Early Incubation Temperature, Embryonic Development, Welfare and Final Meat Quality in Broiler Chickens

Project: Research

Project Details


Selective breeding for a higher yield of breast meat has led to dramatic changes in the morphology of modern broilers compared to traditional types of chicken. Due to increased relative size of M. Pectoralis in relation to leg muscles, impaired gait is a common issue in broiler flocks, especially at the end of production. With animal welfare being increasingly demanded by the consumer and also being an ethical obligation when keeping animals, there is sufficient need to address this issue.
Studies suggest that by increasing the early incubation temperature from embryonic day 4 to 7 it is possible to affect the subsequent muscle and bone development, growth rate and welfare. It is possible to achieve a change in the number of muscle fibers in certain muscles, influencing the broilers’ ability to walk. In addition, manipulation with in ovo temperature may influence the genotypic and/or phenotypic sex of the birds with possible effects on the production efficiency as well as meat quality traits.

The objective of the PhD project is to identify and understand the effect of early incubation temperature of broiler chickens on embryonic development specifically muscle and bone development, in order to improve the animal welfare as well as production and meat quality traits.

In two experiments, the influence of different incubation temperatures during early embryogenesis on muscle development, specifically of breast and leg muscles, sex ratio, growth performance, bone development, meat quality and welfare will be examined.
Effective start/end date01/06/2021 → 31/05/2024


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