Tags: Hatchery management | Whitepaper
25 October 2023,
Seasonal changes can affect hatch results, including first week mortality. This could be through factors affecting conditions inside the setter and hatcher, or factors affecting the hatching eggs or chicks.
The external climate changes with the seasons; for example, the temperature is low in the winter and high in the summer. The water content of the outside air is also affected, as warm air can hold much more water than cold air. Some parts of the world also experience a transition from a rainy to a dry season.
Incubator manufacturers provide climate specifications for clean air entering the setters and hatchers. Using climate control equipment such as air handling units, hatcheries aim to maintain the climate within these specifications. For the sake of energy-efficiency, inlet air specifications are given as a range, allowing you to choose different set points for temperature and humidity in different seasons. These set points should be chosen so that they do not negatively impact hatch results. Air that is too dry, for example, could result in over-active humidifiers inside incubators and therefore cold spots, while air that is too humid will mean that eggs do not lose sufficient weight during incubation. Inlet air that is too cold will cause uneven temperatures within the incubator, and air that is too warm will create cooling problems and excessive condensation on the cooling coils during the last days of incubation.
The situation in breeder houses and during hatching egg transport can also affect hatch results. Eggs may cool faster in winter and slower in summer, impacting on the embryo stage before start of incubation, with consequences for incubation time and storage resistance.
Chicks have very limited capabilities to maintain optimal body temperature, so must be kept at the required temperature, independent of the season.