Relationships of eggshell, air cell, and cloacal temperatures of embryonated broiler hatching eggs during incubation1,2

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The relationships of eggshell, air cell, and embryo cloacal temperatures in Ross × Ross 708 broiler hatching eggs were determined. Twenty eggs were weighed and set on each of 3 tray levels of a single incubator. Eggshell temperature (EST) of the eggs were recorded once in the morning (AM) and afternoon (PM) between 0 and 19 d of incubation (DOI) using an infrared thermometer (IRT). All eggs were candled and a transponder was implanted in the air cell of eggs containing live embryos (12 per tray level) at 12 DOI. At 19 DOI, transponders were implanted in the cloaca of live embryos from those same eggs. Air cell temperature (ACT) and EST readings were recorded once in the AM and PM between 12 and 19 DOI, and ACT and cloaca temperature (CLT) readings were recorded every 6 h between 19 and 21 DOI. The EST and ACT readings between 13 and 19 DOI were positively correlated. However, their respective mean temperatures between 13 and 19 DOI differed. The EST and ACT were not significantly influenced by tray level. Nevertheless, a main effect due to location (eggshell vs. air cell), and an interaction between DOI and time of day (AM and PM) in the 13 to 19 DOI interval were observed. Furthermore, an interaction was observed between location (air cell and cloaca) and the 6 h sequential time periods in the 19 to 21 DOI interval. However, across the entire 19 to 21 DOI interval, mean ACT and CLT were not significantly different, and were positively correlated. These data suggest that ACT readings are higher than those of EST during the last half of incubation, and that between 13 and 19 DOI, ACT readings may have the potential for use as a minimally invasive method by which to more accurately estimate the true core body temperature of broiler embryos. The effects of this method on hatchability and post-hatch performance need determination to better establish its practicality.

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