Yerpes, M., Llonch, P., Manteca, X. 2020. Factors associated with cumulative first-week mortality in broiler chicks. Animals 10(2), 310.

First-week mortality is an important performance index as well as an important welfare indicator. The aim of the present study was to identify internal (individual-dependent) and external (management or environmental) factors that could influence the cumulative first-week mortality of broilers. To carry out this study, field data obtained from a hatchery company were used, in which 2267 flocks of broiler chicks (from 2015 to 2018), were analyzed. A generalized linear mixed model was used to analyze the data. Farm ID and house by farm were incorporated as random effects. The Odds Ratio was estimated for each factor, determining the effect of each explanatory variable. First-week mortality was significantly related to breeder age (p < 0.0001), chick gender (p < 0.0001) and breed (p < 0.0001) as internal factors, and type of broiler house (p = 0.0129), presence or absence of drip cup (p < 0.0001), egg storage (p < 0.0001), study year (p < 0.0001) and season (p < 0.0001) as external factors. Therefore, these factors should be considered in the decision making of poultry breeding companies, in order to reduce possible welfare problems and increase productive performance.

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