Formaldehyde administration in the hatchery can be very useful in decreasing microbial numbers. However, its use is controversial because of the adverse effects that can occur to chicks and people. This study was designed to look at alternative methods of application of formaldehyde in the hatchery. In addition, the study compared the effects of these methods of application on in ovo–and non-in ovo–injected eggs. All in ovo–injected eggs were given diluent only with no vaccine or antibiotic added. In hatchers containing both in ovo–injected eggs and non-in ovo–injected eggs, formaldehyde was administered two ways, dose (DOSE) and constant rate infusion (CRI). In the DOSE hatcher, 12 ml of formaldehyde was administered at one time every 12 hr, whereas in the CRI hatcher, the same volume was administered at a rate of 1 ml/hr over a 12-hr period. A control (CONT) hatcher received 12 ml of distilled water at the same time that the DOSE hatcher was given formaldehyde. In the DOSE hatcher, a peak concentration of formaldehyde of 102 ppm was reached. The CRI was maintained at approximately 20 ppm of formaldehyde. At pipping, the aerosol bacterial load in the hatchers receiving formaldehyde (DOSE, 130 colony-forming units [CFU]/m3; CRI, 82.5 CFU/m3) was significantly less than in the CONT hatcher (235 CFU/m3). At hatch, the CRI (337.5 CFU/m3) was not able to control bacterial levels and only the DOSE hatcher (150 CFU/m3) had a significantly lower aerosol bacterial count. The CRI non-in ovo–injected eggs (93.39%) had a significantly higher percentage of hatch of fertile compared with non-in ovo–injected eggs exposed to water (84.27%). In ovo–injected eggs in CONT and DOSE treatment groups contained significantly higher percentages of visual contamination than non-in ovo–injected eggs in the same hatchers. This difference had numerical significance only in the treatment groups within the CRI hatcher. The chicks were then placed into replicate treatment groups and grown for 14 days. Chicks from the CRI in ovo–injected eggs had a statistically significant improvement in feed conversion ratio (1.24) at 14 days when compared with chicks from CONT non-in ovo–injected eggs (1.29). All formaldehyde-exposed chicks had numerically lower feed conversion ratios compared with the CONT exposed chicks.
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Vol. 46 • No. 4