Journal of applied poultry research vol:8 issue:2 pages:139-145
In the broiler it is recognized that chick viability is related to breeder flock age. Young flocks produce eggs with a lower hatchability and chick survival than flocks beyond peak production. Field observations indicate that problems occur when chicks originating from younger flocks are mixed with chicks from older flocks and reared together, perhaps because of a difference in thermoregulation. In this experiment, heat production, rectal temperature after heat or cold stress, and T-3 of chicks originating from two different aged parent stocks were determined. Chickens originating from older breeder flocks showed a remarkably better body weight and better thermoregulation after cold treatment than chickens originating from young breeder flocks. In contrast, chicks from young breeder flocks seem to be more resistant to heat at an older age. This implies that age of breeder flock alone can cause a significant difference in the thermoregulatory ability of broiler chickens. Thus breeder flock age should be considered as an additional factor in thermoregulatory experiments. It also may have practical husbandry implications.