Broilers that hatch in the barn show fewer deaths and foot lesions, according to new research from Wageningen Livestock Research in the Netherlands.
“This hatching method may also have long-term benefits,” said Ingrid de Jong, project leader on behalf of Wageningen Livestock Research, who compared traditional hatching systems with hatching in the barn for this study.
Chick health appears to be contingent on the animals’ early circumstances. Alternative systems have been developed recently in which broilers hatch in the barn, where they have water and food at their immediate disposal and no longer need to be transported after hatching, Wageningen said in an announcement.
The current research focuses on the influence the events surrounding the chicks’ hatching has on their physiological and behavioral development over the birds’ lifetime to slaughtering age. The effects on technical results, such as growth and feed conversion, were included in the research.