Poultry Studies 2018, Vol 15, Num, 2     (Pages: 016-022)

Effect of Egg Weight on post-Hatch Performance of White Leghorn Chicken Breed from Day-old to Laying Age

Kebede Senbeta Ewonetu 1 ,Asefa Kasaye 1

1 School of Animal and Range Sciences, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Haramaya University, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia - The objective of the present study was to determine the effect of egg weight on hatchability, body weight, body weight gain, feed intake, feed efficiency, mortality, hen day egg production and egg weight. Hatching eggs (576) from a White Leghorn breeder flock were obtained at the age of 36 weeks and purposively divided into 3 egg-weight categories, namely small, medium, and large sizes having weights 44.26±0.21g, 50.39±0.11g, and 55.39±0.23g, respectively. Each egg group randomly further divided into three replicates each contained of 64 eggs in a completely randomized design. Eggs were incubated and hatched chicks were individually counted and weighed to determine the hatchability. Chicks hatched from similar egg size were grouped according to their initial treatment and replication. The male and female chicks were intensively raised together for 8 weeks and then only female birds maintained in the experimental conditions for fifty weeks. Data were summarized using the General Linear Model of SAS and the means were separated using Fisher`s LSD test. This study showed that egg sizes had significantly influenced (p<0.0001) all parameters measured during the experimental periods. However, birds hatched from large sized eggs were suitable for better hatchling weight, survival, hen day egg production and egg weight whereas chickens hatched from small egg sizes were relatively better for hatchability, feed efficiency during growing stage and between 40-50 weeks. Chickens hatched from medium egg sizes were principally better for weight gain during brooder and grower stages with minimum feed efficiency. In conclusion; egg weight significantly effected the overall characteristics of chickens from day old to 50 weeks of age and the effect of egg weight only diminish for mortality after brooder stage. Keywords : Age, Chicken, Egg weight, Egg size, White leghorn