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Healthy chicks in healthy poultry chains

"Each hatchery director has his own heaven" is a common saying. It is hardly possible to hatch the exact numbers of chicks for each customer. Even if the aim is to supply each customer chicks from one breeder farm, there will always hatch out less or more chicks than planned and these chicks are not wasted. And what to do with (dirty?) floor eggs? Incubate them "logistically"? In an integrated system, it pays out to simply discard all floor eggs. Hatchability and chick survival will increase, and the use of antibiotics will decrease at least by half. Many more factors during rearing, breeding, egg storage, incubation, chick handling, transport and at the broiler farm will influence the total results of the whole broiler meat chain. Also the slaughter results!

Individual broiler farmers find themselves struggling to survive. But the broiler chain failure costs are so high and this should not be neglected. The biggest challenge is to create a healthy broiler chain where end users (broiler farmers, slaughteries) invest in upstream quality improvements. It will pay out within months, the return on upstream quality investments is huge for all parties involved.

Open information exchange

People start sharing information when they trust each other. Broiler farmers need to accept that they will not always receive chicks from prime flocks. Also chicks from younger or older breeders need to be sold. Sewing or claiming the hatchery for compensation will not contribute to a good understanding. Instead, the hatchery can inform the broiler farmer about the quality of the product they receive, and the broiler farmer can adjust management to make the best out this flock. Information that the broiler farmer and his veterinarian need are:
- flock age
- number of breeds (and flock age) used per broiler house
- technical results of preceding broiler flocks from the same breeder; medicine use, indication and results
- egg storage time; how many eggs stored for how many days
- percentage of floor eggs
- eggs disinfected at breeder farm, hatchery, with what disinfectants and how?
- transport conditions; chick temperature
- arrival time at broiler farm
- so much more!


puzzle The hatchery needs to know if anything changed in the broiler farm management. If a broiler farmer decided to stop preventive antibiotics use, the hatchery needs to know on forehand otherwise chicks from problem flocks may be delivered. It all depends on trust, information exchange and correct interpretation of the right information.

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