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Pas Reform Academy 2012


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Pas Reform Academy has dedicated more than 30 years to studying the needs of the growing embryo: to understanding the effects of genetic advancement on the performance of our commercial poultry breeds. Extensive scientific knowledge combines with decades of practical, hands-on hatchery experience – to meet new and emerging challenges in the modern hatchery.

Published in: Technology

Pas Reform Academy 2012

  1. 1. Pas ReformAcademyPutting science into practice2nd Edition | Including 21 day embryo development poster Pas Reform Hatchery Technologies
  2. 2. Contents 1 Optimizing poultry production from egg to chicken 33 Red hocks in day old chicks or poults 2 Data analysis: a critical path to improved hatchability 34 Empty shells. A valuable source of information 3 Hatching egg quality 35 Spray vaccination of day-old-chicks at the hatchery 4 Uniform eggs are laid by uniform hens 36 Maintaining the ideal climate for chick handling and transport 5 Establishing true fertility in hatching eggs 37 Improving transport performance 6 Managing fertility: good breeding shows 38 Brooding chicks; a matter of care 7 Care of the egg: from nest to farm store 39 Preventing Omphalitis to reduce first week mortality 8 Hatching egg transport 40 Dealing with exploders 9 Impact of hairline-cracked eggs on hatchability and chick performance 41 Role of cleaning and disinfection10 Pre-storage incubation: a matter of routine? 42 How effective is your cleaning programme11 Storage of hatching eggs 43 Keeping the hatchery free of Aspergillus12 The importance of preventing ‘sweating’ eggs 44 Effective rodent control on breeder farm and hatchery13 Formalin-free hatching egg disinfection: an achievable 45 Selecting a hatchery location goal! 46 Optimising hatchery design for peak performance14 The effects of setting eggs small end up on hatchability 47 Modernizing or expanding a hatchery and chick performance 48 Building materials15 The benefits of single-stage incubation to food safety 49 Hatchery flooring and drainage16 How hatchery management changes when starting ­ single-stage incubation 50 Ergonomic benefits in the hatchery17 Pre-heating: an effective tool for chick uniformity 51 Weighing the benefits of automation in the hatchery18 Finding optimum incubation temperature 52 The relevance of Hatchery Climate Control19 Managing incubation temperature to combat increased early mortality Hatchery Manage­ ent Training m20 Optimal weight loss profiling during incubation21 Adjusting ventilation22 Incubation at high altitudes23 Relevance of turning24 Circadian Incubation25 To candle or not to candle, that’s the question…26 When and how to transfer eggs to the hatcher27 Hatcher basket hygiene for a clean start28 Creating the ideal hatching climate29 Managing the hatch window30 Incubation times in the modern hatchery31 Optimum timing for pulling day old chicks32 Reconciling maternal (flock) age and chick quality Originally published in International Hatchery Practice
  3. 3. Introduction For more than 30 years, Pas Reform has studied the needs of the growing embryo, to understand the impact of genetic advancement on the performance of modern poultry breeds in incubation. The forefront of scientific understanding combines with more than 90 years of hands-on hatchery experience, to meet new and emerging challenges in the modern hatchery. This 2nd Edition of articles published by Pas Reform Academy, answers 52 of the questions more frequently asked by hatchery managers worldwide – in a single volume for easy reference. Covering a diversity of hatchery-­ management related topics, from data analysis to fertility; optimizing weight loss to preventing omphalitis, each article in­ orporates the latest data, to give c hatchery managers easy reference to the latest insights for best practice and o ­ ptimized performance. If you cannot find what you are looking for, or would like more detailed information on any hatchery-related topic, please contact us. We will be pleased to help.
  4. 4. 1 Step in incubation Egg handling at the farm and during Quantifiable criteria: –– emperature and relative humidity at the farm and during transport; t egg temperature on arrival (use portable dataloggers)Optimizing poultry transport ––flock specific data: strain and age, lay%, health status –– ercentage of first class hatching eggs pproduction from egg –– ercentages of dirty eggs, floor eggs, cracked eggs and eggs with hairline p cracks, upside down eggsto chicken Egg storage ––temperature and relative humidity Preparation for ––flocks age and length of storage i ­ ncubation: egg traying, ––average egg weights and coefficient of variation (CV) prewarming, preheating –– emperature and duration of preheating in the setter (or of prewarming tHatching egg quality and incubation in the setter room)conditions influence broiler performance.It is therefore important to continually Incubation in the setter ––start of incubation and time to reach the temperature set pointsoptimize every stage of incubation ––incubation program (temperature, relative humidity, ventilation profiles)management, based on specific protocols ––egg weight lossfor quality control and best performance. Transfer to hatchers ––incubation time at moment of transferIn addition to data collection and data ––percentage of clear eggsanalysis, open, regular communication ––results of break-out of clear eggsbetween breeder farm, hatchery andbroiler farm is essential, both for quality Incubation in the ––hatcher climate (temperature, relative humidity, ventilation profiles)control and to produce first-class results hatchers ––time point increase of humidity and maximum level of relative humidityin integrated poultry meat production. ––time point of first chicksThe hatchery is a natural hub for commu- ––time point of chick collectionnications between separate production ––hatch windowlinks, because hatchery managementreceives production data both from the Chick collection ––total number of saleable chicksbreeder farm and the broiler farm. ––percentage culled ––average chick weights and coefficient of variation (CV)The basis for optimization is found (1) in ––chick yields (ratio chicken body weight and initial egg weight)quantifiable criteria and (2) in references ––chick quality expressed in Pasgar-score unitsor standards for each of these criteria(see table). After chick transport ––temperature during transport measured with small data loggers and first week at the ––number of dead chicks upon arrival at the farmReference data may be based on general farm ––weight of chicks upon arrivalstandards provided by incubation consul- ––percentage of dead chicks at day 7tants or breeder companies. Highly prac- ––weight of chicks at day 7tical references are usually provided by ––relative growth during the first weekthe hatchery itself. Hatchery managersgenerally collect data on egg quality, Medication ––at the breeder farmfertility, hatchability and first-week ––vaccination day old chicks before deliverymortality per batch of eggs – and fromthis data, hatchery specific standardcurves can be produced. Advice –– egularly compare hatchery specific R –– ecord key data on specific forms R data with more general reference, forOptimization protocols are then directed designed for this purpose. example from consultants or breederto perform above the hatchery specific –– ecord information on medication at R companies.standards. A disadvantage of hatchery breeder farm and hatchery, including –– ake appropriate action if quantifiable Tspecific standard curves is that structural vaccination. data falls below reference data.failures and mismanagement may be –– efine hatchery standards with refer- D –– nvestigate for structural failures if Ihidden and not found. For this reason, ence to egg quality, hatchability, chick hatchery specific standards deviateit is still advisable to compare hatchery quality and first-week mortality. below the standard curves provided byspecific data with more general reference –– ompare data from each batch with C consultants or breeder from consultants or companies the hatchery’s own reference data. –– lways evaluate the results of any Aperiodically. measures taken to improve or alter standards.2 Pas Reform Academy - Putting science into practice
