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 Director of the Aviagen Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia (EMEAA) School responsible for training in the poultry industry. He is a former President 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 Nick French Award.



Publication date:

30 May 2023

Length of book:

400 pages

ISBN-13: 9781801462525

Hardback - £150.00
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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, as well as the use of feed extracts and probiotics to improve chick growth and boost immune function.

The book also reviews the effects of incubation on chick health and development, including factors such as temperature, light exposure and humidity.

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.

Edited by one of the most notable names in the field, Embryo development and hatchery practice in poultry production will be a standard reference for poultry scientists, breeders, government and private sector agencies supporting sustainable poultry production.

Key features

  • Provides a comprehensive review of the key stages in embryo development, as well as the factors which affect successful development (e.g. temperature and humidity)
  • Reviews the recent advances in incubator technologies and its effect on chick health and development
  • Addresses the key issues in poultry hatchery environments, focussing on issues related to feed/water deprivation and transportation of chicks to farms

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 of breeder poultry for improved hatchability: David Cavero, H&N International GmbH, Germany;
  • 2. Managing breeder poultry flocks to optimise hatchability and chick health: Rick van Emous, Wageningen University, The Netherlands;
  • 3. Advances in understanding the development of defences against pathogens in the chicken egg: Maureen Bain, University of Glasgow, UK;
  • 4. Assessing poultry semen quality: Murray Bakst, formerly USDA-ARS, USA;
  • 5. Key stages in embryo development in poultry: Marleen Boerjan, formerly Pas Reform Hatchery Technology, The Netherlands;
  • 6. Chicken egg storage and transport: Dinah Nicholson, Aviagen, UK;
  • 7. In ovo sexing in poultry chicks: Anke Förster, Agri Advanced Technologies GmbH, Germany; and Thomas Bartels, Friedrich-Löffler-Institute, Germany;
  • 8. In ovo vaccination of chicken eggs: Chris Williams, Zoetis, USA;

Part 2 Incubation

  • 9. Advances in incubator technology for poultry eggs: Ron Meijerhof, Poultry Performance Plus, The Netherlands;
  • 10. Understanding the effects of incubator temperature on embryo and post-hatch chick development: Michael Hulet, formerly Penn State University, USA;
  • 11. Understanding the effects of light on embryo and post-hatch chick development: Israel Rozenboim, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel;
  • 12. Understanding the effects of humidity/air composition on embryo and post-hatch chick development: 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: Henry van den Brand, Wageningen University, The Netherlands;
  • 16. Key issues in chick hatchery management: Roos Molenaar, Wageningen University, The Netherlands;
  • 17. Key issues in transportation of chicks to farms for rearing as pullets: Malcolm Mitchell, SRUC, UK;