Effects of egg weight on the egg quality, chick quality, and broiler performance at the later stages of production (week 60) in broiler breeders

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Abstract

The objective of the present study was to determine the effect of broiler breeder egg weight on egg quality, chick quality, and broiler performance using Hubbard Classic broiler breeder flock. Hatching eggs from a commercial broiler breeder flock (Hubbard classic strain) were obtained at the age of 60 wk and divided into 3 egg-weight categories, namely small, medium, and large. For this purpose, 930 eggs having weights 63.09 ± 0.21, 68.85 ± 0.23, and 74.81 ± 0.11g were divided into 3 egg categories labeled small, medium, and large respectively. We further divided these eggs into 2 categories, eggs for quality parameters and eggs for incubation and posthatch performance parameters. Eggs from the small egg category had greater proportion of the shell weight and more shell strength. Egg weight did not significantly affect the albumen and yolk weight percentage. Egg weight affected the shape index and specific gravity for which lower values were observed for large eggs. Egg weight positively affected the chick weight, chick yield, and chick length (P < 0.05) of both male and female chicks. Results of the body weight gain showed that effect of egg weight on the posthatch performance of chick diminishes with the age of broilers. Egg weight significantly affected the body weight gain of male and female chicks up to 3 wk of age. Egg weights did not significantly affect the feed intake and mortality of broiler. Different egg-weight categories significantly affected the feed conversion ratio of female chicks at wk 2 and 3 of age and did not affect the feed conversion of male and female chicks at the end of wk 5. In conclusion, egg weight positively affected the chick characteristics (e.g., chick weight, chick length) and did not affect the final live body weight, feed conversion ratio, feed intake, and mortality in broilers.

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