  5. 5. 2Data analysis: a criticalpath to improvedhatchabilityIn most hatcheries, the routine moni- the main cause of variability is related to Advice:toring of incubation is based on data breeder farm management, including egg –– Define a hatchery specific standardcollected at each stage in the process. This handling at the farm and during based on the average hatchability ofis an important element of specific proto- transport. eggs set per age group.cols for quality control and the optimiza- –– Routinely apply quality control to eggstion of hatchery results. For each step in In a comparison of hatchability data from received from every farm supplying thethe incubation process, quantifiable two farmhouses ‘1’ and ‘2’ (figure 1), eggs hatchery.criteria have been defined. The hatch- were received and incubated at a specific –– Compile and use a troubleshooting list.ability of eggs set is one such quantifiable hatchery, using standard incubation –– Reduced hatchability can be expected ifcriterion, defined as the number of sale- protocols. eggs received are of poorer quality:able chicks hatched from the total poor shell quality and hairline cracks,number of eggs from a certain batch/ The graph in figure 1 shows that hatch- more dirty eggs, a higher number offlock loaded in one or more incubators. ability of eggs produced by farm 1 is below floor eggs and eggs placed sharp-endFor each age group, hatchability based on the standard (overall average hatch- up, for example.eggs set is used to determine an internal ability), except for flocks aged 41-45 wks. –– Include candling and break-out proce-standard/reference for that group. The Conversely, the hatchability of eggs dures (e.g. 10 day candling) as standard.internal standard is a benchmark that received from farm 2 (figure 1), incubated This will routinely identify and/orallows the evaluation of: in the same hatchery using the same discount reduced true fertility or1. overall differences and variation in incubation protocols, deliver above increased early mortality as causes of hatchery results average hatchability (grey bars) for all variation in hatchability.2. influence of flock origin on the the flock ages. –– Communicate the results of your inves- v ­ ariation of hatchery results; and tigations with the breeder farm3. influence of storage on the the The results suggest that farm 2 pays manager, as an important start to iden- v ­ ariation of hatchery results. greater attention to optimizing breeder tifying the cause of below average farm management and egg handling, hatchability results.This article focuses on variability in the both at the farm and during transit. With –– Evaluate the effects of modifications tohatchability of eggs from one breed, such attention to these factors, farm 1 management practice on the hatch-d­ elivered by different breeder farms to could increase its total number of saleable ability of eggs set.the same hatchery. The ultimate aim is to chicks and improve hatchery performancereduce variability between breeder farms and results overall.and thereby optimize hatchery resultsoverall. 90 Farm 1The hatchability of eggs set is dependent Farm 2not only on breeder farm management, Mean hatchability 80 Overall averagebut also on hatchery-related factors, suchas storage conditions or incubation 70programs. Our analysis is based on datacollected over several years, from different 60flocks incubated at one specific hatchery.With only one breed-type to consider, we 50 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75can assume that factors related to incuba-tion management are averaged for all Flock age (weeks)flocks and breeder farms throughout therecorded period. We may also therefore Fig 1. Percent hatchabilities of eggs (stored less than 8 days) from farm 1 and farm 2 compared to theassume that in the following example, overall average . Pas Reform Academy - Putting science into practice 3
  6. 6. 3Hatching eggqualityHatchability and chick data are the most Egg shape Embryoimportant references for optimising incu- A good quality hatching egg has a blunt The embryo floats on top of the yolk.bation management. The age of the flock, side containing a small air cell and a In the un-incubated egg, the embryo isnumber of storage days and incubation clearly recognizable sharp end. Too many visible as a doughnut-like opaque ringprogram are typically included in the abnormal or misshapen eggs signifies with a translucent centre. A good qualityanalysis and optimization of hatchery immaturity of the shell gland, young embryo is 3-5 mm in diameter.results, but very often, insufficient parent stock, disease, stress and over-a­ ttention is paid to the quality of the crowding in the flock. Advicehatching eggs. While external quality is –– o not take egg quality for granted Dusually considered, there is much debate Egg shell when optimizing hatchery economics.regarding internal quality control on a High quality hatching egg shells are –– se specific egg quality forms to record Uregular basis. smooth, without ridges or small lumps of the quality of each batch of eggs calcified material (pimples). The colour of received at the hatchery.Egg quality in the broadest sense has eggs within a batch is uniform. Young –– ecord the number of good quality Rbeen affected by genetic selection, flocks produce eggs with thicker shells eggs and the number of eggs notfor production traits like growth, feed and when the flock ages, the shell fulfilling required standards for everyc­ onversion, number of eggs and egg shell becomes thinner and the incidence of batch of eggs received.quality. Breeding companies generally pay abnormal shells increases. Insufficient –– ake a minimum sample of 10 eggs to Tless attention to egg parameters related calcium or vitamin D3 content in feed will record the quality of the embryo,to hatchability and chick quality, which produce thin egg shells. Saline drinking albumen and yolk.has led to increasing variability between water and high levels of chlorine will also –– ommunicate openly with your egg Cbatches of hatching eggs. cause shell-quality problems. Abnormal supplier regarding egg quality, with white, thin-shelled eggs may indicate a the mutual aim of improving and/orOngoing research shows that genetic variety of diseases (IB, NCD, EDS). maintaining quality.selection for production traits makes highdemands of breeder management with Albumenrespect to feed composition and feed Good quality hatching eggs contain arestriction management. Genetic selection ­ higher proportion of thick, viscoushas influenced egg size, the yolk:albumen albumen with less thin albumen. Theratio and shell quality. volume of thick albumen reduces withFeed restriction management influences increased flock age and after storage.the development of the reproductive tract Good quality albumen is translucent withand the nutrients available to the growing a greenish or yellow cast indicating theembryo from yolk and albumen. In addi- presence of riboflavin. Meat or bloodtion, with the management of breeders spots point to stress or overcrowding inbecoming more complicated, the risk of the flock.stress, aggressive males and overcrowdinghas increased - with inherent consequences Yolkfor egg (embryo) quality. The size of the yolk increases with flock age and thus the ratio of yolk to albumenIn conclusion, if specific protocols for increases. In good quality hatching eggs,o­ ptimizing incubation management are the yolk has a uniform colour without anyused, it is necessary to evaluate hatching blood or meat spot. Mottled yolk points toegg quality on a routine basis. A brief stress in the flock.summary of internal and external para­meters is presented hereafter.4 Pas Reform Academy - Putting science into practice
