Egg storage duration and breeder age are probably interacting to influence egg quality, hatchability, and hatchling quality. To evaluate this interaction, the impact of breeder age (31, 42, 66 weeks) and storage duration (2, 5, 12, 19 days) was investigated on broiler breeder eggs (Arbor Acres). Thick albumen diameter and pH increased, and yolk dry matter decreased between 2 and 19 days of storage. With the increase of breeder age from 31 to 66 weeks, albumen height, percentage and dry matter and shell percentage decreased and the egg weight and yolk percentage, dry matter and diameter increased. Prolonged egg storage increased the yolk pH in all breeder ages, but earlier and steeper in the oldest breeders. Prolonged egg storage resulted in a lower hatchability of set and fertile eggs due to a higher percentage of embryonic mortality. Early mortality increased earlier and steeper with prolonged egg storage in the oldest compared to younger breeders. Between 5 and 19 days of storage, yolk free body mass, liver and proventriculus + gizzard percentages decreased, as well as hatchling length and yolk efficiency (yolk absorption per initial yolk weight). The latter effects were most pronounced in the younger than in the older breeders. Therefore, eggs are preferably stored shorter than 7 d, but if long storage (≥12 days) cannot be avoided, we recommend to store eggs of older breeders when egg quality and hatchability are most important. In case hatchling quality is most important, it would be better to store eggs of younger breeders (31 weeks) for a prolonged period.
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