The avian egg: air-cell gas tension, metabolism and incubation time

H. Rahn, C. V. Paganelli, A. Ar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The O2 and CO2 tensions in the air cell of incubating eggs just pripr to the pipping stage were analyzed in nine species of birds. These appear to be very similar and average 104 and 37 torr, respectively, for O2 and CO2. The oxygen conductance of the egg shell for each species was calculated from the water vapor conductance previously established, which allows one to calculate the oxygen consumption of the egg as the product of O2 conductance and ΔPO2, across the egg shell. The oxygen uptake of the eggs at this stage of development is proportional to the egg weight raised to the power O.78. A previously derived relationship shows that the incubation time is proportional to the egg weight raised to the power O.22. Combining these two weight functions, one obtains a general relationship between metabolic rate and incubation time; namely in different species of birds that have the same egg weight the natural incubation period is inversely related to the metabolic rate or the egg shell gas conductance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-309
Number of pages13
JournalRespiration Physiology
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1974
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Air-cell P, P
  • Avian eggs
  • Egg metabolism
  • Egg shell conductance
  • Incubation time

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