Turkish Journal of Veterinary & Animal Sciences




The current study was performed to investigate the effects of hatching time and feed access time on chick quality, organ development, blood parameters, and intestinal morphology in broilers. A total of 1935 hatching eggs were incubated at 37.8 °C with 55 to 60% RH conditions. Chicks were classified according to the hatching time (HT) as follows: chicks hatched before 482 h (early HT), between 482-496 h (medium HT) and 496-510 h (late HT). The hatched chicks were randomly divided into two groups to create two feed access (FA) time: early FA and late FA. Chicks with early FA started to consume feed at the end of each HT, whereas chicks with late FA started to feed at the end of the hatching period (at 510 h). Higher chick weight was observed in chicks in early HT and medium HT groups (P = 0.002). The chicks with late FA were heavier and taller than other chicks with FA. A higher Tona score (86.2) was observed for the chicks in medium HT (P = 0.001). Chicks in late HT group had a higher residual yolk weight, a lower yolk absorption, and a lower yolk free body mass. The chicks with late FA had a lower residual yolk weight, higher yolk absorption and, yolk free body mass (P < 0.01). Development of gizzard, heart, small intestine, and bursa of Fabricius were affected by both hatching time and feed access time. The lowest concentration of glucose was observed in chicks obtained from early HT with late FA (P = 0.002). Villus morphometric parameters in duodenum, jejunum, and ileum were affected by HT and FA time (P < 0.05). The current findings showed that the HT of chicks with regard to FA time markedly affected the development and growth pattern of chicks.


Chick quality, feed access, glucose, hatching time, villus morphometry

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