Hatching egg management

The fertile egg contains a living embryo which has all the genetic potential of H&N International. In order to enable embryo express this potential during incubation and later in life as pullet and laying hen, good hatching egg quality is essential.


  • Egg should weigh a minimum of 50 g and from a flock of 22 weeks of age or older to be incubated. In case of chicks delivered over long distance a minimum of 52 g is recommended.
  • For best hatchability and chick quality, the Ideal egg weight is between 58 to 61g. Control the egg size to achieve this goal: lighting program, nutrition and pullet body weight.


  • Only incubate CLEAN eggs. Floor and system eggs are not hatching eggs. This selection must be done at the farm, therefore NEVER A DIRTY EGG SHOULD ENTER THE HATCHERY.
  • Only incubate egg with normal shape and good shell quality (discard eggs with hairlines cracks).
  • Quality control of the egg selection must be in place to evaluate the procedures: routinely check 60 to 90 eggs and calculate % of dirty,up-side downs, hailrines, etc. Record the result.


  • Disinfect as soon as you collect the eggs, while they are still warm (within 2 hours from laid).
  • Only use product labeled for hatching eggs application.
  • Always follow the directions: doses, exposition time and method of application.
  • When is a high incidence of early deads (< 24 hours) is good to check the fumigation method.


  • Good nest: enhances nesting behavior, keeps the eggs clean, and prevents damage on egg shell.
  • Keep the nests clean. In manual nest always have clean, deep enough (2.5 cm / 1 inch), and good quality bed material.
  • It is extremely important to keep a daily nest control. In manual nests, change the bed material and/or sanitize nest on time (every two weeks in automatic nests: daily and before start collecting egg must
    check the status of all nests (for example, if they are any mssing covers or are all 100 % open) Check for non-productive females hiding inside the nests.
  • Close the nest 2–3 hours before lights-off and open them back again before lights on. Never leave the nests open overnight..


  • Collect the egg as frequent as possible. Preventing eggs pilling up in nests and belts.
  • In manual nest, at least 4 times per day under normal temperature (18–25 °C). In summer/hot climate more frequently. Keep in mind that the goal is gather more than 90 % of the eggs in the first 7 hours after lights on.
  • In automatic nest, do not wait more than 3 hours since the start of the lighting period and do it continuously for the first 4 hours to avoid hairlines cracks.
  • Egg collection is better in either disinfected plastic or setter trays. Always use trolleys that allow good air circulation among the eggs. Place the eggs in the trays with the air cell up (rounded end up)
  • Never leave eggs overnight in the nests or belts.


  • After disinfection, quikly store the hatching eggs under optimal condition (within 5 hours from laid).
  • Variation in temperature and condensation must be avoided all time.
  • Important is have a good air circulation to create an even environment.
  • Control temperature and humidity all the time. Use min/max termometer and digital termometer/higrometer. The use ofdata loggers is recommended.
  • If eggs stay for more than 3 days at the farm storage room, is necesary to control (75 to 85 % RH).
  • Control temperature and humidity all the time. Use min/max termometer and digital termometer/higrometer. The use ofdata loggers is recommended.
  • Do not place controllers or sensors in direct airstream of the AC equipment.
  • When is not possible to have rooms with different temperatures a rule of thumb is to keep the eggs between 15 to 17 °C (59 to 62.6 °F) and a relative humidity of 75 to 85 %.


  • The transportation of hatching eggs from farm to hatchery is critical: avoid temperature fluctuations, bumps, and prevent condensation.
  • Monitor the temperature during transportation. Best option is placing temperature data logger(s) inside the truck box.
  • Clean and disinfect the truck box prior use.
  • Only use the trucjk to transport hatching eggs and nothing else.

Condensation on the egg shell impairs the natural mechanisms of defense and provide an ideal environment for bacteria growth.


  • Place the eggs in setter trays soon after arrival to have good air circulation and cooling effect.
  • The storage room must have good air movement.
  • When eggs are stored for longer than 10 days, SPIDES is recommended.
  • Check the cleaninless of the equipment having contact with the hatching eggs. For example, setter trays, suction heads of egg lifters, etc.


Hairlines cracked eggs have low hatchability and poor chick quality. In case of a high incidence (> 2 %) a complete analysis of the hatching egg flow must be performed, identifying the impact points. Calculating the % of hair lines before and after impact points will identify equipment factor that could be damaging the egg shell. Example of impact points: nest, egg belt, egg lifter, conveyor, packing machine, etc.