Effect of breeder age on eggshell thickness, surface temperature, hatchability and chick weigh
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Two experiments were carried out to study the effect of breeder age on incubation parameters (hatchability, eggshell thickness, egg surface temperature and chick weight). In Exp. 1, fertile eggs (30- and 60-wk-old breeders) were incubated at three different temperatures (36.8, 37.8 and 38.8 ºC). Eggshell surface temperature was measured by attaching a thermocouple to the shell and data were collected in a datalogger every ten minutes. This study was conducted according to a 3 x 2 factorial design (three temperatures and two breeder ages). Data revealed that eggshell surface temperature changed according to incubation temperature, with the main increase occurring between 10 and 13 days of incubation, and that the maximum increase in eggshell surface temperature was not higher than +0.6 ºC, irrespective of incubator temperature. The incubator temperature affected total incubation period and hatchability (%) at 38.8 ºC, independent of breeder age. Heavier eggs resulted in heavier chicks, irrespective of incubator temperature. In Exp 2, the eggs (30- and 60-wk-old breeders) were incubated at 37.8 ºC and eggs characteristics (weight, specific gravity, total hatchability and chicks weight) were evaluated according to a randomized experimental design. The data showed that breeder age affected eggshell thickness and chick weight (heavier eggs resulted in heavier chicks), but not specific gravity, eggshell surface temperature or hatchability. The findings of this study revealed that hatchability can be influenced by incubation temperature, but not by the breeder age. Breeder age can affect eggshell thickness, egg weight and eggshell surface temperature, but not specific gravity.