Every hatchery manager and breeder farmer’s nightmare is to hatch excellent day-old chicken. Here, you will learn the best practices how to hatch quality day old chicks.
Here are 10 best practices to get the best and health day-old chickens from the hatchery.
Day old chicken doc meaning
Day-old chickens or in short doc can be described as chicks that break out of their shell on the first day in the hatcher. In most cases, chicks are no longer described as doc after the 14 days period of brooding.
Best practices to get a good hatch
1. Quality of Parent stock
Parent stocks are your first point of having a quality hatch of doc. What should you consider as a good parent stock:
- Parents should be in good health; free from any form of disease and infections which can easily be transferred to the day old chicks.
- Ensure a good ratio of females to males ratio in your pen. 1 male: 10 females ratio has always been the best.
- Put your parent on a regular vaccination routine.
- Feed parents the right amount of feed very early in the morning.
- And one factor in selecting a breed for parents is checking bird performance. Read here how to select a breed for production.
2. Egg collection
Egg collection helps to ensure the success of high-quality day-old chickens. Avoid leaving the eggs in the nest for an extended period of time. Collect eggs at regular intervals of a few hours. Setting 3-hour intervals to collect eggs from the pen during the day can not only avoid breakages but also bacterial diseases like salmonella infection.
3. Cold storage
One of the most important aspects of proper hatchery operation is egg storage. Unless you are certain that the eggs will be in the incubator in less than three days, it is recommended to store the eggs in the cold room after egg collection.
What temperature should an egg be stored at?
At 16 Degrees Celcius or 60.8° Fahrenheit.
How long can eggs be kept in cold storage?
For a maximum of 14 days. Eggs stored for more than 14 days will have poor-quality chicks.
4. Pre-warming of eggs
It’s always a great thing to let the eggs dry before putting them in the incubator. Prewarming the eggs at the ambient temperature helps the coldness from the cold chamber to dissipate, leaving the eggs dry.
5. Setting eggs
Setting the eggs in the egg tray takes some time, but it is well worth it. You must ensure that the eggs are not broken. Setting cracked eggs results in contamination since the egg begins to leak during incubation.
6. Incubator Temperature
The temperature at which eggs are incubated is critical for optimal embryo development.
What temperature do you incubate chicken eggs?
The optimal temperature to incubate chicken eggs is in the range of 37.00 to 37.5 Degrees Celcius or 99.5 Degrees Fahrenheit
What temperature is too high for incubating chicken eggs?
Temperature above 37.5 Degrees Celcius or 99.5 Degrees Fahrenheit will kill the embryos.
7. Incubator Humidity
Incubation humidity is intended to keep the incubator humid during incubation. The absence of absolute dryness in the incubator results in high temperatures, which can impair the hatchability of day old chickens. The ideal humidity necessary for a successful should be in the 60-70 percent range.
8. Turning frequency
Ensure that the eggs are turned on a frequent basis to ensure optimal heat distribution to all parts of the growing embryo. In automated incubators, the eggs are rotated at a 40-degree angle every hour. However, if you are using a manual incubator, you must follow the same hourly rotating approach.
9. Temperature at hatch
The eggs sent to the hatcher should not be left unattended after 18 days of incubation and candling. The reason for this is that even at 37.5 degrees Celsius or 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature within the hatcher may rise without being detected by the sensor when chicks start coming out. Regular thermometer checks on the transferred eggs within the first three days of hatching will increase the hatchability and quality significantly.
10. Power backup
A final thought on the practices, always set a stand by electricity back up or whatever power source the hatchery relies on, power failure can cause program cell death apoptosis in embryo development.