Avian and poultry biology reviews vol:16 issue:2 pages:109-119
The weight and quality of the broiler chicks that emerges from the egg depend on several factors, which may include the broiler breeder age, egg storage conditions before incubation, and the incubation conditions. Several studies have determined the effect of some of these influencing factors on broiler chick hatching weight with little attention to post-hatch broiler performance. Chick physical quality had received little attention but recently, it has become apparent that the quality of broiler chicks may be linked to the history of the hatching eggs as well as the potential post-hatch performance of the broiler to slaughter age. It has therefore become important to develop universally accepted methods for measuring chick quality. Previous methods for evaluating chick quality relied heavily on hatching weight. Recently, methods for determining and quantifying chick quality based on physical appearance were reported. Physical parameters for determining chick quality were defined and scored according to the level of anomaly in the parameters. Also, the potential influence of these parameters on post-hatch performance was reported. This paper reviews the different methods available for measuring chick quality The different methods are discussed in the context of the parameters for determining chick quality and the factors that may affect it.These include pre-incubation and incubation factors such as age of breeders, egg storage, temperature, relative humidity, and turning requirements. All these factors have implications on chick embryo physiology and development and consequently on the quality of the hatched chick. The potential application of chick quality measurement for predicting performance to slaughter is also discussed.