  7. 7. 4Uniform eggs are laidby uniform hensUniformity in day-old chicks is increas- differences between birds. These differ- –– Ensure good feed composition, avoidingly important as a contributor to ences are mainly a reflection of variation overfeeding and apply water restrictioneconomic efficiency. in the development of internal organs, during the production period. These which dictate whether the bird will be a factors help to maintain uniform eggProducing chicks of a uniform size more - or less – efficient organism in the size.requires two basic conditions: an opti- future. A good start from the first hour onmized incubation process, which depends the rearing farm is the best investmenton the quality of the incubators and the for achieving the smooth development ofincubation programs - and uniformly the pullet later. Early, effective control ofsized hatching eggs, which relies upon growth, smooth development, passingmany factors linked to the breeder farm. important “check points” at six and 12Breed, the age of the hen, the hen’s body weeks and starting the lighting programsize, feeding, diseases and the farm envi- at optimum age all contribute to theronment are all key factors. development of a uniform flock that will produce uniform eggs.In the hen’s life cycle, egg size changesaccording to a natural pattern, being Advice:smaller at the beginning of lay and –– Ensure the highest growth rate in thebecoming larger towards the end. From first week of life. High average bodythe breeder flock, we expect the produc- weight at seven days – usually relatedtion of as many hatching eggs as possible to high uniformity - is an indicationin an optimum size range of 50-70g. If the that all chicks started well.hens are uniform in size and maturing at –– Avoid needing to correct body weight:the same age, we can expect eggs laid by start feed restriction by the end of firstthem to be uniform. Physical and physio- week and apply small but regularlogical development depends mainly on weekly increments of daily rationing.rearing. In all management guides, body –– Start grading in the fourth week, tosize is described by body weight. However allow sufficient time for directingthe reproductive physiology of a small, fat extreme groups towards the commonhen is different from her tall, skinny sister target at 12 weeks.- even if their body weight is identical. –– Aim to keep the flock strictly on targetActual body size is related to the dimen- body weight at six and 12 weeks of age.sions of skeleton. Breeders within one –– Assure good environmental conditions,flock that are uniform by skeleton size regular feed increments, sufficientand body weight at 20 weeks will respond feeding space and good disease controlsimilarly to programs that stimulate during the entire rearing period.maturity. –– Start maturity-stimulating programs when the majority of hens are ready.Because the skeleton is fully formed by Even a uniform flock will include a11-12 weeks of age, the first half of the proportion of birds that mature earlierrearing period becomes an important or later. Well controlled lighting duringphase: a limited period during which rearing and not starting the stimula-uniformity can be successfully influenced. tion program too early are basicThe first rearing week is the period when requirements.the most intensive growth in a hen’s lifeoccurs – potentially leading to great Pas Reform Academy - Putting science into practice 5
  8. 8. 5Establishing truefertility in hatchingeggsIf it comes to discussions on fertility The fertile, unincubated egg contains an –– f the rate of early death before the Itwo different definitions are practiced. embryo ( germinal disc or blastoderm) blood ring stage is too high, evaluateA true fertile egg contains a well de­­veloped that developed from the fertilized oöcyte conditions during storage and thegerminal disc (blastoderm), which indicates (zygote) during egg formation in the transport of eggs - and ensure thatthat the oöcyte, or zygote, was fertilized oviduct. The oöcyte is the female gamete the setter is bringing the eggs toand an embryo developed during egg that floats on the yolk. When the yolk is i ­ ncubation temperature rapidly andformation. Secondly, in the practice of the released in the oviduct, spermatozoa without interruption.hatchery fertility is often based on cand­ (male gametes) penetrate the yolkling, whereby all clear eggs are defined as membrane, after which only one sperma- Figure 1a – Drawing showing the appearance ofunfertile and by default the rest of the tozoon fuses with the oöcyte to form the a fertile germinal disceggs are considered to be fertile. This fertile zygote. Finally, during egg forma-second definition of fertility is strictly not tion in the oviduct, the zygote developscorrect since clear eggs may contain both into the blastoderm, with a recognizabletruly infertile or they may contain (fertile) Area Pellucida (AP) surrounded by an Areaembryos that died early. Opaca (AO) (figure 1a). If for whatever reason the spermatozoa do not reach theIn hatchery practice problems with oöcyte, the egg remains infertile and the AP AOfertility are usually first recognized during oöcyte will degenerate to form nothingthe candling procedure, when the number more than a small germinal disc. Theof clear eggs is higher than expected. infertile germinal disc is visible as aTo identify the time and the cause of compact white spot with ruffled edgesembryonic death, the hatchery manager (figure 1b). If hatching eggs are analyzedmay perform an analysis of candled eggs. on arrival at the hatchery, before incuba-However, if candling is performed at tion, any issues with infertility can betransfer at day 18, as is often the case, it communicated with the breeder farm Figure 1b – Drawing showing the appearance ofcan be difficult to discriminate between without delay. a infertile germinal disctrue infertile eggs and eggs containing anembryo that has died before the blood Advicering stage. This is because membranes –– andle eggs at transfer (day 18) as a Cfrom dead embryos degenerate while the standard routine.eggs are still in the incubator. –– f the number of clears is above accept- I able or allowable standards, performBy candling at days 7 - 10, it is possible to egg analysis, to distinguish betweenreliably discriminate between true infer- infertility and early embryonic death.tility and early embryonic death for two –– onsider candling followed by egg Creasons. Firstly, because embryonic analysis between day 7 - 10, as a moremembranes formed during the first days reliable means of measuring trueof incubation can still be recognized. fertility.Secondly, in clear eggs collected between –– nalyse a minimum of 10 fresh, Adays 7 - 10, a change in the color of yolk as un-incubated eggs on a regular basisa result of embryonic activity is clearly when issues with fertility are suspected. Drawings reproduced with kind permission ofvisible. The active young embryo trans- –– f true infertility is too high, communi- I the publisher from Optimizing Chick Productionports water from albumen to yolk, which cate with the breeder farm about male in Broiler Breeders, by Robinson FE, Fasenko GMresults in a whitish or light yellow ring AND female management. and Renema RA. Volume 1: Broiler breederaround the embryo. production series, Spotted Cow Press, Alberta, Canada.6 Pas Reform Academy - Putting science into practice
