress, compromising the chicks’ welfare and productivity. The impact of transport conditions is still poorly understood and likely depends on the chicks’ quality and fitness. Chick quality is known to be affected by the age of the breeder flock amongst others. The aim of this study was therefore to investigate the combined effect of transport duration and breeder age on chick welfare and productivity. Chicks from either young (29wk) or old (60wk) Ross 308 breeders (both males and females) were bred under commercial standards. After hatch, 3240 chicks were transported in 36 crates of 0.24 m2, with 90 chicks per crate, from either young or old breeders. An equal number of randomly selected crates were subjected to a short (1.5h) or long (11h) road transport, resulting in a 2x2 factorial set-up. After transport, 2800 chicks were placed in 100 pens (2m2) at the ILVO site. Each pen was stocked with 28 chicks from a single crate (stocking density ca. 35kg/m2 at 41d). Five to seven chicks were randomly selected per crate (n=228) and were assessed for chick quality, weighed and then culled to weigh yolk sac reserves. Mortality of the penned chicks was recorded daily until slaughter (41d). Feed conversion was calculated for 40 pens, per feed type (starter, grower, finisher). Chicks subjected to long transport were lighter (42.3g vs 43.7g; P=0.002) and had lower yolk sac weights than those subjected to short transport (3.9g vs 5.2g; P<0.001). Breeder flock age positively affected chick weight (38.4g for 29wk and 47.6g for 60wk; P<0.001) and yolk sac weight (3.4g for 29wk and 5.7g for 60wk; P<0.001), but negatively affected chick quality score (92.7% for 29wk vs. 89.1% for 60wk; P=0.001). Data on feed conversion and mortality will be presented at the conference. These results show that transport duration affected weight and yolk sac weight, whilst breeder age also affected chick quality.
    Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
    Aantal pagina’s1
    PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - 17-jul.-2015
    EvenementHSA International Symposium 2015: Recent Advances II - Zagreb, Kroatië
    Duur: 16-jul.-201517-jul.-2015


    CongresHSA International Symposium 2015: Recent Advances II
    Internet adres


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