The need to reduce early embryonic mortality within the first week
of incubation is very important to every hatchery person. It has been
demonstrated that in some genetic strains, the frequency of
parthenogenetic development is significantly higher (Olsen,
1966). In situations where high incidences of early mortality of
undetermined origin are encountered, it would be beneficial to
examine the contents of incubated eggs for signs of parthenogenetic
development. Poor semen quality resulting from male physiological
disturbances, semen mis-management, or an inadequate insemination
technique may contribute to the number of eggs that will develop
parthenogenetically. Studies with irradiated sperm serve as an
illustration - although the sperm were motile and appeared suitable
for insemination, the sperm were unable to fertilize the egg.
The presence of infections, bacterial and viral, as well as oviductal disorders that might release tissue fragments into the lumen of the oviduct may possibly induce parthenogenetic development.
Egg handling is also a critical factor. High storage temperatures may increase the number of eggs with parthenogenetic development. If the egg collection procedure is improper or the temperature in the storage room is too high, the producer may expect problems within a few days of incubation due to a high incidence of parthenogenesis.
New feed additives (e.g. probiotics / direct fed micobials) should be carefully evaluated prior to their introduction into the hen's diet to determine if there are undesirable side-effects,increased early embryonic mortality. If so, the producer may want to reconsider the usage of the additive.
The ability to differentiate between parthenogenetic development and an embryonic failure of a fertlized egg becomes more important in our knowledge of factors influencing the incubation of turkey eggs that will reduce poult production costs.
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