  9. 9. 6Managing fertility:good breeding showsThe percentage of fertile eggs is one of Advice –– f possible, replace old cockerels with Ithe most important parameters influ- To promote enhanced fertility in the flock: new, mature males after 45 weeks ofencing the economic performance of a –– ive special attention to development G age. Alternatively, introduce ’intra-breeder flock. An embryo can of course and uniformity in rearing: a good start spiking’: the exchange of malesonly develop from a fertile egg. in the first week, harmonic, steady between different houses. This creates growth, maintaining body weight stan- a new social order that encouragesFertilization takes place – and thus can dards from the beginning of the chick’s increased activity and renewed fightsonly be influenced – on the breeder farm. life and especially at 11 weeks are for social position. Replace or exchangeWhen we consider fertility, we usually essential. at least 40 % of the males in a house.think of the males. Yet in reality, the –– ynchronize the maturity of males and Spercentage of fertile eggs is a synthetic females. Many potential problems ariseexpression describing the condition and from differences in developmentactivity of the males, the condition of the between the sexes. Males tend tofemales - and the propensity of both mature earlier and may behave toosexes to behave as nature intended. aggressively for successful breeding.Sexual behaviour is closely allied to the –– bserve behaviour in the poultry house Ocontentment and welfare of the flock. in the afternoons - and be prepared toOr put another way, fertility can be seen respond quickly. A good flock shouldas a reliable measurement of the flock’s remain active and well mixed at thisoverall wellbeing. time. –– estrict water consumption at any age RA flock performing well in respect to and take care of litter as a key factor infertility is one were both cockerels and determining the house environment.hens are healthy and well developed. Both Dry, loose litter helps the birds togroups (sexes) should be uniform, with remain clean and well feathered withsimilar levels of maturity and well healthy legs. Maintain feed to watermatched in size, good feathers and ratio as 1: 1.7 - 1.9 in rearing andhealthy, strong legs. These tend to be the 1: 1.8 - 2.2 in the production period.characteristics of flocks in a low-stress Always ensure that the house is dryenvironment, with sufficient space to and warm.promote natural behaviours and an –– void stress by limiting factors like Aoptimum diet. diseases, drastic changes of housing conditions, feed composition or quan-With these conditions, the inevitable tity, temperature and other basicchanges related to the advancing age of parameters. Stick to routines.the birds will proceed synchronically. In –– timulate mating by sprinkling grain Sthis sense, fertility is a trait that can be on the litter in the afternoons. Let theregarded as a dynamic process, rather males play the role of landlords, so theythan as a single characteristic. From the have the chance to show their leadingeconomic point of view, the deciding position in the flock.factor is the level of fertility that can be –– ever keep too many males in the Ndelivered in the late production period, flock. Quantity cannot replace quality.after 45 weeks. This is also a time when It is better to keep fewer good cockerelsthe most differences between the flocks than many of varying quality.can be observed. Pas Reform Academy - Putting science into practice 7
  10. 10. 7Care of the egg:from nest to farm storeA healthy, well managed breeder flock, Egg temperature at the moment of collec- Advicereceiving a balanced feed ration, will tion will vary from egg to egg, with some –– andle eggs with care at all times. Hproduce good quality hatching eggs. still holding a temperature of more than –– void shocks and jolts in handling. AAt the moment an egg is laid, it contains 25 °C. In this case, further cooling is Remember that not only is the shellan embryo of 30,000 - 60,000 cells. required. A newly produced egg, with a fragile, but also that inside exists anAt that point in time, each cell is already temperature close to that of the hen’s equally fragile embryonic structure!programmed for its future function. With body (41 °C), will take much longer to cool –– ollect eggs from manual litter nests at Cthe best of care, the hatching potential down when placed at the centre of a pulp least 4 times/day.held in this delicate embryonic structure tray and covered by the next full tray, than –– ollect eggs from automatic roll away Cwill be fully realised. But get it wrong – an egg placed at the side of the pulp tray. nests 2 - 3 times/day, ensuring thatand much can go amiss between nest and Ensuring that there is an adequate supply temperature on the egg transport beltfarm store. of free circulating air over the trayed eggs is 18 - 22 °C. will greatly assist in providing uniform –– aintain a temperature of 18 - 22 °C in MAlthough the exact level of the so-called cooling. the egg collection room, to prevent‘physiological zero’ is debated by hatchery eggs cooling down too quickly orspecialists and researchers, there is a And there are further considerations warming up again.gene­ al consensus that embryonic r when seeking to maintain the quality of –– aintain good nest hygiene at all Md­ evelopment, which starts in the hen’s the eggs after oviposition. For example, times. Close the nests during the night,body, will continue as long as internal too many eggs in a nest leads to an and ensure that they are opened againegg temperature is more than 25 - 27 °C. increased incidence of hair cracks, with a before the start of egg production the negative effect on hatchery results. Hair next morning.Ideally, eggs should be cooled down cracks can also result from over-filling the –– void floor eggs, which should not be Auniformly and gradually from body egg transport belt, which causes the incubated, by good management prac-temperature to between 18 and 25 °C in newly laid eggs to bump against each tice that starts from the rearing period.6 - 8 hours. However the rate of cooling other. Nest hygiene, too, is important for –– llow sufficient airflow over the eggs Adepends on several factors. Nest type in the avoidance of contamination. Floor after collection to ensure uniformrelation to frequency of egg collection eggs are a hotbed of infection in the cooling. This is best achieved byplays an important role. Eggs produced in hatchery, affecting both hatchability and collecting eggs on setter trays. Eggsmanually collected litter nests cool down chick quality, with further reaching effects should never be packed in cardboardvery slowly to environmental tempera- also extending to increased first week boxes before they have cooled down.ture, due to the insulation provided by the mortality and reduced performance in –– urther avoid hair cracks by using well Fsurrounding nest litter. Since nest boxes the receiving farms. designed trays, without sharp edges,are shared between 5 - 7 hens, warmth is that adequately support the eggs.brought to partially cooled-down eggs Do not use sloppy trays and avoidagain every time another hen enters the overstacking.nest. It is only once eggs are collected,that they are able to cool down properly.In automatic nests, the eggs roll away toan egg transport belt soon after beinglaid, which exposes all the eggs to asimilar environmental temperature.8 Pas Reform Academy - Putting science into practice
  11. 11. 8Hatching egg transportBreeder farms are often situated away g ­ enerally recommended 18 - 20 °C can be suspension and trolleys with shockfrom the hatchery. The distance between considered. Bourassa et al (2003) found absorbing wheels. Maintain accessthe two sites therefore becomes an that this will produce equally good roads to farms and hatchery in goodimportant consideration when planning hatching results, while minimising condition.the transfer of eggs to the hatchery. sweating during loading. –– A dequately support eggs in wellTypically, deliveries vary from daily to not designed trays without sharp edges.less than twice weekly, as increased Egg temperature can change rapidly when Do not use sloppy trays and avoidstorage time has a negative impact on loading, especially when air velocity is overstacking.hatchability and chick quality. high. This mainly affects eggs on plastic or –– A lways transport eggs small end down, setter trays, but it is also true for eggs on to avoid loose air cells.Egg transport is generally by truck, pulp trays - placed at the side of a buggy. –– U se temperature loggers duringalthough when importing hatching eggs, Using buggy bags can delay temperature t ­ ransport to record any temperatureair transport may also be used. When changes in a situation like this. But avoid fluctuations.flying eggs, it is worth remembering that