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Hatching Egg Care

Chick weight at hatch is directly related to the weight of the hatching egg. Flock sizes are becoming so large that it is difficult to supply the number of chicks requested in a single hatch or from a single parent source. Uniformity of commercial pullets is extremely important in attaining future production goals. To assist in attaining uniformity, it is suggested that eggs be set according to parent source flock and this grouping be maintained until chicks are placed in the brooder house. Research indicates that grouping hatching eggs in 4 g increments—and maintaining chicks hatched from each group separately—significantly reduces the size variability of chicks at 4 weeks of age.

Hatching eggs should be gathered a minimum of twice daily or more during extremely hot weather. Eggs should be stored at 18°C (65°F) with a relative humidity between 70 and 80%. Hatching eggs should be sanitized using products specifically developed for this purpose.

Hatching eggs should not be kept longer than 10 days from the day they were laid. Best hatches will result when eggs from 3 to 7 days of age are used. When it is necessary to save eggs longer than 10 days, a temperature of 13°C (55°F) with a relative humidity between 70 and 80% is recommended. Temperatures below this will result in an unsatisfactory hatch.

Hy-Line W-36 and Hy-Line Sonia hatching eggs should come from a flock that is at least 23 weeks of age and weigh a minimum of 50 g per egg. Hy-Line Brown, Hy-Line CV-22, and Hy-Line Silver Brown hatching eggs should come from a flock that is at least 22 weeks of age or older and weigh a minimum of 50 g per egg. Smaller eggs from younger flocks can be used, although it should be realized that chick size and early livability will not be optimum.

It is extremely important that once eggs are cooled, they be maintained at a temperature that does not allow them to 'sweat' (i.e., gather moisture from being exposed to warm, humid air). The truck transporting the eggs from a cooler at the farm to the hatchery should be capable of keeping the eggs cool enough to avoid sweating.

Incubation and hatching
Pre-warming of all Hy-Line hatching eggs is recommended to achieve maximum yield and uniformity of hatch time. This is accomplished by removing the eggs from the cooler 8 to 12 hours prior to setting, and storing at a temperature of 24°C (75°F) during this time. Provide adequate air movement in the pre-warming area to reduce sweating and provide uniform temperature to all eggs.

Under normal conditions, the Hy-Line W-36 and Hy-Line Sonia eggs will achieve optimum hatch in 21 days and 6 hours. The Hy-Line Brown, Hy-Line CV-22, and Hy-Line Silver Brown may require 21 days and 8 hours. Age of eggs will influence hatch times. Allow 1 additional hour of incubation for every day beyond 10 days of egg age.

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