WATT PoultryUSA - October 2015 - 46

46 ❙ WATT POULTRY USA

■ POULTRY LIVE-PRODUCTION

Early chick feeding adopted by
Holland's largest hatchery
Independent broiler hatchery
employs a system for feeding and
watering chicks in the hatcher to
improve chick quality.
BY TERRENCE O'KEEFE

recently expanded to accommodate more demand for
chicks. The poultry industry in Western Europe is not integrated to the degree that is common in the U.S. Hatcheries
in Europe typically have to compete to become chick
suppliers for independent growers. Because of this, Evert
Kampert, hatchery manager, Lagerwey, said producing
chicks of the highest quality is the company's first priority.

Photo courtesy of HatchTech

» The Lagerwey broiler hatchery in the Netherlands was

» Access to fresh running water in the hatcher prevents
early hatching chicks from dehydrating.

A different kind of hatcher
The Lagerwey hatchery was designed around
equipment from HatchTech, and the new addition utilizes the latest generation of equipment from the company. The HatchCare hatchers installed in the addition
at Lagerwey provide chicks with feed, water and light
in the hatcher. The early feeding this system provides
the chicks stimulates development of their digestive
tract, prevents dehydration, and can improve bird
growth and performance through time of market.
Research has shown that early feeding of chicks
stimulates growth of the intestines and can affect
which genes are "turned on" or expressed depending on the composition of the feed. Over the years,
researchers have tried everything from in ovo feeding

to gel pucks included in chick baskets as means of
providing nutrition to chicks prior to their arrival on
the farm. The results of these efforts have been mixed,
with some of the effects not lasting past a few weeks of
age, but the early feeding concept has intrigued many.
As the number of days post hatch that it takes to
raise chicks to market age has declined - in some cases
to as little as 5 weeks - the 21 days that the fertilized
embryo spends in incubation at the hatchery has become a greater portion of the birds' life. Early feeding
provides the opportunity for broiler and pullet producers to receive chicks that are more fully developed and
ready for life in the poultry house.

Does it pay to offer chicks feed post-hatch? www.WATTAgNet.com/articles/20415
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ October 2015


http://www.WATTAgNet.com/articles/20415 http://www.WATTAgNet.com

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