direct sunlight on the bags! In a very short –– T ake internal egg temperatures atdelays can occur during transfer from time, the temperature under the plastic different locations within each batchaircraft to truck and while waiting for can rise to 5o °C! received at the hatchery, to checkcustoms clearance. temperature conditions during To avoid negative affects on embryo transport.Because hatching egg transport is vitality during transportation, sudden –– A fter transportation, rest the eggs fora­ ctually a period of transition from the temperature changes, shocking and at least 12 hours before startingfarm store to the hatchery egg store, it is jolting should be avoided at all times. i ­ ncubation. Immediate setting willimportant that climatic conditions are increase early embryonic mortality.kept optimal, to maintain hatching Advice –– C lean and disinfect all transportp­ otential as much as possible. Ideally, –– djust vehicle temperature to that of A e ­ quipment prior to any egg transport,temperature inside the truck should be the storage rooms of all supplying to avoid pathogenic spread.equal to temperature in the farm store. farms. The hatchery should play a coor- dinating role.The cooling down of newly loaded eggs –– educe the risk of sweating by reducing Rshould always be avoided, especially if the relative humidity in the vehicle.vehicle is already loaded with eggs from Providing transport time is not longerother farms. When eggs cool, the volume than 12 - 24 hours – the effect on theof albumen and yolk shrinks, thus quality of hatching eggs is negligible.increasing air cell volume, which will –– void sudden temperature changes Aallow contaminated air to be sucked into during loading and unloading. Connectthe egg. the truck directly to the storage room whenever possible or consider usingConversely, if the temperature in the truck buggy bags – especially in situations ofis higher than in the store, the risk of high air velocity and low air tempera-‘sweating’ (condensation forming when ture. Always avoid direct sunshine andthe colder surface of the egg is exposed to watch for unwanted condensationhumid air) increases. Even when store and forming under these bags.truck temperatures are equal, sweating can –– nsure a constant and uniform climate Estill occur during loading and unloading, during egg transport.especially on warm and humid days. In –– lways avoid unnecessary delays. Asuch a case, a higher on-farm storage –– void shocks and jolts during loading Atemperature of 23 °C instead of the and transport – use trucks with good Pas Reform Academy - Putting science into practice 9
  12. 12. 9Impact of hairline-cracked eggs onhatchability and chickperformanceIn general, good quality eggs are selected Good quality eggs Hairline-cracked eggsand placed for incubation. This meansthat only clean eggs with shell intact Hatchability (%)should be placed on the setter trays. – Eggs set 74.4 50.5 Significant (P 0.05)Dirty or floor eggs and eggs with visible – Fertile eggs 80.9 56.4 Significant (P 0.05)cracks are removed and not placed. Eggswith hairline cracks might often not be Chick weightrecognised and will, consequently, be – Weight (g) 45.0 43.5 Significant (P 0.05)placed in the setter trays and incubated. – Relative weight (% of eggs set) 69.9 67.5 Significant (P 0.05)In cracked eggs, the shell is broken and Growth performancethe underlying membrane is ruptured – – D14 body weight 293.5 298.9 Not significantleading to dehydration and the death of – Mortality 2 7.5 Significant (P 0.05)the embryo. However eggs with undam-aged membranes but broken shells are Egg weight loss in the setter (%) 13.4 17.02 Significant (P 0.05)defined as having hairline cracks – andthese are often placed because unless Embryonic mortality (%)candled, they look like good quality eggs. – Early (1 - 7d) 7.9 13.9 Not significant – Mid (8 - 14d) 0.0 2.9 Significant (P 0.05)A study of the incubation of good quality – Late (15 - 21d) 4.6 15.5 Significant (P 0.05)hatching eggs versus those with hairline – Cull 5.3 6.2 Not significantcracks produced the results shown in thesummary. In this experiment, eggs from Contaminated or broken (%) 1.2 5.2 Significant (P 0.05)five commercial flocks of various strainswere candled and an equal number of Reference: Barnet et al. (2004). Hatchability and Early Chick Growth: potential of broiler breeder eggshairline-cracked and normal eggs were with ­ airline cracks. J. Appl. Poult Res. 13: 65 - 70. hincubated for 21 days. Eggs were identifiedas having a hairline crack if the crack was The study concludes: Advicevisible by candling, but not apparent 1 Setting eggs with hairline-cracks –– o not set hairline-cracked eggs. Dwhen examined normally. s ­ ignificantly reduces hatchability. –– andle egg samples from batches C 2 Chicks hatched from hairline-cracked transported to the hatchery on a eggs demonstrate higher mortality regular basis to evaluate the incidence during a 14 day growing period. of hairline-cracked eggs. 3 Egg weight loss during the setting –– ecord the number of eggs with R period increases significantly in hair- hairline-cracks. line-cracked eggs, producing smaller –– f the frequency of hairline-cracked I chicks as a consequence. eggs is unsatisfactory, investigate and This however has no effect on day 14 eliminate possible causes. weight. –– void the use of plastic trays with A 4 Compared to good quality eggs, sharp edges for the transportation of a significantly higher incidence of eggs, as these are likely to be a major contaminated and broken eggs was cause of hairline-cracks. found after incubating eggs with hairline-cracks.10 Pas Reform Academy - Putting science into practice
  13. 13. 10Pre-storage incubation:a matter of routine?The care of hatching eggs during storage Eggs scheduled for storage for more than Guidelines– at the farm, in transit or at the hatchery seven days after production benefit most To assess performance benefits and– is an important aspect of hatchery from pre-storage incubation establish pre-storage incubation protocolsmanagement that aims to preserve the However, many questions, mainly in the hatchery:vitality of the embryo. concerning timing and duration, continue 1. Egg selection: per egg type, three trol- to surround the adoption of pre-storage leys for pre-storage incubation withWith optimum temperature and relative incubation in routine management one trolley (same batch) for the control.humidity, hatching eggs can generally be practice. 2. Disinfect: if the eggs are incubated in astored for one week without significantly normal routine setter.reducing hatchability or chick quality. Considerations for the practice of 3. re-storage incubation: place trolley(s) PEggs stored for longer than this are p ­ re-storage incubation with (disinfected) eggs in a runningknown to benefit from lower storage Pre-storage incubation is only beneficial if setter at incubation temperature.temperatures (12-14 °C) (Fasenko, 2007; the embryos in the eggs are in a very early Incubate the eggs for 3, 6 and 9 hours.personal experience). stage of development. For example: if Control eggs stay at storage nest temperatures are high and the eggs temperature.Pre-storage incubation, i.e. incubating stay in the nest too long, the embryos 4. eturn pre-storage incubated eggs to Rhatching eggs before they are placed in may develop beyond the storage resistant the storage room (with control eggs)the storage room, is a new approach to stage, when pre-storage incubation will for at least seven days before startingstorage management that aims to increase early embryonic mortality. the normal incubation cycle.develop the embryo to the so-called hypo- Small-scale experiments will help identify 5. Run normal incubation with both theblast stage: a stage of embryonic develop- the best timing and length of pre-storage pre-storage incubated eggs and thement that is better able to survive incubation for your own hatchery and egg control types (see below). To assess results in your 6. valuate: compare hatchability - pre- E own hatchery: storage incubated eggs vs. control eggs.According to Fasenko (2007), broiler –– Place eggs for pre-storage incubation 7. epeat this experiment with eggs from Rhatching eggs reach the hypoblast stage on setter trays in setter trolleys, to at least three different flocks.after six hours of pre-storage incubation, ensure uniform egg temperature 8. valuate all results. If positive, adopt Eturkey embryos after 12 hours. during incubation. pre-storage incubation routine as indi-Layer hen hatcheries have reported –– Do not incubate eggs on paper trays or cated by results.improved performance, seeing 3-7 % more in boxes. This guarantees heteroge-females after pre-storage incubation for neous egg/embryo temperatures,3-6 hours, when eggs are stored for more resulting in high levels of earlythan 11 days (Lohmann Tierzucht, mortality.Management Guide). –– Disinfect eggs as long as pre-storage incubation is performed in a setterIn the broiler industry, positive pre- located in the setter room (‘clean area’).storage incubation results show at least a Ideally use a specific incubator, locatedone per cent increase on expected hatch- close to the egg storage room.ability, when the eggs undergo pre- –– Pre-storage incubation can be appliedstorage incubation of 3-6 hours on arrival when eggs arrive at the hatchery 3-4at the hatchery (Fasenko et al., 2001; days after production and are sched-Fasenko, 2007). uled for more than 4 days extra storage at the hatchery. Pas Reform Academy - Putting science into practice 11
  14. 14. 11Storage of hatchingeggsEgg storage is the time between oviposi- temperature’, but more research is needed –– llow extra incubation time for stored Ation (laying) and the start of the incuba- before it can be concluded that suggested eggs: on average one hour extra fortion process for hatching eggs. Optimal temperature ranges should change. each additional day after an initialhatching results and chick quality can be storage period of three days.achieved if eggs are set after an initial Adviceadaptation period of about 1 to 2 day(s). –– llow eggs to cool gradually, from the AThis allows carbon dioxide to be released hen’s body temperature to between Storage duration Temperature Relativefrom the egg, which increases albumen 18 - 25 °C in 6 - 8 hours; do not place (°C) humidity (%)pH from 7.6 at oviposition to pH8.8 – 9.3. them in storage (especially not ifYolk pH remains virtually constant around already placed on setter trays) too 0 - 3 days 18 - 21 75pH6.5, so that the embryo, situated on the quickly after lay.yolk, is exposed to a pH-gradient. This –– inimize the duration of storage to M 4 - 7 days 15 - 17 75optimises early embryonic development. counter negative effects. –– e aware that storage starts on the day B 8 - 10 days 10 - 12 80 - 88Storing eggs beyond two days leads to of egg production, not necessarily theloss of hatchability and reduced chick same as the date of receipt at the More than 10 days 10 - 12 80 - 88quality. An epidemiological study of Dutch hatchery.hatchery data (Yassin et al. 2008) showed –– abel each batch of eggs with its actual Lthat, on average, each extra day of storage date of the hatchery before the seventh day –– aintain optimal climatic conditions Mreduced hatchability by 0.2 %, rising to during storage (see table), taking the0.5 % after the seventh day. planned duration of storage into consideration.Day-old-chicks from stored eggs show a –– onsider having two separate storage Chigher incidence of ‘black navels’. Tona et rooms, each with specific climate condi-al. (2004) found that Cobb broiler chicks tions, if storage time is not constant.hatched from eggs stored for seven days –– tore eggs small end up, starting on the Sweighed over 200 grams less at slaughter first day of storage, if hatchery plan-age, than chicks from fresh eggs. ning dictates that eggs must be storedDifferences in body weights emerged at more than 10 days. Alternatively, if eggs14 days post hatch and increased until are stored on setter trays (blunt endsslaughter age at 42 days. up), turn them 90° once daily. –– hoose the upper limit of recom- CIn recent research by Pas Reform Academy, mended temperature ranges if there iseggs from three different broiler breeder a risk of ‘sweating’ when eggs areflocks of different maternal ages (30, 38 removed from storage. Gradualand 50 weeks) were stored at 18 - 20 °C warming in a ‘pre-processing room’ atand 12 - 14 °C for 7 and 11 days, both at 75 % an intermediate temperature may berelative humidity. Storage at the lower necessary.temperature resulted in a higher average –– osition eggs in storage to avoid direct Phatchability of 0.6 % (experiment 1: 7 air flow from egg room coolers and/ordays), 1.1 % (experiment 2: 7 days) and humidifiers - and sufficiently removed3.2 % (experiment 3: 11 days). These results from the heating the view that ‘the longer the –– o not place eggs directly against the Dstorage period, the lower the storage wall or on the floor in the storage room.12 Pas Reform Academy - Putting science into practice
  15. 15. 12The importance ofpreventing ‘sweating’eggs‘Sweating’ of eggs refers to the phenom- This of course will lead to increased Adviceenon of condensed water sitting on the embryonic mortality, ‘exploders’ and –– f the risk of sweating is high, pre-warm Iegg shell surface. This occurs when cold infected day-old-chicks (increased first eggs gradually at least six hours prioreggs are suddenly exposed to a higher week mortality). to removing them from the egg storageenvironmental temperature. The warm air room. This is achieved by switching offwith a certain moisture content cools Clearly moisture on egg shells should be the egg room cooler several hoursdown rapidly directly around the colder prevented. Egg sweating is prevented before taking out the eggs. It is impor-eggs. Since cold air contains less water when the difference in temperature tant to realize that not all eggs warmthan warm air, relative humidity will between the egg storage room and up at the same, uniform speed, espe-increase until the air is saturated. And at ‘the outside’ (e.g. loading platform of the cially with low air circulation and ifthat moment, condensation will take truck, egg traying room, setter) is small stored on pulp trays and stacked closelyplace on the cool egg surface. and the ‘outside’ humidity is low. together. –– tore at a higher temperature, combined SThe term ‘sweating’ is, if taken literally, The table below can be used to predict with a shorter storage period.misleading, because the water on the whether sweating will occur if no –– onnect the truck picking up the Cshell does not in fact come from within a ­ dditional measures are taken. For a wider hatching eggs directly with the storagethe egg. The same physical process is seen range of temperatures and humidities, a room to minimise any temperaturewhen a bottle of water is removed from a so-called ‘Mollier’ diagram or psychometric diffe­ ences from the outside rrefrigerator on a warm summer day. graph provides a useful tool. environment. –– nsure that the climate in the truck is ESweating of eggs should be avoided There is also a risk of eggs sweating if the same as in the egg store.because moisture on the shell surface they are set too cold in setter that is –– aintain humidity below the levels Mweakens the egg’s natural defence already running to temperature, as is the indicated in the table.m­ echanisms, providing as it does an ideal case in multi-stage incubation practice. –– rior to placement in the setter, place Penvironment for the growth of micro- the filled setter trolleys at a roomorganisms, and further facilitating their temperature of 25 °C with good airpenetration through the shell pores. circulation for several hours. This pre- warming of the eggs before setting isOnce inside the pores, micro-organisms particularly important when usingare protected from most routine egg sani- multi-stage incubation.tising operations, therefore presenting apotential risk for contamination. Bacteria Eggs will ‘sweat’ if the relative humidity (% RH) outside the storage room is higher than:and fungi which manage to pass throughthe shell membranes will multiply at a Temperature Temperature outside the storage roomrapid rate when they are exposed to incu- of storagebation temperature, because the defence room1 15 °C 18 °C 21 °C 24 °Cmechanism in the albumen is no longerable to protect the growing embryo. 21 °C … … … 85 % RH 18 °C … … 83 % RH 71 % RH 16 °C … 89 % RH 74 % RH 60 % RH 11 °C 74 % RH 64 % RH 53 % RH 44 % RH 1 Assuming that the temperature of the eggs equals the temperature of the egg storage room. Pas Reform Academy - Putting science into practice 13
