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Maternal Feeding Matters

The poultry industry is always looking for ways to improve efficiency and reduce the cost of production. Most of the attention until now has been on broiler breeder nutrition and research to improve productivity in terms of saleable chicks produced, egg fertility, and hatchability with less focus on how maternal nutrition can positively impact offspring broiler performance. In broiler production, the cost of hatching the egg or a day-old chick is very small compared to the cost in kilograms of a live bird (Callini and Sirri, 2007). These low-cost periods provide opportunities to optimize breeder hen nutrition and management to improve its performance and that of its progeny.

Originally published as "Chapter 10: Harnessing epigenetics to improve chick quality with trace mineral zinc" in the book, Breeder Management & Nutrition: Moving the industry forward, Drs. Juxing Chen and Mercedes Vázquez-Añón explain how trace minerals impact maternal feeding/epigenetics to optimize chick development and health.

Read Chapter 10

Meet The Authors


Juxing Chen, Ph.D., is the Senior Manager of Structure and Functional Biology at Novus International. Since joining Novus in 2012, Dr. Chen’s research has included maternal feeding/epigenetic modification, gut health, structural integrity, and soybean meal quality. Dr. Chen’s research in maternal feeding mainly focuses on delineating the mode of action of maternal supplementation of organic trace minerals on the growth and development of progeny in poultry, swine, and ruminants. Her research findings have been published in the book, Nutrition of Hyperprolific Sows; the Journal of Animal Science, and various industry publications.

Mercedes Vázquez-Añón, Ph.D

Mercedes Vázquez-Añón, Ph.D., is the Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives and Account Collaboration at Novus International. She received her bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Engineering and Animal Science from Universidad Politécnica- Madrid, Spain. Her master’s degree was earned at Penn State University in the U.S. Her doctorate degree in Nutritional Science is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the U.S. Dr. Vázquez-Añón joined Novus in 1996 as a research manager where she developed the application of several Novus products across species, became a Fellow Scientist in 2006, the director of animal nutrition research in 2007, and in 2012 became responsible for global animal research and facilities. Her research expertise encompasses amino acid, trace mineral, antioxidant, enzyme, and lipid nutrition and metabolism in ruminants and monogastrics, she holds patents on different technologies and has published more than 40 refereed scientific publications and numerous conference proceedings.

Read more from Breeder Management & Nutrition: Moving the industry forward. Provide your details below to receive a complimentary digital version of the book.

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