Investigating the importance of Early Feeding (posthatch) and Proactive Incubation Profiling on Liveability and Early Performance of Turkey Poults.
This thesis is an investigation of factors affecting prehatch and posthatch liveability, performance, and behaviour of turkey embryos and poults. The first part of this project aimed at monitoring egg size throughout a production cycle and compare eggs’ physical and chemical characteristics between early-lay, mid-lay and late-lay periods. The weight increase occurs in few distinct stages with the most significant changes observed during the first 7 weeks. This change is primarily due to a significant increase in yolk and albumen weight. As for chemical composition, protein and carbohydrate content of the eggs did not show any significant differences among weeks. However, energy, fat, and ash content increased significantly. The second part of this research focused on investigating potential differences between embryos from early and mid-lay eggs from two strains. There is a positive correlation between egg weight, embryo weight and amnion volume. Older flocks had a higher percentage of amnion and bigger embryos compared to younger flocks. The embryonic growth trajectory was different between Hybrid and BUTA strains. The third part of this thesis aimed at comparing the fertility and hatchability of early-lay and mid-lay eggs, and investigating the effect of egg size on poults body weight gain. Finally, the effect of Novus Oasis® Hatchling Supplement on posthatch liveability of poults was assessed. Eggs from mid-lay flocks had the lowest embryonic mortality, highest yield, and best liveability results. Poults from small and early-lay eggs had the best weight gain at 7 days. Poults with early access to hatchling supplement had the highest body weight gain with increased feeding behaviour. In conclusion, the key for successful early start, high liveability, and excellent performance is a balanced combination of pro-active incubation profiling and proper early feeding.