  16. 16. 13Formalin-free hatchingegg disinfection: anachievable goal!Disinfecting hatching eggs is a critical Depending on the type of disinfectant A further and more recent development iscontrol point (CCP) in the poultry produc- used, between five and ten litres of disin- the sustainable, onsite production of ation chain, aimed at reducing the intro- fectant, in solution according to the highly effective, non-toxic disinfectantduction of pathogens into the hatchery manufacturers’ instructions, is sufficient that is known to have no adverse sidefor the production of healthy to disinfect 115,200 eggs loaded on 24 effects with continued use. Electricalday-old-chicks. setter trolleys. Complete disinfection can Chemical Activation (ECA) of a saturated be achieved in less than one hour, sodium chloride solution, found its originsProperly carried out, fumigation with depending on the number of nozzles in the Soviet Space Program several yearsformaldehyde gives excellent disinfection used, with the further benefit that ago. It has been further developed byresults at relatively low cost – and has existing (formalin) fumigation rooms can Dutch company Watter BV, such that itbecome a common method of disin- be adapted to deliver Low Volume Misting now delivers a disinfectant solution in afecting hatching eggs worldwide (see without major renovation. reliable and repeatable manner.Cadirci (2009) for a detailed review).However, contra-indications for human With Low Volume Misting, the egg surface This disinfectant, which contains activehealth and the environment have already becomes slightly wet, which is a good chlorine compounds, different hydroxyls,prompted several countries to ban the use indication that the disinfectant is properly hydroxyl radicals and oxygen compounds,of formaldehyde and, as pressure grows distributed. While it is true that eggs has been extensively trialed by severalto discontinue its use, more are expected should not get wet by water eg. rain, Dutch hatcheries, who report excellentto follow. humidifiers or condensation, which results, with the additional benefits of provides a transport medium for bacteria user, material and environmental friendli-However, there are several good alterna- to enter the egg through pores in the ness. Production costs are extremely low.tives, both for disinfectants and in shell, it is a myth that eggs should not getmethods of application. Applying disinfec- wet when using a suitable disinfectant, Whichever route the hatchery chooses, ittant as a gas, as with fumigation, is which will kill micro-organisms and pres- is clear that formalin-free hatching eggadvantageous because many eggs can be ents no threat. disinfection is achievable in the hatchery.disinfected simultaneously, with theadded assurance that the entire surface of Disinfectants containing quaternary Adviceeach egg is properly treated. ammonium compounds combined with –– Disinfect shell-clean hatching eggs glutaraldehyde and hydrogen peroxide in only.The same quality of disinfection can be combination with peracetic acid have –– Ensure good distribution of theachieved by Low Volume Misting, which been used successfully for hatching egg d ­ isinfectant over the entire surface ofproduces a very fine fog with a maximum disinfection. Overdosing should be every egg.droplet size of 10 microns. Hatcheries avoided, as this may either cover the –– Evaluate the type of disinfectant,employing this method report good pores, which could hamper weight loss d ­ ilution rate and quantity not only byresults with air supported nozzles, while and gas exchange during incubation, or reduced numbers of micro-organisms,noting that to achieve even distribution damage the protective cuticle. but also by effects on weight lossof the disinfectant over eggs that are during incubation and the effect ontightly packed on setter trays loaded in cuticula, hatchability and chick quality.setter trolleys, some fine-tuning of air –– Consider the effects of the disinfectantpressure and the supply-pressure and on personnel, equipment and your–speed of the disinfectant solution is environment over the long-term.required. Trials are currently underway tofind a more robust, less sensitive type ofnozzle.14 Pas Reform Academy - Putting science into practice
  17. 17. 14The effects of settingeggs small end up onhatchability and chickperformanceEggs are incubated in setter trays for most Flock Large end up Small end upof the incubation period. Three daysbefore hatch, the eggs are transferred to A Hatchability (%) 97.6 79.5hatcher baskets. In the setter trays the Cull (%) 0.0 3.6eggs are placed vertically with the air cell Grade-A chicks (%) 97.6 75.9(large end) up, while the eggs lie horizon-tally during hatching. B Hatchability (%) 96.9 71.8 Cull (%) 3.0 4.3In normal development, the embryo Grade-A chicks (%) 93.9 67.5begins to turn to its position along thelong axis of the egg at day 14. At day 18, C Hatchability (%) 100.0 84.0the beak is turned to the air cell and Cull (%) 2.0 4.0covered by the right wing. In this position Grade-A chicks (%) 98.0 80.0the embryo can penetrate the inner cellmembrane to gain access to the air in the Reference: Bauer F., Tullet SG and Wilson HR (1990). Effects of setting eggs small end up on hatchabilityair cell – after which breathing starts. and posthatching performance of broilers.This normal sequence of events is The incidence of eggs set upside-down is Advicedisturbed when the eggs are placed with largely dictated by human error and not –– heck each batch of eggs for the Cthe air cell down and the small end up. In by the shape of the eggs. Great variation i ­ ncidence of eggs placed small end upthis scenario, the embryo still turns along between trays in the number of eggs (upside down).the long axis of the egg with the head up placed upside down was observed: some –– ecord the number of eggs placed R– but now, the head is positioned in the trays had none, while others had 10 - 12 upside down.small end of the egg – away from the air eggs placed small end up. Hatchability of –– f the frequency of eggs placed upside Icell. The embryo may die because the eggs set small end up decreased by down is unsatisfactory - investigateinitiation of normal lung breathing is 16 - 27.3 per cent. The percentage of non- and remedy the reasons for misplace-hampered or even blocked. viable chicks from eggs set small end up ment of the eggs. increases, but varies between different –– f the eggs are routinely set in setter IHatchability of eggs placed with small batches of eggs. A hatchery loses 0.2 per trays at the breeding farm, communi-end up decreases from 12 - 30 per cent cent of sellable chicks for each 1 per cent cate the benefits (profit) of goodwhen compared to hatchability in eggs of fertile eggs placed with the small end p ­ lacement and place responsibility forset large end up. However, once hatched up in a setter tray (Bauer et al, 1990). ensuring that eggs are placed correctlyfrom an egg set small end up, the perfor- with farm personnel. Breeder farmmance of chicks is no different to that of personnel should all be aware of thechicks hatched from eggs placed large fact that the hatchery loses 0.2 per centend up. The table on this page shows a of sellable chicks for every 1 per cent ofsummary of data collected from commer- fertile eggs placed small end up in acial hatcheries. Over 3,600 eggs were setter tray.candled from each flock. The percentage ofeggs placed small end up varied between0.29 - 3.4 per cent, irrespective of theshape of the eggs. Pas Reform Academy - Putting science into practice 15
