Egg incubation and broiler chicken leg weakness

The University of Sydney

  • Project code: PRJ-006193

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Saturday, October 1, 2011

  • Project completion date: Friday, April 5, 2013

  • National Priority: CME-Priority 4-Ensuring food safety of Australian chicken meat


Poultry CRC project 09-24 revealed repeatably significant effects of differing incubation profiles on subsequent bone and leg strength characteristics of Cobb pure line broilers. The variations in incubation conditions were contained within what would be regarded as acceptable limits for good hatchability. A follow up small scale study placing climatic data loggers in incubators in two commercial hatcheries showed naturally occurring variations within the bounds of those studied in the project. Broiler chickens spend about 30% of their existence in ovo and imperfections in their experience during this phase may have broiler-life long effects.
This project is constructed to further the understanding of incubation condition variances on embryo and chicken skeletal development and to identify practical approaches to improving commercial broiler leg strength.


Chicken Meat

Research Organisation

The University of Sydney

Objective Summary

1. To improve the understanding of the effects of incubation conditions on skeletal development of the broiler chicken embryo, hatchling and growing young bird.
2. To describe incubation conditions which may deleteriously affect skeletal development and subsequent leg weakness in broiler chickens and to identify incubation conditions to improve broiler skeletal integrity and leg strength.
3. To evaluate existing variations in field incubation conditions and to determine if differences in broiler leg strength in the field are attributable to naturally varying incubation conditions.