Type: Book

Embryo development and hatchery practice in poultry production


Dr Nick French is former Head of Technical Transfer at Aviagen, one of the world’s foremost poultry breeding companies. Over a career of nearly 40 years, Nick has been an incubation specialist for both Aviagen Chicken and Aviagen Turkeys before becoming Technical Director at Aviagen Turkeys and Global Head of Technical Transfer in Aviagen Chicken. He is a former Chairman of the Incubation and Fertility Research Group (IFRG), one of the Working Groups of the World’s Poultry Science Association (WPSA), and has published widely in the area of poultry embryo development and hatchery science. His distinguished contribution to both research and practice has been recognised in the Aviagen Nick French Award given to the best paper at the annual IFRG meeting.



Publication date:

30 May 2023

Length of book:

504 pages

ISBN-13: 9781801462525

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“The one thing that really struck me about this book was the calibre of the editorial team and the international range and expertise of the contributing editors and authors. With over 550 pages this book is well worth its place on the bookshelf of anyone who is interested in poultry breeding and genomics.” (International Hatchery Practice)

“The editor of the book is Nick French, an internationally highly recognised scientist and practitioner in the field of poultry breeding, which in turn guarantees a close link between research and practice. Embryo development and hatchery practice in poultry production will fill a gap in this field and provide practitioners, researchers and students with an up-to-date reference work.” (Book Review Published in European Poultry Science – Dr Barbara Tzschentke, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany)

It is widely recognised that developments in the chick embryo have a profound effect on hatchability and the subsequent health and productive capacity of poultry. With a stronger focus on welfare, prevention of disease and more sustainable poultry production, understanding these early stages has never been more crucial.

Embryo development and hatchery practice in poultry production addresses the key stages and factors in embryo development in poultry to optimise hatchability and chick health. The book reviews the role of parental and environmental factors on embryo development and skeletal growth.

The book also reviews the effects of incubation on chick health and development, including factors such as temperature, light exposure and humidity, as well as best practice in managing the hatching stage.

Through focussed and authoritative discussions, the book details best practices for managing a hatchery environment to ensure that chick welfare, health and productive capacity are optimized.

What others are saying...

“In poultry production, embryonic development is a critical period in a bird’s life cycle as it can set a decisive course for later animal performance levels. Optimal incubation and hatching conditions which have been adapted to the natural needs of embryos, whilst also being compatible with economic requirements, are mandatory. This new book will present the state of the art on this topic and features contributions from leading international experts in industry practice, applied and basic research. It will fill a gap in this field and provide practitioners, researchers and students with an up-to-date reference work.” (Dr Barbara Tzschentke, Chair WG Physiology, European Branches WPSA, Institute for Agricultural and Urban Ecological Projects (IASP) at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany)

“This collection of the latest research, with contributions from established experts in the field, promises to provide a wealthy contribution of topical and current knowledge to this important section of the global poultry industry.” (Dr Nicola Tyler, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)

Table of contents

Part 1 Parental influences and embryo development

  • 1. Genetic selection to improve reproductive traits in chickens: David Cavero and Maurice Raccoursier, H&N International, Germany;
  • 2. Managing breeder poultry flocks to optimise hatchability and chick health: R. A. van Emous, Wageningen Livestock Research, The Netherlands;
  • 3. Advances in understanding the development of defences against pathogens in the chicken egg: Maureen M. Bain, University of Glasgow, UK;
  • 4. Assessing poultry semen quality: Murray R. Bakst, formerly USDA-ARS, USA;
  • 5. Key stages of embryo development in poultry: Marleen Boerjan, formerly R&D Royal PasReform, The Netherlands;
  • 6. Chicken egg storage and transport: Dinah Nicholson, Aviagen Ltd, UK;
  • 7. In ovo sexing in poultry chicks: Anke Förster, Agri Advanced Technologies GmbH, Germany; and Thomas Bartels, Institute of Animal Welfare and Animal Husbandry, Germany;
  • 8. In ovo vaccination of chicken eggs: Christopher J. Williams, Consultant, USA;

Part 2 Incubation

  • 9. Incubator design for poultry eggs: principles and techniques: Ron Meijerhof, Poultry Performance Plus, The Netherlands;
  • 10. Understanding the effects of incubator temperature on embryo and post-hatch chick development: R. Michael Hulet, Penn State University, USA; and Michael J. Wineland, North Carolina State University, USA;
  • 11. Understanding the effects of light on embryo and post-hatch chick development: Israel Rozenboim, Liron Dishon, Natalie Avital-Cohen and Joanna Bartman, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel; and Ronen Shviki, BeyondEdge Inc, USA;
  • 12. Understanding the effects of humidity/air composition on embryo and post-hatch chick development: E. David Peebles, Mississippi State University, USA;
  • 13. The role of egg turning in embryo development: Okan Elibol, Ankara University, Turkey;
  • 14. Poultry embryo development and skeletal growth: Edgar Orlando Oviedo-Rondón, North Carolina State University, USA;

Part 3 Managing the hatching stage

  • 15. Managing the poultry hatcher environment: Roos Molenaar and Henry van den Brand, Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands;
  • 16. Alternative hatching systems for broilers: Henry van den Brand, Bas Kemp and Roos Molenaar, Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands;
  • 17. Key issues in transportation of broiler and layer chicks: M. A. Mitchell, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), UK;