Bell & Evans,  HatchTech and Viscon announced plans for the first humane animal welfare focused chick hatchery in the United States. The future hatchery will be located in Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania.

The companies held a special ceremony where an agreement was signed January 26 at HatchTech’s booth at the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Georgia.

The hatchery, according to Scott Sechler Sr., Bell & Evans owner, founder and president, utlitizes HatchTech’s advanced technology and will help reduce stress in chicks by providing immediate access of fresh food, water, air and light for the newly hatched chicks, something never done before in the U.S. poultry industry. It is the kind of forward-thinking concept that people expect from Bell & Evans, a company that has been groundbreaking in humane poultry production and antibiotic-free poultry production, Sechler said.

Construction of the new facility is expected to begin in the spring of 2016 and Sechler said he hopes it will start setting eggs by October or November.

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The announcement marks new territory for HatchTech and Viscon, both companies based in the Netherlands, for such an endeavor in the U.S. Viscon will supply the new hatchery with state-of-the art live embryo detection.

“I’ve made many trips to Europe in search of our next hatchery system,” Sechler stated. “HatchTech and Viscon are the perfect fit for Bell & Evans, not only because of the advanced technology they offer, but because they are passionate and forward-thinking in what they do. Their focus on humane animal welfare is directly in line with my philosophy to continually reduce stress and improve the welfare and comfort of our chickens. It is a well-designed and thought-out system.”

Joost ter Heerdt, commercial director for HatchTech, said this project is “bringing it to the next level for us,” as it puts its first system in North America.

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