Hatch traits of artificially incubated ostrich eggs as affected by setting position, angle of rotation and season
High levels of hatching failure in artificially incubated ostrich eggs cause considerable loss in income for the industry. During the 2015 - 2016 breeding seasons, between 846 and 1 549 egg records were used to determine the effect of various setting positions during artificial incubation. Fresh eggs were placed in trolleys to be turned automatically through a 60-degree or a 90-degree angle hourly in the setter. Additional treatments in a factorial design consisted of eggs set in the horizontal position for the total period of five weeks in the setter; eggs set horizontally for three weeks and vertically for two weeks; and eggs set vertically for five weeks in the setter. These treatments were repeated over two production years to represent various seasons, namely winter (June to August), spring (September to November) and summer (December). Late embryonic mortalities were improved significantly in eggs set in trolleys to turn through an angle of 90 degrees (0.16 ± 0.02) compared with eggs set in trolleys to turn through 60 degrees (0.28 ± 0.02), regardless of season and setting position. The preferred way of setting ostrich eggs would thus be in the vertical position in a trolley that turns hourly through an angle of 90 degrees with the air cell upwards to utilize incubator space optimally.
Keywords: chick weight, embryonic mortalities, moisture loss, ostrich, pipping time