Aviagen Turkeys has completed its $4.5 million hatchery expansion and refurbishment in Lewisburg, West Virginia.

Executives from Aviagen and Aviagen Turkeys joined colleagues in Lewisburg to see these investments in the turkey industry. 

"This is an exciting time in the company,” said Jihad Douglas, president of Aviagen Turkeys. “Our investment in genetics has allowed us to develop turkeys that perform well for the industry and are in great demand. Our owner, the EW Group, is committed to supporting the turkey business and investing in first class infrastructure to meet the increasing demand for Nicholas poults."

Improvements to the hatchery

Curt Brammer, vice president of operations, developed the design for the hatchery renovation with input from the expertise of John Sims, Aviagen hatchery specialist. Their aim was to double the hatching capacity and improve the workflow of the existing facility.

According to Brammer: “We added over 35,000 square feet and completely refurbished the existing hatchery, increasing the setting capacity to over 11 million eggs per year. The project included replacing all of the incubation and hatching equipment as well as most of the wiring and other equipment in the hatchery. In addition to better hatch performance, the facility is much more energy efficient with new HVAC units and LED lighting and we’ve reduced our cardboard usage by 95 percent.” 

Brent Poage, hatchery manager, remarked: “Now that the expansion is complete, it is like working in a new hatchery. All of the existing machines were replaced with new single-stage Chickmaster equipment including 32 incubators and 16 hatchers. These machines allow us to set more eggs in the space available and achieve more consistent results. The new floorplan also provides space in the service room for a more efficient workflow and the egg room addition makes it easier to manage the number eggs that move in and out each day.”

Improvements to delivery vehicles

Aviagen Turkeys has also continued to upgrade its fleet of delivery vehicles. $2 million has been invested in delivery vehicles including seven trucks and two 53 foot trailers that have been added to the fleet.

All of the poult delivery equipment was built by Smithway, Inc. 

 “We work hard to produce high quality breeding stock and we need to make sure we deliver poults to the customer in good condition,” said Danny Dodrill, transportation manager. “Our drivers take pride in caring for the poults during transport. These vehicles allow them to monitor and control the poults’ environment so they can get off to a good start on the farm.”