Impact of maternal heat stress in conjunction with dietary zinc supplementation on hatchability, embryonic development, and growth performance in offspring broilers

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The aim of this study was to investigate whether maternal dietary supplementations with different zinc (Zn) sources could reduce the deleterious effect of maternal heat stress on hatchability performance and progeny growth performance. A completely randomized design (n = 6) with 2 maternal environmental temperatures [normal 21 ± 1°C (NT) vs. high 32 ± 1°C (HT)] × 3 maternal dietary supplemental Zn levels [Zn-unsupplemented control diet (CON), the control diet + 110 mg of Zn/kg of diet as either inorganic ZnSO4 (iZn) or organic Zn with a moderate chelation strength (oZn)] was used. HT decreased (P < 0.05) fertility, hatchability, chick hatch weight, and embryonic survival. HT also decreased (P ≤ 0.05) progeny BW, ADG, and ADFI at one to 21, 22 to 28, and 29 to 42 d of age as well as breast muscle ratio and plasma aspartate aminotransferase and creatine kinase activities at 42 d of age. Maternal dietary Zn supplementation with either iZn or oZn increased (P < 0.004) Zn contents in yolk and liver, non-weak chick ratio, as well as progeny BW, ADFI, and survivability at one to 21 d of age. Notably, the addition of oZn increased (P < 0.05) hatchability and progeny thigh meat quality by reducing b* value. The progeny ADG at one to 21 d and 22 to 28 d of age and BW at 28 d of age from maternal NT were not affected (P > 0.46) by maternal dietary Zn supplementation, but the above 3 indices from HT-iZn (P < 0.05) and HT-oZn (P < 0.003) were higher than those from HT-CON. Our results indicate that maternal heat stress impairs hatching performance, embryonic development, and progeny growth performance, inducing metabolic changes, while supplementation of Zn in maternal diets regardless of Zn sources improved hatch chick quality and survivability of offspring and alleviated the negative effect of maternal heat stress on growth performance of offspring during the starter period. In addition, maternal dietary supplementation with the organic Zn improved hatchability and progeny meat quality.

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