As opposed to natural methods where the hen sits on the eggs, commercial hatcheries customarily rely on artificial incubators. Chicken hatchery business is more than the ordinary raising of chicken. It basically entails the regular production and supply of day old chicks by artificial incubation.
There can be variations in the nature of the hatcheries such that it may be part of a breeding farm, an arrangement where day old chicks and parent stocks are produced or where the breeding stock is not maintained but eggs are purchased to produce day old chicks.
A vibrant parent stork that supplies the eggs for hatching has to be maintained if eggs are not going to be purchased. Young chicks that are not going to be sold must be considered as well as adult chicken that go broody. Other poultry species such as ducks, turkeys, guinea fowl, quails and pigeons can also be integrated into the hatchery.
You will need a licence to operate a hatchery. This licence can be obtained from the Veterinary Department. It is issued after the department is satisfied that the premises meet all phytosanitary requirements and do not expose humans and the environment to pollution and health hazards. Although this project does not fall within the control of the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) it will be important to have a good environmental management plan to ensure that the waste produced from the hatcheries does not affect the local population.
The turnover rate should be the basic concern because it determines the finances required to set up and run the business. The size of the perceived poultry market, whether local, external or a combination is a good indicator on the size of the hatchery to be set up. For the local market you need to investigate the following in order to determine the demand and therefore the appropriate size of the hatchery:
You need to look for the following when selecting a site for the hatchery:
The design and construction must take into account the sanitation, control of temperature, humidity and diseases. Use appropriate building materials to prevent leaks and draughts. The floor should be flat, smooth and easy to clean and the height from floor to ceiling should be about 3.4 to 3.8m. Because of the necessity for regular washing and disinfection the inside walls should be covered by hard non-absorbent finish and tiles are preferred.
In order to minimize the risk of disease transmission between eggs and chicks, arrange the personnel and egg flow such that there is minimum or no back tracking by staff. Separate the personnel who work in the hatchery from those working in the breeder farm.
The building should provide rooms for
Where the heating system uses electricity it is important to install a standby generator in cases of power failure. Power failure causes failure of temperature and humidity system.
Place a cock for every 10 hens in a separate building. Provide laying nests and other equipment necessary for production.
Poultry operations pose high risks of disease transmissions which at times can become epidemics of high proportions. Health and sanitary precautions must therefore be strictly adhered to. You must design and implement an effective and comprehensive health and safety programs that comply with international standards. The following sanitary procedures are recommended:
Other than for your own business, it is a requirement that the following records are properly kept.
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