Quality Assessment of Day-Old Chickens on the Broiler Farms of Hong Kong

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number1520
Journal / PublicationAnimals
Issue number12
Online published10 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022



The present study aimed to investigate the quality of newly hatched broiler chicks delivered to Hong Kong (imported or local), and to develop tailored recommendations to improve their management. During 2019–2021, 70 batches (34 imported from mainland China and 36 local) of one/three day old chicks on 11 broiler farms were studied. From each batch, 23 or 24 chicks (1647 in total) were assessed for abnormalities in appearance, navel, crop filling, dehydration, body weight, and length uniformity. Chicks were sacrificed, and yolk sac residues in three day old chicks were measured. Maternally derived antibody levels against Newcastle disease virus (NDV), infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV), and avian reovirus (ARV) were measured in all chicks using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The proportion of abnormal navel in most batches is high (median: 59%), ranging between 0 and 100%. The average length of chicks within batches ranges between 16.3 and 20.7 cm, and their average weights are 31–38.5 g upon delivery to the farms. On average, imported batches have a higher body weight and length than their local counterparts. The average yolk-free weight varies between 45 and 55 g, which is significantly lower in local batches (33–43 g). The mean antibody titers against NDV and ARV are higher in imported batches than in the local ones. In contrast, the mean antibody titer against IBDV is significantly lower in the imported batches. Concerning the overall lower quality of local chicks compared to the imported batches, establishing a well-managed broiler breeder farm and a hatchery in Hong Kong is highly recommended to enhance the health and productivity of the local broiler chicken industry.

Research Area(s)

  • day-old chick, broiler, visual assessment, maternally derived antibody, biosecurity

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