Researchers successfully hatch a rare bird from the egg of a chicken

Researchers at the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory in Dubai, UAE have hatched another bird species from a chicken egg.  In their experiment, they used embryonic transfer from one egg to another, showing that one can develop successfully in another. The fertilized yolks from houbara bustard (Chlamydotis undulata), a threaten bird species native to the Middle East, was place into the albumin of the chicken eggs.   It was done with several eggs.  Scientists found that after four days 76% of the eggs surrounded by the albumin of a chicken survived.  61% of the yolks surrounded by houbara albumin survived. They eventually moved them to bigger chicken eggs to allow the birds to grow.  By the end of the experiment, two of the eggs hatched from the chicken albumin (7% of the samples) and one hatched from the houbara (5% of the samples). The researchers from the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory say that they still have to refine the technique.  They are excited that the technique could be used to help other endangered species and assist in conservation efforts.  Other birds could be hatch using surrogate eggs, especially if breeders could save cracked or damaged eggs from the wild and soft shelled eggs from wild birds.  Embryonic transfer could also be used to revive extinct species. In the case of the houbara bustard, researchers are working to save the species because it is a popular prey species for falcons.  In Dubai, falconry is a popular sport.  Their population has dropped 60% in recent decades.  This bird species is native to the deserts of Russia, the Middle East, North Africa, and the Canary Islands.   They are a migratory species.  Threats to the houbara bustard come mainly on their wintering grounds.  They are mainly affected by over-hunting, collisions with power lines, nest predation from introduced mammals, and habitat degradation from tourism, urban development, military exercises and farming. The houbara bustard conservation program in Dubai began in 2002 when the H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Houbara Breeding Centre was complete.  Breeding age birds were loaned by the International Foundation for the Conservation and Development of Wildlife in Morocco to begin the program.   Breeding these birds in the UAE has been a challenge due to hot and humid conditions.  The Central Veterinary Research Laboratory developed techniques for artifical breeding and the hand-rearing of chicks.  Most of the birds are only able to breed once they reach maturity, so a detailed program was set up to breed and monitor their activity.  They have had increased success every year, and presently the Centre has bred several hundred chicks. Link to news article.

Houbara Bustard in native habitat

2 Responses to Researchers successfully hatch a rare bird from the egg of a chicken

  1. […] Researchers successfully hatch a rare bird from the egg of a chicken (environmentalgeography.wordpress.com) […]

  2. […] Researchers successfully hatch a rare bird from the egg of a chicken […]

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