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Interaction between ascites susceptibility and CO2 during the second half of incubation of two broiler lines: the effect on post-hatch development and ascites mortality

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1. The aim of this study was to investigate if genetic predisposition to ascites interacts with changed incubation conditions, and how this might affect the post-hatch performance and ascites susceptibility.

2. An ascites sensitive (A) and resistant (E) broiler line were incubated under standard or high CO2 conditions (up to 4%) from embryonic d 10 onwards. After hatch, chicks were exposed to cold from the 15th day of the rearing period to increase the incidence of ascites.

3. The A line had a higher post-hatch body weight from week three, higher blood pCO2 from d 21, higher haematocrit at d 35 and d 42, and higher plasma corticosterone concentration from d 21 onwards, compared with the E line, regardless of incubation conditions, supporting the given selection criteria. Ascites mortality did not, however, differ between lines.

4. Incubation under high CO2 conditions during the second half of incubation increased the ascites mortality, decreased body weight from week 4 onwards, affected venous blood pCO2, decreased blood pO2 from d 31, increased haematocrit at d 35 and d 42, and lowered the thyroxine and triiodothyronine concentrations at most sampling days. These effects were observed in both lines. The results suggested a metabolic programming of CO2 incubated chickens which affected ascites susceptibility.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biosystems,Division Livestock-Nutrition-Quality, KU Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 303001 Leuven, Belgium 2: Biology Department,Animal Physiology & Neurobiology Section, KU Leuven, Naamsestraat 613000 Leuven, Belgium 3: Department of Biosystems,Division Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors, KU Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 303001 Leuven, Belgium

Publication date: 2012-04-01

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