Chick viability is known to be an important factor determining profitability of the poultry industry. Chick embryo tissues contain a high proportion of highly polyunsaturated fatty acids in the lipid fraction and therefore need antioxidant defence. The antioxidant system of the developing embryo and newly hatched chick includes the antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, catalase), water-soluble antioxidants (ascorbic acid, taurine, carnitine, glutathione, etc.), fat-soluble antioxidants (vitamin E, carotenoids, coenzyme Q) as well as selenium (Se). In fact, the high levels of endogenous antioxidants within the egg and embryonic tissues can clearly serve as a major adaptive mechanism for the protection of the tissue during the oxidative stress experienced at hatching. It has been shown that among different nutrients in the maternal diet which could significantly affect chick embryo development and their viability in the early posthatch life, natural antioxidants have been suggested to play a central role. Our data indicate that increased supplementation of the maternal diet can substantially increase concentrations of vitamin E, carotenoids (especially canthaxanthin) and Se in developing chick tissues and significantly decrease susceptibility to lipid peroxidation being effective nutritional tools to deal with various commercial stresses in poultry production. (C) 2016, Chinese Association of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine. Production and hosting by Elsevier B. V. on behalf of KeAi Communications Co., Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).