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Chatting with poultry experts

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Dr. Zehava Uni: Benefits of in-ovo feeding on chick development

The in-ovo feeding is a process in which nutrients are supplemented to the embryo. It has been demonstrated that this process affects intestinal health, performance, feed efficiency, etc. Therefore, during the World’s Poultry Congress in Paris, aviNews International interviewed Dr. Zehava Uni to talk about the Benefits of in-ovo feeding on chick development.  Dr. Zehava is a professor of Animal Science at the Faculty of Agriculture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research is about the functional development of the chicken digestive system and the influence of feed and specific nutrients on the gut epithelium’s integrity and functional capability. What are the reasons to implement in-ovo feeding in poultry? “The reason is that when we do in-ovo feeding, which means inserting nutrients to the chicken embryo to the allantoid fluid, the embryo by itself swallows the amniotic fluid three days before hatch. So by swilling the amniotic fluid, you start to feed the chick before the hatch. So, we have research for the last 15, almost 20 years, and everybody knows the transition period from embryo to independent chick has a lot of problems. By feeding the embryo before the hatch, we improve its energetic status, mostly the digestive system.” So when the chick hatch, it has a higher capacity to digest and absorb.  What are the advantages of in-ovo feeding? Dr. Zehava indicated that the advantages are related with: -Higher digestibility -More developed crypts and villi area for better absorption and digestion -Microbiota benefits What is the ideal day you choose to perform the in-ovo feeding? And what are the physiological reasons of choosing that day? The ideal day to [register] perform this process is incubation’s 17th or 18th day. One of the reasons is that during those days, the transfer occurs, and typically, the in-ovo vaccine happens too. So this is the perfect time when the embryo swallows the amniotic fluid. By that, it enters the gut and starts the develop. 
To watch the full interview with Dr. Zehava, click here.

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