Tags: Hatchery management | Whitepaper
14 January 2016,
Any incubation program, even when it’s successful, is never final. Sooner or later, it will have to be adapted according to changes resulting from climate, breed, egg quality, technical upgrades of setters and hatchers and numerous other factors. The need to adapt will be signaled by results in terms of hatchability and chick quality. The routine monitoring of eggshell temperature, yield and egg weight loss, for example, can provide an early warning that changes are needed.
Each hatchery operates in its specific, unique situation - and its incubation programs must also be specific, to correspond with local conditions. Adopting an incubation program that is successful for another hatchery, even one that operates in similar conditions to your own, is usually not the best option.
Before adjusting a program, it is therefore useful to answer a range of questions:
In short, it is important to establish why a program needs to be changed - and where the problem has arisen.
An incubation program is a complex construction: the expression of a strategy that leads to the optimum development of embryos, where every element of the program is combined and mutually influences the other. Generally, incubation programs (strategies) aim to an apparently simple task:
The aim is to achieve all this with minimal heating, cooling and humidification for energy-efficiency - and what appear to be small changes: changing temperature set point by 0.5°F or RH by 2-3%, can make a big difference to results. Opening ventilation a small increment further will refresh the air, but it will also decrease humidity, increase the cooling effect and force the machine to restore set points.
The questions ‘what change has been made?, ‘when?’ and ‘for how long? can transform a simple task into a complex issue. An existing program that was, until recently, delivering ‘acceptable’ results should form the skeleton of a new program, making one change at a time to assess its impact and evolve rather than revolutionize incubation programming.