Practicability study of electrical current flow in the second third of the incubation period

L. Zumbrink, Prof. Dr. B. Brenig, Dr. A. Foerster, J. Hurlin and Dr. M. von Wenzlawowicz

The aim of in ovo sex determination in chicken hatching eggs is to detect male embryos and terminate their development at an early stage of incubation to avoid killing day-old-chicks after hatch. Since there is no secure scientific knowledge on presence or absence of pain perception between day 7 and 15 of incubation, it is necessary to develop animal welfare friendly and consumer acceptable procedures to end the incubation process. In this study, electrical current flow was investigated as a method for anaesthesia of chicken embryos. In two test series a current flow at 110 V AC was applied for 2 seconds to 304 and 56 embryonated eggs, respectively. Under these experimental conditions embryonic reactions associated with possible awareness of pain were absent in 99.3% of the examined embryos after exposure (results of trial series 1). The results suggest that application of an electric current is a practical and animal welfare-compliant procedure for chicken embryos in the second third of the incubation period.

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