As more and more people around the world do their best to decrease their level of waste, shouldn’t hatcheries also be reducing, reusing and recycling more, if not all, of their waste, too? The answer to that question may seem obvious to an outsider, yet insiders know that sustainable disposal of hatchery waste is not an easy challenge to tackle. In this article, we explain why that is the case, and review possible solutions.
Inevitable by-product of hatcheries
The global increase in poultry production makes it vital that we, as an industry, find sustainable, hygienic and cost-effective ways of managing hatchery waste, an inevitable by-product of the hatching process. Even though additional costs may be involved, hatchery waste will always remain an environmental liability that must be accounted for and solved by hatcheries.
It is an aspect of the business that every hatchery must face up to, and although not easy, it makes good economic and environmental sense to step up and find a good solution for waste. More than ever, the hatchery sector must be considerate of the impact its waste management has on public perception.
It is possible
Hatchery waste tends to represent a few tonnes of solid residues and a few hundred thousand litres of water per week, depending on the size of the hatchery and the technologies applied. As far as a hatchery’s location is concerned (i.e. a rural versus an industrial site, and where they are geographically situated in the world), government and health regulations will differ as to what hatcheries can do with their waste.
Ideas for reusing and recycling it into, for example, fertilizers, animal feed, and other useful by-products, can prove difficult to implement without breaking the rules that apply. And because the waste always and inevitably consists of various substances including eggshell debris and fluff, infertile eggs, dead embryos, culled chicks, egg fluids and wastewater, it is a delicate topic. However, there are options available which can be successful if properly implemented and maintained, even creating the possibility to aggregate value to the residues and generate revenue for the hatchery.