1. Heat treatment during egg storage
It is well-known that storing eggs for multiple days causes a decline in hatchability and egg quality. The longer you store eggs, the higher the losses will be. Stored eggs will have a higher rate of embryonic mortality between days 1 and 3 of incubation and need more hours to complete the incubation cycle time. When this happens, a number of live chicks are rejected at take-off because they hatched too late to be usable. Or the late-hatched chicks are not yet mature enough to go to the farms and will have difficulties to survive or grow optimally. The wider the hatch window, the greater the problem. Even when eggs are stored for shorter periods of time, they might have been subjected to different conditions at the farm, or they might have been mixed with other flock eggs to completely load the machines.
To narrow the hatch window, you should bring the long-stored eggs to a more uniform stage of early embryonic development before incubation starts. Also, when eggs are being stored for a short time, restoring them is beneficial as their variability will be reduced. There is an enormous potential in restoring the viability of stored eggs, and even improving day-old chick uniformity, with heat treatment before incubation. It is crucial, however, to accurately control the key incubation parameters. By using Petersime’s dedicated Re-Store incubator, you can be sure to achieve a consistent successful outcome as this dedicated incubator guarantees a controlled, gradual and precise heating and cooling of the eggs, which is needed to ensure highly consistent results.
2. Thermally balanced loading
Batch mixing is quite common in modern and large-scale incubators. However, you need to load the machines in a pattern that looks for maximum balance and uniformity. Understanding the airflow distribution in the incubators is crucial to achieve more thermal uniformity and a reduced hatch window.
In short, it is best practice to load the incubators according to the airflow distribution in combination with the metabolic heat production of the embryos. For example, for a machine configuration with central mixing fan and cooling/heating elements, put the batches with higher fertility or bigger eggs (those that produce more heat) in the position closest to the pulsator for better heat dissipation. Trolleys with eggs with lower heat production (e.g. with lower fertility) should be put in the middle of the incubator, while the eggs with intermediate heat production should go near the incubator walls. The consequences of a thermally unbalanced machine are greater variation and a wider hatch window.
Not only during the first 18 days of incubation, but also during the hatching phase should you pay attention to thermal balance. It is extremely important to take metabolic heat production into account when transferring the trolleys and positioning them in the hatcher.
3. Active embryo/environment interaction during hatching