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With the reduction in antibiotic use in poultry production, good hatchery biosecurity has become an even more important practice in the hatchery. There is no place for dirty eggs at the hatchery, according to hatchery consultant Scott Martin. He told the audience at Merial’s “Let’s Speak Hatchery Solutions” seminar prior to VIV Asia in Bangkok, Thailand, that dirty eggs should be sorted out at the breeder farm and not allowed into the hatchery. He said bringing dirty eggs to the hatchery is an unnecessary biosecurity risk. Proper nest care in the breeder house to keep the nests clean, and timely egg-gathering practices will result in clean eggs. You shouldn’t wash hatching eggs, according to Martin. Washing eggs removes part of the cuticle; with cuticle loss, the egg loses some of its protection.

Dr. Keith Bramwell, associate professor, University of Arkansas, who also spoke at the event, said sanding or wiping off hatching eggs -- which are two common on-farm methods for “cleaning” eggs -- are not effective. He shared the results of research that showed dirty eggs that were either sanded or wiped off experienced the same decreased rate of hatch when incubated as did eggs that were not “cleaned” prior to incubation.

Martin said dry fumigation of hatching eggs on the farm can be effective, but that no means of wet disinfection works on the farm. Bramwell said that, if done properly under carefully controlled conditions, cleaning the eggs can be beneficial. The problem is it usually isn’t done properly on the farm. The temperature of the liquid used for cleaning has to be maintained at the same temperature as the egg. He said producers are much worse off if they clean eggs than if they don’t clean eggs at all. Proper ventilation provides the best biosecurity for the hatchery, according to Martin. He said it may not be possible to eliminate all condensation in the hatchery, but that you must control it. Controlling condensation in the hatchery requires the right amount of air movement, proper temperature and relative humidity control, and the appropriate static pressure in the right places. He said that if a room needs to have positive pressure, then it can’t be beside another room with positive pressure; you would need a room or hallway with negative pressure between the two positive-pressure rooms.

By Terrence O'Keefe
Published in News
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