What is Hatchery? Hatchery is a place for hatching fertile eggs to produce “day old chicks” (D.O.C), which you will buy to start poultry farm on your own. Hatchery may be on large or small scale depending on the size of the Incubator.
Incubator is a box like apparatus for hatching fertile eggs by artificial warmth in the hatchery room. There are two types of incubators and they are: Setter Incubator and Hatcher Incubator.
Procedures in Chicks Production
Production of “Day Old Chicks” (D.O.C) start with the brood eggs laid by the breeders which consist of Cocks and Hens. The brood eggs laid are to be collected in the deep litter houses and stored in the cold room after disinfection in the fumigation room. Thereafter, eggs will be taken to the setter incubator for setting.
The crossing of the birds (Breeders) ranging from ratio 1-10, that means that if you have 1000 hens in the deep litter house, you are to mix them with 100 cocks in order to produce fertile eggs to be hatched.
Qualitative / Good hatchable eggs are the medium sized without any deformity, thick shell and clean. The selected eggs for hatching will be arranged in the setting trays and they will be pointed edge downwards while bad eggs are normally noticed through their oblong shapes, dirty shell and cracks.
Best position to set the eggs inside the incubator
Fumigation: As earlier mentioned above, the selected eggs for hatching would be fumigated with Carbolic Acid for up to 5-10 minutes to disinfect the eggs from bacteria.
Cold Room: After fumigation, eggs would be transferred to the cold room where they will be for 7days with a temperature of about 55ºF and 60-70ºC humidity.
Setter Incubator: After the 7th day of eggs in the cold room, eggs will be set in the setter incubator. The eggs will be there for 18 days with a temperature of 99.5ºF and humidity 60-70ºC while eggs will be turned every 3 hours and this is achieved automatically by the setter incubator.
Candling Room: After spending 18days in the setter Incubator, eggs will be removed out for testing in the candling room to differentiate the fertile from the infertile ones.
The fertile eggs usually under the candling lamp would appear dark inwardly while the infertile ones would be removed away to create enough space for the fertile eggs for easy air circulation and optimum humidity.
Hatcher Incubator: The fertile eggs will be set in the hatcher trays and the trays that contain the eggs transferred into the hatcher incubator where they would be for 3days with a temperature of 98.5ºF and 60-70ºC humidity.
After the 3rd day in the hatcher incubator, eggs must have been hatched and the chicks are out lively. Thereafter, chicks would be vaccinated with intra-ocular (I/o) vaccines and are ready to be sold to farmers.
However, farmers are advised to buy their “Day Old Chicks” (D.O.C) from reputable hatchers and if the chicks are not vaccinated before you buy them, arrangement must be made with the veterinarian, for that and quickly too.
Poultry farmers should also observe the following list whenever they are buying their “Day Old Chicks” (D.O.C).
Bright, round alert eyes
Well spread toes and legs
Nostrils and eyes are fresh of discharge
Freedom from defects of any type
Eating and drinking well.