Effect of post-hatch feed deprivation on chick development

Dr. Inge van Roovert-Reijrink.

In the current article the effect of delayed access to feed post-hatch on growth performance, yolk utilization and intestine development, immune system, and muscle development will be discussed according to the latest published research on this topic. Around day 18 of incubation eggs are transferred from the setter to the hatcher. Very often the first chicks hatch during day 19 of incubation, while the last chicks hatch 30 to 36 hours later. To have maximum hatchability, chicks are taken from the hatcher after a total incubation period of 512 hours (21 days and 8 hours).

Post-hatch chicks are selected, counted, and the viable chicks are transported to the farm. The extra time post-hatch needed for handling and transport depends on the flock size, necessary handling, and distance between hatchery and farm. As a consequence, a period without feed and water of 40 hours is no exception.

Chicks seem to be able to compensate for a relatively short period of delayed feed access post-hatch. When the period without feed and water post-hatch is not longer than 24 h, differences in development can be seen during their early life, but performance and health status of the chicks can be the same during later life, as shown in several studies (Bhanja et al., 2009; Lamot et al., 2014). Download the entire article via the button below.

Effect of post-hatch feed deprivation on chick development

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