  18. 18. 15The benefits of ­single-stage incubationto food safetyTypically, papers on single-stage New eggs are placed regularly, once or The whole production chain is controlledi­ ncubation focus on the benefits of all-in- twice a week. In the multi-stage system, by strict legislation for chain manage-all-out incubator management from the the climate is controlled by the eggs. ment (tracking and tracing) and hygiene.points of hatchability (number of chicks) The integration of a single-stage hatcheryand uniformity (chick quality). Much less Conversely, single-stage incubation is in such poultry production systems is ais written about the positive impact of based on climate control technology, simple task, because the principle of all-single-stage incubation management on geared specifically to meeting the in-all-out makes the tracking and tracinghatchery hygiene. Yet when food safety is demands of the growing embryo. The of different batches of eggs easy.such a pivotal issue for the modern incubator climate controller provides thehatchery, from tracking and tracing to embryo with heat and cooling as required. To fill the multi-stage incubator, a batchphysical hygiene and biosecurity Set points of temperature, relative of eggs from one supplier must often bemeasures, this is a major benefit that humidity and ventilation are adjusted, separated into smaller batches and placedshould not be overlooked. according to embryonic age. Eggs are in different setters. This complicates placed in empty, disinfected incubators. tracking and tracing, making errors moreBackground likely to arise.Hastings’ invention of the forced-draught Single-stage hatchery managementincubator in 1911 was a great step forward may also be based on the daily routine. And the multi-stage incubator is neverin the technology of large scale incuba- Single-stage incubation programmes, completely empty - making thoroughtors. Cooling in these early, forced-draught once set-up for different eggs types, can disinfection almost impossible. Single-machines was mainly based on air cooling be applied routinely. stage incubation, however, allows for theto prevent the eggs from overheating, and machines to be thoroughly cleaned andvery little on water cooling. The air Hygiene and food safety disinfected every 18 days (betweentemperature was controlled at a fixed set The climate in a multi-stage incubator is batches of eggs).point, by balancing the heat produced by controlled by levels of heat production inolder stage embryos with the heat- ‘older’ eggs, which heats the freshly Adviceabsorption demands of the younger placed eggs by air transfer. However, To enhance food safety at hatchery levelembryos: so-called multi-stage incubation. ‘older’ eggs are not only a source of heat. in the production chain, the single-stage They are also a source of micro-organisms, incubation process delivers benefits notThat innovation has been with us for for example bacteria or fungi, which can available through multi-stage incubationalmost 100 years. And despite an explo- contaminate the ‘younger’ eggs. Add to by:sion in the physical scale of commercial this the risk of exploding or gaseous eggs, –– reventing cross-contamination from Phatcheries, and massive advancements in and contamination early in life may have older to younger egg batches, becauseclimate control technology - simplicity of lasting implications, leading to contami- eggs of different ages need not beincubator management, slow replace- nated broilers with decreased perfor- mixed.ment rates for hatchery equipment and mance, higher mortality - and ultimately –– acilitating the simple identification, Flow labour costs in many countries mean contaminated meat products. tracking and tracing of each hatch.that multi-stage incubation is still –– nabling thorough cleaning and Efavoured by many hatcheries today. Thus, from a hygiene and food safety d ­ isinfection between hatch cycles. point of view, the multi-stage incubatorManagement becomes a source of contamination,The simplicity of multi-stage management which may lead to economic losses atstems from the fact that new, unincubated hatchery level due to lower hatching rateseggs are placed alternately with eggs and chick mortality.containing older, heat producing embryos.16 Pas Reform Academy - Putting science into practice
  19. 19. 16How hatcherymanagement changeswhen starting single-stage incubationManagement in a multi-stage hatchery is incubators can also be cleaned after each –– ollow manufacturer’s guidelines care- Fbased on a daily routine of setting eggs incubation cycle and thus meet high fully when starting the first incubationaccording to a strict setting schedule per hygienic standards of today’s food cycle in the single-stage incubator.setter type. The common principle for production industry. –– eep records for each incubation cycle, Kestablishing a setting schedule in a multi- per egg type used and showing thestage incubator is based on the need to Often, the transition from multi-stage to different management steps taken pertransfer metabolic heat from more single-stage incubation is initiated by the type.d­ eveloped embryos to the less developed, replacement of aged multi-stage incuba- –– se data with respect to hatchability, Uheat-demanding embryos in the early tors by new single-stage equipment, incubation time and chick quality fromstage of embryonic development. without an awareness that hatchery recording forms to fine-tune your management too will need to be adjusted. i ­ ncubation programs.Embryo temperature in a multi-stage Management in a single-stage hatchery is –– rain hatchery personnel so that they Ti­ ncubator is mainly controlled by the certainly not based on a routine, but are fully advised regarding the differentpattern of alternating ‘old’ heat producing rather adjusted to accommodate the management steps required whenembryos and ‘young’ heat demanding needs of a specific egg type. Consequently, using single-stage practices.embryos. The incubators are filled hatchery managers need to learn about –– ighlight the need for change: make Haccording to the direction of the airflow variation in needs of embryos from sure hatchery personnel understandin that specific make or model of different egg types, as defined by strain, that single-stage management requiresi­ ncubator. In addition the temperature flock age and the duration of storage. a different approach to multi-stagecontroller is fixed at a specific set point. management to succeed.Embryo temperature is thus only Advicesupported approximately in multi-stage –– lan size of setters in accordance with Pincubators. size of batches of eggs. A batch of eggs is the total number of eggs produced onManagement in the multi-stage hatchery a specific day by one flock in one farm.cannot accommodate egg quality or the –– reate an overview of the egg types Cneeds of the growing embryo. However, incubated in your has becoming increasingly clear that –– o not mix different batches of egg Dtoday’s modern breeds need a more accu- types. If separating egg types forrate approach to incubation to achieve i ­ ncubation is not possible:high numbers of good quality chicks that • setters with batches of eggs that Fillfully realise their genetic potential have similar characteristics with(Fairchild et al, 2007). Furthermore, the respect to strain, flock age and daysmulti-stage incubator cannot easily be of storage.cleaned - because it is never empty. • Avoid filling one incubator with eggs from flocks more than 5 weeks apartFor these reasons, more and more hatch- in flock age.eries are making the transition from • Avoid filling one incubator with eggsmulti-stage to single-stage incubation from one flock but with more thanmanagement. 5 days’ storage difference. • the incubator has to be filled with IfSingle-stage incubation runs specific more than one batch of eggs, do noti­ ncubation programs such that the combine fresh eggs with eggs storedclimate in the incubator is programmed for more than 5 match the specific needs of thed­ eveloping embryos. Single-stage Pas Reform Academy - Putting science into practice 17