ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

Why to perform breakout analyses in your hatchery

3 March 2020, at 9:55am

To achieve good hatchability and chick quality, bird eggs need careful management from the time they are laid to the time they hatch. Breakout analyses are a valuable tool in the hatchery manager’s hatching egg management arsenal. By making breakouts part of the quality control procedure in your hatchery, you will be able to improve your hatch results in the long term.

What exactly is a breakout analysis?

Simply put, it’s carefully examining clear or unhatched eggs by opening them up to determine why the embryo has not developed or hatched. The egg content reveals whether an egg was infertile, if microbiological contamination occurred, or at which stage of incubation the embryo died. Hence, a breakout can be seen as a very useful tool for both solving problems (e.g. a sudden drop in hatchability) and looking for areas to improve hatch performance.

Three good reasons to perform breakouts

A first good reason to perform breakouts is to gain insight into the causes of a disappointing hatch. There are times in the hatchery when hatches do not go according to plan and you find yourself with far fewer chicks than you estimated. At these times, breakouts are the only reliable way to identify what caused the losses.

Breakout analyses are also used to evaluate new incubation profiles over current ones to improve results. For example, you may want to increase weight loss by lowering humidity or increasing setter ventilation, or you may want to eliminate unhealed navels by lowering hatcher temperatures. In these cases, eggs from the same flock laid on the same day should be used in both the ‘control’ machines and the ‘trial’ machines. It is important that only one changed setting is tested per trial so you can reliably establish the difference that setting made.

However, the greatest value of breakouts is found in historical analysis. Routine breakouts, data amalgamation and interpretation can highlight trends and allow you to properly evaluate breeder farms, conditions during egg holding, handling and transport, as well as individual setter and hatcher performance. In this case, each breeder flock should be examined weekly and the data should be put into a database for periodical analysis. It’s only by building this kind of ‘database’ that you have a good baseline for investigating hatchability problems when they arise.