Introduction: During pre-incubation storage and incubation 10 to 15% of the embryos die. During storage and incubation, changes occur in the embryo and egg components (albumen, yolk and eggshell). Some of the changes during storage seem to be necessary for optimal embryonic development but others might cause embryonic death. The aim of this project is to investigate the requirements of the embryo during storage, preheating and early incubation. The requirements of the embryo might be influenced by different factors like: breed, breeder flock age etc. The influence of different factors on the requirements of the embryo during the three mentioned periods will be investigated in this project.
Results: During the first year of this project, a method is developed to measure the quality of the chicken blastoderm at the moment of lay and during pre-incubation storage. The total number of blastoderm cells and the number and location of mitotic and apoptotic cells can be determined in one chicken blastoderm.