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Principles of single-stage incubation (2)

Part 2: Optimise your incubation performance by means of temperature With single-stage incubation, it is now possible to truly optimise the performance of the incubation equipment, both in terms of hatch and post-hatch performance. As the most important parameter in incubation, temperature has a great impact on the hatchery results. This article deals with different aspects of temperature control during single-stage incubation.      

Roger Banwell, Hatchery Development Manager, Petersime nv

Heat production of eggs

The heat production of an egg is depending on the flock type, flock age and storage time. Genetically, the modern high yield breeds have their own distinctive heat production curves. Biologically, a young embryo differs from an old embryo and the same goes for short stored eggs compared to eggs that were stored for an extended period. The significance of this can be seen in the graph below, which shows 3 different heat production curves.

The figure clearly indicates the differing heat production at a given chronological point (intersection A) and the different timing of the point at which the plateau phase is achieved (intersection B).

The egg surface to egg volume ratio plays an important role as well with respect to energy absorption and dissipation. Briefly, small eggs achieve a core temperature much quicker than large eggs under the same circumstances. Large eggs have more difficulty in dissipating heat in comparison to small eggs.

Egg shell temperature in multi-stage incubation

A well-managed multi-stage incubator can achieve good results. However, to fully optimise both hatch and post-hatch performance, fluctuations in egg shell temperatures should be eliminated. This is impossible in a multi-stage incubator as is shown in the graph below.

Egg shell temperature logging data of a multi-stage incubation cycle

Egg shell temperature in single-stage incubation

Avoiding egg shell temperature fluctuations is perfectly possible in a single-stage incubator. This makes that in single-stage incubation, the egg shell temperature profile can be optimised to maximize hatch and post-hatch performance.

The fine tuning of temperature profiles will always remain site specific since variables such as breeder farm management and nutrition play a role. Keeping in mind that clients have different targets in bird weights and meat yields makes that only individual clients can optimise their performance in such a way.

Many clients have differing programmes aimed at young, mid and old flocks, as is represented in the graph below. Depending on the number of flocks, flock sizes and production requirements, it is also not unusual to see more programmes based around very low fertility or very young flocks for example.

Petersime technology and expertise

The technology of OvoScan™ will automatically control the egg shell temperature by adjusting the air temperature inside the incubator. This makes that fluctuations in egg shell temperature are no longer possible and that the target egg shell temperature is always obtained. The target of OvoScan™ is dictated by the customer’s optimised program.

Petersime’s Hatchery Development Department gladly offers training, guidance and support to optimise incubation programmes or other hatchery practices. The incubation and hatchery experts have tremendous experience and travel the world to share their knowledge and insight with customers.

OvoScan™ egg shell temperature measuring sensor


The heat production and surface to volume ratio of eggs can differ according to flock type, flock age and storage times. Single-stage incubation allows to maximize hatch and post-hatch performance by means of optimising the egg shell temperature profile. With OvoScan™ technology and training by experts, Petersime offers great tools to fully assist their customers.