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Hatchery Tips

Incubation Times

Length of incubation for eggs produced by “Brown Nick” parent stock and stored from one to five days require the following incubation periods:

Length of incubation for eggs produced by “White Egg” parent stock and stored from one to five days require the following incubation periods:

If the hatching eggs are to be held for more than five days, add 1 hour incubation time per storage day exceeding five days.

Evaluating Chick Quality at Hatch

Quality in a product has been defined as the inherent properties which determine the product’s degree of excellence. A day old chick is considered to be of good quality if it is able, given good management, to grow quickly and achieve its maximum genetic potential.

Fortunately for the hatchery manager, there are several characteristics which separate prime quality chicks from second quality chicks. The chick should have a body well developed in both length and in the abdomen. The abdomen should appear filled or plump. The down must shine and stand out well in all directions. The down should not be sticky to the touch. The chicks must have good color according to their breed. The legs must appear relatively stout, and have straight extended toes. The chick must also show an erect stance with clear eyes and act lively when not asleep. The navel must be well closed, dry and smooth, with a slight indentation. Chicks which do not meet these standards are less than prime quality, and are subject to higher mortality. The relationship between chick abnormalities and breeder flock and/or incubation problems appears in the following table.

Analyzing Poor Chick Quality

Examining the chicks after hatch can indicate whether anything went wrong during incubation and how well they will perform in the future. Chicks which appear weak or show serious abnormalities should be culled. Culling improves the average quality of the layer chicks that will be shipped to your customers, and decreases disease susceptibility. (Copied from University of Georgia Poultry Tips.)

 

Observation Possible Cause
Clear Eggs
Bloodring
(embryonic death 2 – 4 days)
  • Diseased breeding flock
  • Incubating temperature too high
  • Incubating temperature too low
  • Old eggs
  • Fumigation between 24 to 96 hours of
    incubation
Dead embryos 2nd week of incubation
  • Temperature too high
  • Temperature too low
  • Eggs not turned
  • Inadequate breeder ration
  • Too much CO2in air (not enough ventilation)
  • Eggs not cooled prior to incubation
Hatch late
  • Temperature too low,
    1 – 19 days
  • Humidity too low, 1 – 19 days
  • Incorrect thermometer
  • Large eggs
  • Old eggs.
  • Temperature too low in hatcher
  • Variable room temperature
Hatch early
  • Temperature too high, 1 – 19 days
  • Incorrect thermometer
  • Small eggs
  • Humidity too high, 1 – 19 days
Air cell too small
  • Temperature too high, 1 – 19 days
  • Inadequate breeder ration
  • Large eggs.
Air cell too large
  • Humidity too low, 1 – 19 days
  • Small eggs
Fully developed embryo dead with beak not in air cell
  • Temperature too high, 19th day
  • Humidity too high, 19th day
  • Inadequate breeder ration
Fully developed embryo dead with beak not in air cell
  • Temperature too high, 20 – 21 days
  • Humidity too high, 20 – 21 daysI
  • Inadequate breeder ration
  • Incubator air circulation poor
Chicks pipping early
  • Temperature too high, 1 – 19 days
Chicks dead after pipping shell
  • Temperature too high, 20 – 21 days
  • Inadequate breeder ration
  • Inadequate air circulation, 20 – 21 days
  • Incorrect temperature, 1 – 19 days
  • Temperature too low immediately after egg transfer is made to hatcher
  • CO2 content of air is too high, 20 – 21 days
  • Thin-shelled eggs
  • Disease in breeding flock
Trays not uniform in hatch or chick
quality
  • Inadequate incubator air circulation
  • Eggs of different sizes
  • Eggs of different breeds
  • Eggs of different age when set
  • Disease or stress in some breeder flock
Sticky chicks (shell, down sticking to
chicks)
  • Humidity too low, 20 – 21 days
  • Temperature too high, 20 – 21 days
  • Down collections not adequate
  • Eggs transferred too late
Sticky chicks (albumen sticking to chick down)
  • Temperature too low, 20 – 21 days
  • Inadequate air in hatcher
  • Air speed too slow, 20 – 21 days;
  • Humidity too high, 20 – 21 days
  • Old eggs
Chicks too large
  • Large eggs
  • Humidity too high, 1 – 19 days
Chicks too small
  • Small eggs
  • Humidity too low, 1 – 19 days
  • Thin, porous shells
  • Eggs produced in hot weather
Crippled chicks
  • Variation in temperature, 1 – 21 days
Mushy chicks
  • Unsanitary incubator conditions
Unhealed navel, dry
  • Humidity too high, 20 – 21 days
  • Temperature too low, 20 – 21 days
  • Inadequate breeder ration
  • Humidity not lowered after hatching completed
Chicks cannot stand
  • Improper temperature, 1 – 21 days
  • Humidity too high, 1 – 19 days
  • Breeder ration inadequate
Unhealed navel, wet and odorous
(mushy chicks) Soft chicks (abdomen).
  • Omphalitis
  • Unsanitary hatchery and incubators
  • Humidity too high, 1 – 19 days
  • Temperature too low, 1 – 19 days
Closed eyes
  • Loose down in hatcher
  • Down collectors not adequate
  • Temperature too high, 20 – 21 days
  • Humidity too low, 20 – 21 days
Chicks dehydrated
  • Humidity too low, 20 – 21 days
  • Eggs set too early
  • Chicks left in hatcher too long after hatch complete
Malpositions
  • Continuous light in incubators
  • Inadequate breeder ration
  • Old breeders
  • Eggs set small end up.

 

Hatchery Records

Accurate hatchery records are essential in order to evaluate overall performance and for use in analysis of hatchability and chick quality problems. The following information should be monitored continuously and recorded regularly.

  • Egg storage conditions.
  • Setter and hatcher conditions including any problems such as high temperature alarms or turning failures.
  • Total hatchability percentage.
  • Percent hatch of saleable pullets.
  • Percent fertility as determined by candling and breakout of eggs incubated 7 to 10 days.
  • Percent hatch of fertile eggs.
  • Early embryonic death (EED) loss as determined by candling and breakout of eggs incubated 7 to 10 days.
  • Middle and late incubation death loss as determined by breakout and analysis of unhatched eggs on hatch day
Table 8: Production Goals “White Egg” Parent Stock
Table 9: Production Goals “Brown Nick” Parent Stock
<< Hatching Egg Management Feather & Color Sexing Guide >>

Table 8: Production Goals “White Egg” Parent Stock

Table 8: Production Goals “White Egg” Parent Stock

Table 9: Production Goals “Brown Nick” Parent Stock Part 1

Table 9: Production Goals “Brown Nick” Parent Stock Part 2