In ovo feeding with minerals and vitamin D3 improves bone properties in hatchlings and mature broilers

R. Yair, R. Shahar, Z. Uni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to examine the effect of in ovo feeding (IOF) with inorganic minerals or organic minerals and vitamin D3 on bone properties and mineral consumption. Eggs were incubated and divided into 4 groups: IOF with organic minerals, phosphate, and vitamin D3 (IOFOMD); IOF with inorganic minerals and phosphate (IOF-IM); sham; and non-treated controls (NTC). IOF was performed on embryonic day (E) 17; tibiae and yolk samples were taken on E19 and E21. Post-hatch, only chicks from the IOF-OMD, sham, and NTC were raised, and tibiae were taken on d 10 and 38. Yolk mineral content was examined by inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy. Tibiae were tested for their whole-bone mechanical properties, and mid-diaphysis bone sections were indented in a micro-indenter to determine bone material stiffness (Young's modulus). Micro-computed tomography (μCT) was used to examine cortical and trabecular bone structure. Ash content analysis was used to examine bone mineralization. A latency-to-lie (LTL) test was used to measure standing ability of the d 38 broilers. The results showed that embryos from both IOF-OMD and IOF-IM treatments had elevated Cu, Mn, and Zn amounts in the yolk on E19 and E21 and consumed more of these minerals (between E19 and E21) in comparison to the sham and NTC. On E21, these hatchlings had higher whole-bone stiffness in comparison to the NTC. On d 38, the IOF-OMD had higher ash content, elevated whole-bone stiffness, and elevated Young's modulus (in males) in comparison to the sham and NTC; however, no differences in standing ability were found. Very few structural differences were seen during the whole experiment. This study demonstrates that mineral supplementation by in ovo feeding is sufficient to induce higher mineral consumption from the yolk, regardless of its chemical form or the presence of vitamin D3. Additionally, IOF with organic minerals and vitamin D3 can increase bone ash content, as well as stiffness of the whole bone and bone material in the mature broiler, but does not lead to longer LTL.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2695-2707
Number of pages13
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Poultry Science Association Inc.


  • Bone
  • Broiler
  • In ovo feeding
  • Mineral
  • Vitamin D3.


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