Tags: Hatchery management | Blog
2 July 2018,
The contemporary hatchery is a complex installation. The core part is the incubators, supported by the devices that facilitate their function and auxiliary machines that reduce the demand for manual labour. Whatever the level of sophistication of the hatchery, its purpose remains the same: turning eggs into chicks in the most effective way.
The best moment to visit a hatchery is just before hatching so you can see all machinery at work for the different phases of incubation, and the newly hatched chicks too. Planning a visit at transfer time offers even more options.
A hatchery cannot improve the eggs it receives. It is easy to spoil eggs if procedures are not optimal, but good incubation can maximise the potential created on the breeder farm. A hatchery’s efficiency depends on two factors: the quality of the programs and procedures it uses – and the accuracy of their execution. The programs and procedures are an intellectual product, created from people’s knowledge and experience, and can easily be changed or corrected. But even the best program will only produce good results if it is followed closely.
Questions to ask to diagnose problems:
In an optimum scenario, programs are followed closely all the time and the selected parameters can be achieved without much “effort”.
Once we know that the incubators are working correctly, it is time to verify the programs and procedures. That requires taking measurements during a visit and evaluating the hatchery’s routinely collected records. In most hatcheries many batches of eggs are incubated sequentially using the same incubation program, so it is possible to check eggshell temperatures (EST) on different days of the process.
The hatch day is the moment to judge chicken quality and look at hatch waste: unhatched eggs and shells. The following questions are useful:
We can use the information obtained from these observations to evaluate the incubation process and draw conclusions.
Obviously, incubation is not the only responsibility of the hatchery. Mistakes made before egg setting and after chicken take-off are also a frequent source of losses, most of which can be detected by analysing waste or obtaining feedback from clients.
Short list of actions for a hatchery visit: