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Clinical evaluations of parent stocks are a critical and complex task for poultry veterinarians. This is due to the dynamic interactions occurring between essential management practices, environmental conditions, nutrition, biosecurity and the overall flock health.
They are often carried out when significant increases in daily mortality and/or production drops persist. Other instances include key performance indicators not being met, like body weight or uniformity standards based on the age and strain of the flock.
Currently, the broiler industry is facing pressure to ensure the health and welfare of flocks. Additionally, use of antibiotics in production must be minimized for safe human consumption.
The following describes a useful and proactive tool to prevent losses associated with both infectious and non-infectious diseases.
It’s well known that there is a significant correlation between mortality rate and egg production. As shown in graph 1, as mortality increases, egg production decreases. Data obtained from a 65 week-old Ross 708 parent stock showed that flocks with 170 hatching eggs (HE) / housed hen (HH) or more, had less than 10% mortality during production. In contrast, flocks with 145 HE/HH or less had a mortality of 20% or more during the same period.
It’s logical that higher mortality leads to loss of hen and decrease of the HE/HH ratio. The following demonstrates the possible economic impact of hen mortality on a company with 500,000 broilers in production:
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