When it comes to optimizing egg production and having a successful poultry breeding operation, attention to details is paramount. Chad Mason, breeder hatchery manager with Columbia Farms, a division of  House of Raeford, told attendees at the recent  USPOULTRY Hatchery-Breeder Clinic in Nashville, Tennessee, that details like understanding the birds’ reproductive systems and their diets cannot be overlooked.

 “How do we optimize egg production? We all know that a lot of things have to fall into place…programs such as housing and nutrition, but the biggest factor is understanding the reproductive system in both male and female breeders,” said Mason.

As part of his presentation on Breeder Production and Fertility, Mason emphasized the importance of optimizing the feed diets of chicks from the start and monitoring and changing programs when necessary to ensure maximum fertility. He advised that building a healthy male and female reproductive system by avoiding overfeeding and over fleshing ensures maximum fertility and peak production. Mason commented, “Successful breeder management is all in the details, details, details.”

Environmental controls key tosafe transport of chicks


Scott Martin, hatchery specialist with Cobb-Vantress, gave a presentation at the clinic on Chick Holding and Post Hatch. He stressed that establishing environmental controls for safely transporting chicks to farms should be every hatchery manager’s concern. During transport, he stressed, “It is imperative to avoid conditions that may cause chick mortality for the first few days, such as dehydration and lethargic, overheated birds.”

Focus on feed, lighting andfertility  

Josh Cox, technical service manager with Hubbard LLC, provided a best practice overview of Breed Changes … Effects on Feeding, Lighting and Fertility Programs from a broiler management perspective. Cox asserted how paying attention to the details will determine optimal performance. He noted how the genetic changes over the last 50 years have caused a six-fold improvement in broiler yields. However, it is now essential for breeder managers to perfect their breeder management by controlling the tendency for excessive weight gain in males and females and preventing loss of fertile eggs. To do this, having a good feed, lighting and fertility program in place is crucial.