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Coating hatching eggs allows longer storage times

An experiment was carried out at the University of Athens in Georgia, USA to examine the effects of treating broiler breeder hatching eggs with removable coatings at four storage times on hatchability performance.

After treating hatching eggs with various coatings, several formulations exhibited better hatchability than non-coated controls when eggs were stored for 1 or 21 d. The study was designed to determine the interaction of 3 formulas with four storage times that approximate conditions seen in the poultry industry.

The four egg coating groups were formulas 1 and 2, formula 2 sanitised, and untreated controls and the 4 storage times (1 d, 1 wk, 2 wk, and 3 wk) analysed. Eggs were collected from a commercial broiler breeder farm beginning at 38 wk age. The flock had exceptional fertility and hatchability for several weeks. Eggs were stored overnight and coated the next morning.

Coatings were applied by heating formulas to 35°C and spray-coating eggs in a modified commercial hatching egg sanitising machine. Coating removal involved passing eggs through the egg sanitiser with heated water spray (46 to 49°C). After drying, eggs were placed in incubation.

Evaluation of hatchability performance was measured by percentages for hatchability of fertiles (HOF %). The 1 d and 1 wk storage times had the best HOF percentage (93%) and were not significantly different. The 2 wk storage time values for HOF dropped significantly to 88% with another significant drop observed for 3 wk storage time, 72% HOF. Coating treatments also exhibited significant differences in HOF. The untreated control group had the lowest HOF, 83% and was significantly different from Formula 2 sanitised at 88%. Formulas 1 and 2 had intermediate (87%) and non-significant values between Control and Formula 2 sanitised.

Previous experimentation with egg coating and storage time revealed that differences in hatchability performance were greater in moderately performing flocks than in high performance flocks. Coating formulas appear to offer beneficial effects in maintaining hatchability to parts of the broiler industry where storage time is an issue.

Source: Proceedings of the 2011 International Poultry Scientific Forum in Atlanta, GA, USA

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    This investigation may offer better scope in terms of higher HTFS if egg storage period is for longer periods, but limited scope exists for freshly hatched and one week old eggs. Nevertheless, advantages do exist in hot tropical climates and when surplus hatching eggs are available due to with-holding from economic marketing constraints and disease concerns. Financial aspects between treated and untreated eggs must also be considered .

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