Critical assessment of chick quality measurements as an indicator of posthatch performance.


For hatcheries, not only is it important to have a high level of hatchability, but the quality of the chicks provided also has to be good, because broiler farmers are looking for chicks with a high growth potential, resulting in a greater slaughter yield at the end of the rearing period. However, chick quality has proven to be a difficult and subjective matter to define. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the predictive value of different chick quality measurements for BW at slaughter age. Body weight, chick length, shank length, and toe length measurements as well as Tona score determination were performed on 1-d-old chicks and were linked to posthatch performance parameters. Different breeder lines (Cobb and Ross) and breeder ages (39, 42, and 53 wk of age) were used to investigate line and age effects. In addition, variability between people and repeatability in time of these quality measurements were determined. Body weight at 7 d of age appeared to be the best predictor of BW at slaughter age among all the quality measurements performed. Body weight at 1 d of age had the second greatest predictive value, closely followed by the ratio between BW at 1 d of age and chick length squared. Chick length and shank length both had low to no predictive value whatsoever for posthatch performance. The lack of significant correlations between the Tona score and posthatch performance could be explained by the absence of day-old chicks with anomalies (and thus a suboptimal Tona score) because a distinction had already been made, as is done in practice, between top-grade and lower grade chicks.

DOI: 10.3382/ps.2008-00095

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@article{Willemsen2008CriticalAO, title={Critical assessment of chick quality measurements as an indicator of posthatch performance.}, author={Hilke Willemsen and Nadia Everaert and A Witters and Lieve De Smit and Marianne Debonne and F Verschuere and Pratima Garain and Daniel Berckmans and Eddy M-P Decuypere and Veerle Bruggeman}, journal={Poultry science}, year={2008}, volume={87 11}, pages={2358-66} }