The supreme objective of egg production is to produce those fertile eggs that are strong, healthy and of high quality. The required quantities of eggs, optimal hatchability and chick quality may not be achieved in cases where there are problems in the breeders. Diseases may affect overall performance but certain diseases directly affect egg production. These include NewCastle, Mareks, Infectious bronchitis, Mycoplasma gallisepticum among others.
Strict monitoring of these diseases must be adhered to if a farmer is to achieve optimal and quality production and adequate preventive and control measures put in place which range from vaccines, antibiotics and total elimination through strict bio security measures. The presence of gastro intestinal diseases will significantly affect egg production and can also cause diarhoea which leads to production of eggs contaminated with faeces as a result of a dirty cloaka or wet chicken house floors that are not routinely cleaned.
Egg Size and Sexual maturity
Chicks that are hatched from very small eggs ordinarily have a higher mortality rate than their bigger counterparts. This result of this is that there will be poor meat production in the future. The farmer should monitor eggs every week to ensure only those with the highest pedigree are allowed to continue the generation and help in production of healthy chicks and thus quality meat.
Fertile eggs collected should be immediately disinfected and cleaned of all other litter, feathers, faeces among other contaminants.
Fertile eggs should be collected atleast 4 to 6 times daily. This reduces incidences of unclean or cracked eggs.
Storage Duration vs performance
Farmers or managers of hatcheries should understand that the longer eggs are kept or stored, the lower the hatchability percentage. This also has a great effect on the broiler or mature chicken raised in the field.
This should be monitored at 7 to 12 days of incubation. Continuous monitoring of fertility through candling will enable the farmers to recognize changes in fertility levels mostly downwards and put in place adequate measures to correct it for example through spiking breeder cocks with younger roosters.
Egg holding Vs Hatchability
In order to achieve maximum percentage of hatchability, eggs should be stored in the egg room not more than 3 days before they are loaded into a hatching machine and the temperature maintained at 18 degrees Celsius (65 degrees Fahrenheit) and a relative humidity of 78% to help conserve the internal integrity of the eggs.
The table below shows the decline in hatchability with increase in storage days of the eggs based on trials carried out in a hatchery.
|Day of storage||Percentage hatchability|
As a general rule, farmers should ensure that as egg storage time increases, the storage temperature should go down while the relative humidity should go up to help prevent dehydration.
Positioning of Eggs during storage and setting
Many farmers may not be aware of it, but the percentage of hatchability and broiler or mature chicken performance heavily relies on how the eggs are stored and how they are set in the hatchery. If you want to achieve desired results, always eggs must always be incubated with the large end facing up and stored with the small end up if they are to be stored for more than 7 days before incubation.
This is where it all begins for the farmer in the path to optimum production, commercialization and profitability and must therefore be done right.
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