"Make sure you are inspecting what you expect," said Joe Steed, hatchery manager for Perdue Farms, at United States Egg & Poultry Association's 2013 Hatchery-Breeder Clinic held in Birmingham, Ala. The clinic gathered hatchery and breeder managers from the poultry and egg industry to discuss issues impacting the industry.
Steed emphasized the importance of checking the data and numbers generated for the setter, hatcher hall and hatcher rooms in his presentation, Monitoring Pull Times and Temperatures for Optimum Hatchability and Chick Quality. "Do not assume people know how to use the tools provided. Check the data that you have. Check your numbers," he said.
Dale Simpkins, breeder manager for Longenecker's Hatchery, gave a presentation on optimum brooding conditions and house set-up. He said the first three days is the most critical time in a chick's life. During this time, it is import to allow for yolk sac absorption, maternal antibodies absorption and the utilization of nutrients and vitamins. Chicks have to eat and drink for these changes to occur.
Simpkins continued that water is the most important factor in chickens getting an optimum start Producers need to watch and listen to the chicks and communicate regularly with growers. "The better the breeder chick starts, the better the breeder flock," he said.
In his presentation on egg hatching, Scott Martin, hatchery specialist with Cobb-Vantress, emphasized the importance of gathering eggs properly and not wetting the eggs. Martin addressed the optimum conditions needed for proper sanitation, handling and storage of hatching eggs.
Paul Bredwell, vice president of environmental programs for the U.S. Egg & Poultry Association, gave an update on the environmental concerns for hatcheries and breeder farms. He discussed existing litigation involving the industry and reviewed new information collection efforts, the estimation of emissions from farms, adoption of numeric nutrient criteria and increased regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency.