Optimizing Broiler Chickens Performance: Investigating the Effects of In-Ovo Mineral Feeding on Post-Hatch Growth and Development
Keywords:Digestibility, Growth performance, In-ovo minerals feeding, Mineral absorption/retention, Welfare issues
In-ovo mineral feeding is a technique used in poultry farming, where essential minerals are injected directly into the fertilized eggs of birds during the incubation process. This method is employed to provide developing embryos with vital minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, and trace elements like zinc and selenium, to support their growth and development. The injected minerals are absorbed by the developing chick through the egg's amniotic fluid, helping to ensure that the chicks have a better mineral status when they hatch, potentially leading to improved health and performance. This technique is typically performed under controlled and sanitary conditions to enhance the overall well-being of the poultry flock. Top of Form
The present study aimed to evaluate the impact of in-ovo mineral feeding on the growth performance, nutrient absorption, and welfare indicators of broiler chickens. A total of 700 chicks, hatched from an in-ovo feeding trial, were utilized and divided into two treatment (n=600) and control (n=100) groups. The treatment group was further divided into six sub-groups based on macro (magnesium; Mg, calcium; Ca, and phosphorous; P) and micro (Zinc; Zn, manganese; Mn, and copper; Cu) minerals. In-ovo Mg feeding significantly increased feed intake (3294 g/b, P<0.05), while in-ovo Zn feeding enhanced body weight gain (2111.25 g/b, P<0.05), FCR (1.53, P<0.05), and European broiler index (371.86, P<0.05). In-ovo mineral feeding also improved nutrient absorption and digestibility, with the highest values recorded in Zn-treated birds for dry matter digestibility (77.70±0.65%, P<0.05) and protein digestibility (83.13±0.65%, P<0.05). Welfare indicators, such as pododermatitis score (98% in no lesion category, P<0.05) and hock burn/swollen joints score (96% in good category, P<0.05), showed better results in the Ca and Zn-treated groups, respectively. These findings suggest that in-ovo mineral feeding, particularly Zn, can optimize broiler chicken performance, nutrient absorption, and welfare, thus providing a potential strategy to enhance poultry production efficiency.
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