Chick Transportation Time Found to Impact Broiler Performance

EU - Researchers have found that longer transport times as newly hatched chicks adversely affected their weight gain to 21 days of age but those transported longest had less foot pad dermatitis. The study also found effects of breeder age on broiler performance and mortality.
calendar icon 9 January 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

The effect of the duration of transportation of day-old chicks on their subsequent production performance and pododermatitis (foot pad dermatitis) up to slaughter age were investigated by researchers based in France, the UK and Belgium.

Their series of experiments, published in Poultry Science, studied the effect of transportation duration of day-old chicks on dehydration, mortality, production performance, and pododermatitis during the grow-out period.

In the paper, first-named author H. Bergoug of UEB-ANSES, Ploufragan-Plouzané Laboratory and co-authors explained that eggs from the same breeder flock (Ross PM3) were collected at 35, 45 and 56 weeks of age, for three successive identical experiments.

In each experiment, newly hatched chicks received one of three transportation duration treatments from the hatchery before placement in the on-site rearing facility: no transportation corresponding to direct placement in less than five minutes (T00), or four (T04) or 10 hours (T10) of transportation.

The chicks were housed in 35-square-metre pens (650 birds each) and reared until 35 days old.

Haematocrit and chick bodyweight were measured on sample chicks before and after transportation.

During the grow-out period, bird weight, feed uptake and feed conversion ratio were measured weekly until slaughter.

Transportation duration affected bodyweight; T00 groups were significantly heavier than T04 and T10 transported birds but this effect lasted only until day 21.

No clear effect on haematocrit, feed uptake, feed conversion ratio or mortality was observed for birds transported up to 10 hours.

The decrease in weight in T10 birds was associated with less severe pododermatitis.

Increasing age of the breeder flock was correlated with reduced egg fertility and hatchability, and also with higher quality and bodyweight of hatched chicks. Chicks from older breeders also exhibited reduced mortality during the grow-out period.


Bergoug H., M. Guinebretière, Q. Tong, N. Roulston, C.E.B. Romanini, V. Exadaktylos, D. Berckmans, P. Garain, T.G.M. Demmers, I.M. McGonnell, C. Bahr, C. Burel, N. Eterradossi and V. Michel. 2013. Effect of transportation duration of 1-day-old chicks on postplacement production performances and pododermatitis of broilers up to slaughter age. Poult. Sci. 92(12):3300-3309. doi: 10.3382/ps.2013-03118

Further Reading

You can view the full report (fee payable) by clicking here.
For more informration on pododermatitis, click here.

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