Comparative effects of in ovo versus subcutaneous administration of the Marek's disease vaccine and pre-placement holding time on the processing yield of Ross 708 broilers1,2,3

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Abstract

Effects of the in ovo (i.o.) or subcutaneous (s.c.) method of administration (moa) of the Marek's disease (MD) vaccine and 4 or 18 h pre-placement holding time (pht) on the processing yield of male broilers through 49 d of age (doa) were investigated. Ross 708 broiler hatching eggs (3,900) were either i.o.-vaccinated at 18 d of incubation or chicks from eggs that were not i.o.-vaccinated were s.c.-vaccinated at hatch. The i.o. injections (50 μL) were delivered by a commercial multi-egg injector and s.c. injections (200 μL) were delivered by an automatic pneumatic s.c. injector. The pht was imposed on chicks after vaccination. Sixteen birds were initially assigned to each of 15 replicate floor pens belonging to each of the moa and pht combination groups and were grown out through 48 doa. At 48 doa, 6 birds were randomly selected from each replicate pen and were weighed and fasted for 16 h before being processed. At 49 doa, whole carcass, fat pad, breast muscle, and tenders muscles weights were recorded. Whole carcass weight as a percentage of live BW, and fat pad, breast muscle, and tenders muscles weights as percentages of both live and whole carcass weights were calculated. Upon subjection of the data to a 2 × 2 factorial analysis, only a main effect due to moa was observed for tenders muscles weight as a percentage of live and whole carcass weights. Tenders muscles weight as a percentage of both live (P ≤ 0.010) and whole carcass (P ≤ 0.004) weight was higher in birds hatched from eggs that received i.o. rather than s.c. vaccinations. In conclusion, in comparison to s.c. vaccination, i.o. vaccination increased relative tenders weight yield, whether or not broilers were held for 4 or 18 h prior to placement. Therefore, with regard to broiler processing yield, i.o. and s.c. vaccinations were safe for the administration of the MD vaccine, with i.o. vaccination displaying a slight potential advantage.

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