Host genetic makeup plays a role in early gut microbial colonization and immune programming. Interactions between gut microbiota and host cells of the mucosal layer are of paramount importance for a proper development of host defence mechanisms. For different livestock species, it has already been shown that particular genotypes have increased susceptibilities towards disease causing pathogens. The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of genotypic variation on both early microbial colonization of the gut and functional development of intestinal tissue. From two genetically diverse chicken lines intestinal content samples were taken for microbiota analyses and intestinal tissue samples were extracted for gene expression analyses, both at three subsequent time-points (days 0, 4, and 16).