Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Poultry Science (PhD)

Degree Level



Poultry Science


Samuel J. Rochell

Committee Member

F. Dustan Clark

Second Committee Member

Edward E. Gbur

Third Committee Member

Bob Wideman


broiler, early feeding, egg storage, growth rate, hatchability, hatch window, nutrient access


Advancements in poultry research continue to add knowledge and understanding to an already technical industry. Such information has led to new developments in early feeding strategies which provide nutrients to broiler chicks while in the egg or during transport. This wealth of knowledge in poultry research extends beyond chickens and is utilized for other species, such as quail and pheasants, including how fertile eggs are stored and incubated. However, methods of early feeding broilers have not been investigated in industry relevant approaches to understand its effects, including how timing of feed access interacts with the hatch window. As well, quail and pheasant producers currently utilize modified chicken protocols for storing eggs and are in need of species specific data. Therefore, 2 major projects comprised of 5 experiments were designed to investigate egg storage conditions, hatch characteristics, and feeding methods of commercially produced poultry.

In the first series of experiments, fertile eggs from Japanese (Coturnix) Quail, Coturnix coturnix japonica and Ring-necked (Common) Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus, were subjected to a range of egg storage temperatures (10.0, 12.8, 15.6, 18.3, and 21.1°C or 50, 55, 60, 65, and 70°F) to observe the effects on hatching and production traits. It was confirmed that the temperature of egg storage plays a significant role in the hatch of fertile, which was highest at 10.0 and 12.8°C for the pheasants and was similar for quail.

The second series of experiments investigated the effects of hatch window and nutrient access in the hatcher on performance and processing yield of broilers. This was accomplished by utilizing experimental hatching baskets: control hatching baskets with no nutrients provided or baskets equipped to provide access to feed and water. Chicks were also identified according to their time of hatch within a 24 h hatch window period. These findings indicated that chicks from different hatch window periods are physiologically unique. Furthermore, nutrient access in the hatcher may reduce weight loss in the hatcher, especially for early hatching chicks, and increase body weight during the first 7 to 28 d of growth, but has no influence on subsequent performance or processing yields.