Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Poultry Science (PhD)

Degree Level



Poultry Science


Craig Coon

Committee Member

H.L. Goodwin, Jr.

Second Committee Member

Susan Watkins

Third Committee Member

Justina Caldas

Fourth Committee Member

Charles Maxwell


Broiler Breeders, Broilerization, Chick Quality, Dietary Oils, Hen Performance, Poultry Nutrition


Over the last 60 plus years, broiler breeders have been under an incredible amount of genetic pressure. This genetic pressure comes from the continually increasing consumer demand for poultry products. The objective of this dissertation is to understand the effects of different nutritional and management practices on broiler breeder’s performance. The first series of experiments investigate the impact of broilerization on hen and early progeny performance. Broilerization is a process only used by genetic companies. The results from these experiments showed the adverse effects of broilerization on chick quality and hen performance. Follow up trials were performed to determine the benefits of feeding different dietary oil sources to broilerized hens; additionally, their effects on chick quality and hen performance over a 30-week production period. Broilerized hens were reared as recommended for the industry, and at 5 % production, they were fed diets containing either poultry fat, corn oil, or canola oil as a dietary fat source. Different traits were measured, and the positive effects of corn and canola oil were shown as far as improvement of chick quality and eggs per hen housed. These dietary oil sources were also beneficial for parent stock hens (not broilerized), improving overall hen performance and chick quality at different hen ages. The second series of experiments take a more in-depth look into the effects of varying rearing methods on the performance of parent stock hens. Results from this study showed the efficiency of rearing hens on every day versus a skip a day feeding method. Fatty acids and carbohydrate metabolism play an essential role in the improvement of chick quality. The last few experiments of this dissertation show the effects of hen age on hen performance and chick quality. Results from the two previous studies provide an insight into the possible reason why younger hens and older hens have more challenges producing high-quality chicks. Overall, results from these studies allow for a deeper understanding of the effect of different nutritional and management strategies on the performance of the current broiler breeder.