Fertile eggs were obtained from three different broiler breeder flocks with different levels of virus neutralizing antibodies to infectious bursal disease virus. Egg yolk from these flocks was tested for antibody titers by the virus neutralization test. Flock I eggs had no antibodies, flock II had medium level antibodies (1:200–1600; geometric mean = 1:975), and flock III had a high level of antibodies (1:1600–6400; geometric mean = 1:3365). Chicks from the above flocks were challenged each with 102 50% embryo infective dose of the IN serotype 1 variant virus at 1, 2, and 4 wk of age and examined at 5 and 11 days postchallenge. The average organ/body weight ratios were calculated and statistically analyzed.
Chicks with no maternal antibodies were not protected at any age. Chicks with medium levels of maternal antibodies were protected when challenged at 1 and 2 wk of age. Chicks with high levels of maternally derived antibodies were protected when challenged at all the ages tested. The above results were statistically significant (P < 0.05).