doi: 10.15389/agrobiology.2016.4.436eng

UDC 636.5:636.082.2:591.3



Yu.I. Zabudskii

Russian State Agrarian Correspondence University, 1, ul. Fuchika, Balashikha, Moscow Province, 143900 Russia,

Received February 1, 2016


For the first time recent findings on reproductive function in poultry as influenced by breeder age are summarizes and discusses in Russian. The focus is on changes in incubation eggs, metabolism, growth and development of the chicken at pre- and postnatal ontogenesis. In 511 breeder flocks from the Netherlands in 2004-2006 (7.5 million eggs, over 24,000 batches) the breeder age has been proved to be dominant for hatchability compared with the environment conditions and poultry genotype (H. Yassin et al., 2008). When aging, the breeders lay eggs bigger in size with an increased yolk to albumen percentage. So, this ratio grew from 0.5 to 0.6 in 26 to 31 week old ducks (T.J. Applegate et al., 1998), from 0.4 to 0.5 in 30 to 60 week old Hybrid and Nicholas turkey lines (J.A. Hamidu et al., 2011), and from 0.4 to 0.5 in 26 to 35 week old breeder hens (Arbor Acres) (E.D. Peebles et al., 2000). Shell quality becomes significantly worse, including loss in thickness and strength (P.P. Tsarenko et al., 2012). The egg weight loss in the course of incubation is inversely proportional to the shell thickness. These alterations are a consequence of disorders of calcium metabolism in the body of aging layers. For example, blood calcium levels in Lohmann White chickens reduced from 4.82 mmol/l in 18 week old hens to 2.73 mmol/l at the end of laying period (80 weeks) (T.I. Sereda et al., 2011). For young breeders the lipoprotein assimilation in embryos is lower (M.A. Latour et al., 1998). For older breeders the metabolic heat produced by embryo increases, and an increased egg shell permeability can lead to bacterial contamination (A. Rodríguez-Navarro et al., 2013). There is a parabolic change in main indicators of hen reproductive function when aging. For meat hens of 26-30-, 34-38- and 58-62 weeks of age the fertility and hatchability were 92.7, 96.7, 80.3 % and 84.1, 87.9, 83.4 %, respectively (J.A. Hamidu et al., 2007; H. Bergoug et al., 2013), and an average fecundity was 17.6, 18.1 and 5.5 chicks (А.К. Оsmanyan, 2014). The incubation time for the eggs laid in the second half of laying period is shorter compared to that in the first half (A.M. Ulmer-Franco et al., 2010). In the chickens hatched from the eggs laid at the end of laying period a probability of microbial infection increases due to underdeveloped navel (H. Yassin et al., 2009). For older breeders the chickens’ weight was higher while the viability decreased. So, for 28- and 65-week hens the embryo mortality reached 2.7 and 8.9 %, and the weight at hatchling was 36.5 and 45.3 g, respectively (B. Yilmaz-Dikmen et al., 2009). For meat breeders of 25-, 38-44- and 60 weeks of age the mortality among chickens for the first week after hatching reached 1.82, 1.02 and 1.20 %, respectively (H. Yassin et al., 2009). Due to the differences in embryo growth and development for young and old breeders, the eggs should be pre-sorted prior to incubation with regard to egg weight and breeders’ age to provide uniform adaptiveness in the progeny. Proper temperature and humidity during incubation can be helpful to correct water evaporation and metabolic heat in the eggs originated from breeders of different age.

Keywords: poultry, breeder flock age, eggs, incubation, embryo metabolism, incubation mode, quality of chicks.


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