Mississippi State University researchers have determined that in ovo injection of carbohydrates may provide benefits to commercially grown poultry, including an earlier increase in body weight and good hatching.

The theory behind the research is that by injecting the carbohydrates into the eggs before they hatch, hatchlings can reserve their fat and protein for needed growth, said Wei Zhai, assistant extension professor in MSU's Department of Poultry Science. “We want to continue looking at different volumes and concentrations of carbohydrates so that we get the most efficient injection amount,” said Zhai.

The researchers are also looking into applying the process to benefit the chicks in other ways. “Vaccine injections have been used for many years and have proven useful,” said David Peebles, interim head of the poultry department and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station researcher. “Using the same process to provide chicks with an earlier boost provides a lot of potential for the industry. In ovo injection may be useful in providing birds with an early supply of nutrients, such as vitamin D to help with bone growth.”