Training in the USA: hands-on knowledge sharing in hatchery management

22 January 2018

Training in the USA: hands-on knowledge sharing in hatchery management

Training is a unique contributor to NatureForm’s rapid growth across the USA and Canada and, earlier this year, a group of 14 hatchery professionals came together to take part in a three-day Hatchery Management Training programme.

Hosted by NatureForm, the course was delivered by Pas Reform Academy and included access to House of Raeford’s fully integrated new hatchery in South Carolina. The course is not limited to customers of NatureForm and Pas Reform, although delegates must work in a managerial or senior role with responsibility for day-to-day hatchery management. On this occasion, attendance included delegates from leading hatcheries and a vaccine supplier.

The importance of people

“We may all recognise the increasing role of automation and data-based software and systems in the modern hatchery,” says course director Gerd de Lange, “but people are vital to the success of any hatchery operation.

“It takes good, up-to-date knowledge, high levels of skill and not least a positive, proactive attitude to deliver optimal production results. Machines and clever systems are only as good as the people operating them and translating results to fine-tune performance.”

With this belief at the heart of the Hatchery Management course, Pas Reform Academy’s approach to training is highly interactive.

The course is designed to strengthen participants’ skills in three areas: the evaluation and analysis of hatchery performance; the ability to recognize weaknesses in egg handling and incubation procedures and remedy them using the “tools” provided, and the knowledge to modify egg handling and incubation processes, to improve hatchery performance.

Prior to attending, participants are invited to pre-submit key questions that they would like to have answered. This ensures that as well as learning from trainers about the most up-to-date research and the very latest techniques being employed in hatcheries worldwide, delegates also have the chance to share experiences and insights with each other.

Egg to chick optimisation: training for results

In South Carolina, a variety of topics, from ‘egg quality from breeder farm to hatchery’ to ‘hatchery climate control’, were discussed and supported by presentations.

For practical sessions and hands-on training, House of Raeford’s state-of-the-art hatchery hosted two visits, the first focusing on the egg receiving and setter room, and the second dedicated entirely to the hatcher room and chick handling.

During these visits, both egg and chick quality were evaluated and a break-out analysis performed, all in a setting that gave participants the opportunity to see and experience advanced Smart™ incubation and hatchery automation systems first-hand in a live production environment.

Sharing ideas and insights, says Barry Vincent, Breeder/Hatchery  Specialist at Tyson Foods, adds great depth to the experience: “The training is really comprehensive, it’s amazing what can be covered in just three days.

“Sharing insights with other hatchery professionals from their own experiences has been a really valuable aspect of the whole experience. The training has given me a range of new tools and insights that I can take away to improve analysis, processes and performance as soon as I get back to the hatchery, and I’ve met new friends in the industry too!”

Future training opportunities

NatureForm will be running further hatchery management training courses in 2018. If you would like further information or to pre-register your interest in attending, please email

Need help?

Steve Warren, President Pas Reform North America