The brand-new L'Œuf d'Or hatchery benefits from the latest concepts and technologies in animal welfare, health safety and renewable energy. For this showcase hatchery, the company chose to work with Petersime for the design and delivery of incubators and HVAC.
In the first hatchery in Wallonia, the French-speaking southern part of Belgium, dignitaries cut the ribbon to open its doors. It is a brand-new state-of-the-art hatchery with a maximum capacity of only 200,000 chicks per week. The hatchery does not concentrate on volume, but on animal welfare and the production of superior-quality slow-growing organic chicken.
A family affair
Steven Vervaeke explains that the hatchery is part of a larger collaboration between two families, experienced and passionate about the trade: the Van Ryckeghem family, already a major player in the Belgian alternative poultry sector, and the Vervaeke family, founder of Vervaeke Hatchery and shareholder of the Belgabroed Group. These two partners intend to preserve a family-oriented management for the hatchery, close to their clients, as they have done in their respective companies. Their joint project extends from Belgium to the Netherlands, through France, but also Vietnam and Myanmar. For their newest showpiece, L'Œuf d'Or (‘the Golden Egg’) has put its trust again in long-time partner Petersime.
As Steven Vervaeke puts it: “From the early stages of this project, we discussed the concept of this hatchery with Petersime as our preferred equipment partner for our hatchery projects within the Group. The Petersime team working on this project fully understood the goals L’Œuf d’Or wanted to achieve. Petersime’s specialists were instrumental in converting our ideas into a workable floor plan and into tailor-made technical solutions in line with the mission of the new hatchery.”
Respect for the animal
At L'Œuf d'Or, respect for the animal is an essential point. The whole hatchery is designed with a focus on maximizing chick welfare. Any mechanical manipulation that could cause stress or discomfort in the chick has been excluded from the process. The birds will not encounter any conveyor belts or chick counters. All chick handling steps - including vaccination and counting - are done manually, from hatching to delivery to maximize the chick’s comfort.
In addition, the chicks are vaccinated in ovo even before hatching, which also improves their welfare. It is a local hatchery. The village of Andenne is at the center of all its customers, greatly reducing the distance and the cost of transport. Again, this time factor reduces stress in the chick.
It shouldn’t surprise you that L'Œuf d'Or chose for Petersime incubators inspired by nature. Equipped with Embryo-Response Incubation™ technology, the machine perfectly mimics the behaviour of the parent bird and guarantees a constant interaction between the embryo and its incubator environment. The machine behaves in such a way as if the eggs would be laying in a hen’s clutch.
Respect for the environment
Hatchery manager François Cuisinier tells us about the use of 100% renewable energies: energy recuperations, heat pumps and the purchase of green energy. The entire roof is covered in solar panels. No greenhouse gas emissions are released into the atmosphere when solar panels are used to create electricity, making electricity from solar power a very important energy source in the move to clean energy production.
A confident look into the future
L'Œuf d'Or has invested in a new project in the heart of Wallonia. By making this investment of six million euros, the two partners express their confidence in the future of Belgian alternative poultry meat production. In fact, the demand for organic and alternative chickens has been growing in both Belgium and the Netherlands for over ten years. The first instalment of the hatchery's work completed in February 2018 enabled the company to start with a production of 130,000 chicks a week. The design of the building allows to consider future expansions and to be involved, in the long term, in the rise of a sustainable sector in full adequacy with the new expectations of consumers.