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Investigating Hatchery Practice

by 5m Editor
1 January 2010, at 12:00am

A Ross Tech publication published in October 2009. By Dr Steve Tullett, consultant for Aviagen specialising in incubation and fertility.

Executive Summary

In this document, the biological targets which need to be met in the chicken hatchery to ensure good hatchability and chick quality, and how to assess, measure and incorporate these into routine quality control programmes are described.

Author, Dr Steve Tullett

Several traits should be recorded and monitored on an ongoing basis within the hatchery, including fertility (a number of different ways to identify infertile eggs are described) and embryonic mortality patterns. Accurate identification of fertility is important if the appropriate corrective action is to be taken when candling clears are high. The pattern of embryonic mortality and the identification of certain abnormalities and malpositions will provide an indication of when incubation conditions are inappropriate. Targets for these traits are given for different flock ages for both detailed and simplified breakouts.

The document also covers methods for monitoring egg weight loss to transfer and chick yields at take-off, which should be around 12 per cent and 67 per cent of the fresh egg weight respectively. Monitoring egg surface temperatures is also important as this will show when the eggs come up to temperature too slowly (increasing early dead mortality) and if they become overheated in the later stages of incubation (increasing late mortality and culls). Monitoring egg surface temperatures will also provide useful information for changes in future incubation temperature programmes.

Regular monitoring of the biological outcomes of incubation is vital for identifying when incubation conditions are below optimal and in determining what needs to be changed in order to improve hatchability.

Contents

Click on the links below for each section of this publication.

updated March 2010