Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Factors Affecting Hatchability of Poultry Eggs

There are six factors affecting the hatchability of poultry eggs in incubation and they include the following;

  1. Fertility
  2. Genetic
  3. Nutrition
  4. Diseases
  5. Egg selection
  6. Management practices

1. Fertility

Percentage fertility is the percentage of eggs that is fertile and should be about 90-95% for a good flock.

Fertility is affected by the following;

Mating ratio: mating ratio of 10:1 is recommended. If the ratio is higher the fertility of the egg will be lower.

Age of breeders: Fertility declines with age

Length of the period between mating: A mated hen stores sperm and uses it for up to 2 weeks.

Generally, it requires 2 weeks after mating the flock before satisfactory fertility is achieved. The removal of the male from the flock is followed by a decline in fertility within 2 weeks and few if any fertile eggs will be produced after 3 weeks.

2. Genetic Factors

Hatchability is an inherited trait so strains (breeds) that possess high hatchability should be selected.

In-breeding without selection for hatchability has been shown to lower hatchability in poultry.

Crossbreeding usually results in increased hatchability.

Lethal or semi-Lethal genes may affect fertility, hatchability, and livability (life).

Rate of egg production: Eggs laid by hens producing at a high rate are more fertile than eggs laid by low producers.

Age: Hatchability is maximum halfway into the second laying year for females.

While for males is one year after sexual maturity.

3. Nutrition

The egg must contain the entire nutrients needed by the embryo for development. Breeder hen must be fed ration which supplies adequate quantities with the nutrients needed for the embryo to develop.

4. Disease

Eggs for hatching should be collected from healthy flocks. Disease-causing organisms like

Salmonella and Mycoplasma are transmitted from infected hens chiefly through the egg. Breeding stocks should be tested regularly to prevent infection.

Read Also: 4 Ways to add Value to your Poultry Eggs for more Profit

5. Egg selection

Certain physical characteristics of eggs are related to hatchability among these are size, weight (50-60g), shape, shell quality, and internal quality.

6. Management practices

Eggs for hatching should be collected immediately and stored below 20oC to arrest embryonic development. Fertile eggs deteriorate in quality after 4 days.

Fertile eggs should be stored at a temperature of around 10oC and humidity of 80%. Eggs should be stored with the broad end upward. Proper hygiene should be maintained in the hatchery.

Eggs should be collected at least 3 times daily. Soiled eggs should be rejected or fumigated with a formalin solution.

In conclusion, the avian egg, therefore, can be divided into three main parts shell and shell membranes, albumen and chalazae, and the yolk.

The egg can be incubated either naturally or artificially. Hatchability, as well as fertility, is affected by genetic factors but again it is management that goes above genetics in its effect.

Factors affecting egg size include; genetic factors, age of the birds, the protein level of the diet, environmental factors, size of the birds, ovum size, and intensity of laying.

The essential requirements of artificial incubation are adequate ventilation, relative humidity of 60-65%, a temperature of 37.5˚C, and turning at least three times daily.

The incubator operation is divided into the setting and the hatching phase.

Hatchability refers to the percentage of eggs that were hatched; it should be about 80-90% from a good flock.

Factors affecting hatchability are fertility, genetics, nutrition, diseases, egg selection, and management practices.

Read Also: Nutritional Diseases of Poultry: Symptoms, Control, and Treatments


Benadine Nonye is an agricultural consultant and a writer with over 12 years of professional experience in the agriculture industry. - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education - PhD Student in Agricultural Economics and Environmental Policy... Visit My Websites On: 1. Agric4Profits.com - Your Comprehensive Practical Agricultural Knowledge and Farmer’s Guide Website! 2. WealthinWastes.com - For Effective Environmental Management through Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices! Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4Profits TV and WealthInWastes TV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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