Eggs (n = 1,800) obtained from Ross broiler breeders at 32 and 48 wk of age were incubated at either a constant temperature of 37.6 degrees C throughout (T1), or the temperature was reduced for 6 h to 36.6 degrees C each day during embryonic age (EA) 10 to 18 (T2). Yolk sac, liver, and brain fatty acid profiles and oxidant and antioxidant status of liver and brain were measured at EA 14, 19, and day of hatch (DOH). Fatty acid profiles of yolk sac, liver, and brain were influenced by age of breeder with significant breeder hen age x incubation temperature interactions. At EA 14, higher levels of 20:4n-6 and 22:6n-3 had been transferred from the yolk sac to T2 embryos from younger than older breeders, whereas for T1 and T2 embryos, yolk sac 20:4n-6 and 22.6n-3 values were similar for older breeders. Accumulation of 20:4n-6 and 22:6n-3 fatty acids in the liver of T1 and T2 embryos from younger breeders was similar; however, T2 embryos from older breeders had higher liver levels of 20:4n-6 and 22:6n-3 than T1 embryos. At EA 19, liver nitric oxide levels were higher for T2 embryos from younger breeders than those from breeders incubated at T1. Brain catalase levels of T2 embryos from younger breeders were higher than those from older breeders at DOH. Thus, changes in fatty acid profiles and catalase and nitric oxide production of brain and liver tissues resulting from 1 degrees C lower incubation temperature from EA 10 to 18 reflect adaptive changes.