Management Of Hatching Eggs In Poultry Industry

Poultry farming has become one the most important aspects of agriculture. Poultry production is an important and diverse component since egg and meat are part of health and diet for larger population all over the world. Poultry production is generally considered as supplementary to other livelihood activities, but poultry is actually a form of saving and insurance, and contributes to income diversification. For better production management of hatching eggs is very important. Following points are consider during hatching egg management:-

Clean hatching eggs

Very dirty eggs should not be used for hatching. If they must be used, they should be dry-cleaned when gathered. The cleaner the shell surface, the less likelihood there will be bacterial contamination and shell penetration. The most important consideration in hatching egg sanitation is to manage the flock so that eggs are clean when gathered. Many factors enter into accomplishing this goal. Sloping wire-bottom rollaway nests, with or without automatic collecting devices, generally result in clean eggs and a minimum of bacterial contamination. Clean eggs can also be produced in conventional box-type nests if nesting material is diligently kept clean by continually replacing soiled material. Egg breakage can be reduced by providing sufficient nests for the peak laying period. The number of floor and yard eggs can be reduced by proper design and location of nests when maturing pullets need them; location and design will vary with the type of house. Nests should be darkened and ventilated, and hens must be prevented from roosting in them at night, because they contaminate the area with fecal deposits. Keeping the litter dry is an aid in preventing soiled nests and nest material. Proper design and construction of the breeder house to create conditions conducive to keeping litter dry aids disease control at the hatching-egg level. Table-egg breeding stock perform satisfactorily in litterless housing either all slat or sloping wire-floor houses and this largely eliminates dirty eggs resulting from tracking litter and feces into the nests. Heavy breeds and turkeys do not perform as well on these floors, so combinations of part slat and part litter are used to aid in litter management. Measures should be taken to prevent Salmonella infections by using Salmonella-free feed ingredients, particularly meat meal, eliminating these pathogens from mixed feed (pelleting), keeping feed clean by good feeding practices and storage facilities, and keeping natural carriers (rodents, wild birds, pets) out of pens and houses. Preventing salmonellosis and other types of enteric infections also helps prevent wet droppings, which contribute to wet litter. Above all, eggs should be gathered frequently, especially in the early part of the day when most hens visit the nests. They should be gathered in clean, dry equipment and held in a dry, dust-free area.

Sanitization of eggs

The shell surface of hatching eggs should be disinfected immediately after gathering. If sanitization or fumigation cannot be done on the farm, it should be done as soon as possible thereafter, preferably before eggs enter the hatchery building or at the entrance to the egg-processing area. The more delayed the sanitization, the less effective it is because the bacteria will have had longer to penetrate the shell. Unsanitized eggs raise the possibility of carrying a serious infection into the hatchery where susceptible newly hatched chicks are present. Because of possible adverse health considerations resulting from the inhalation of formaldehyde fumes, farm and hatchery personnel should be alert for any new and effective shell sterilization compounds and methods that may become available.

Washing and liquid sterilization

Washing eggs with warm detergent solution at a temperature (43-51.8°C) always higher than that of the eggs entering the washing machine at least 16.6°C higher but not to exceed 54°C followed by sanitizing the shells with a chlorine compound, quaternary ammonia product, or other sanitizing agent is routine for commercial eggs. The procedure has been employed successfully with hatching eggs, but some real disasters have occurred where thousands of eggs were contaminated rather than sanitized when dirty water was used, especially in recirculating washing machines. Even if eggs are washed properly, very dirty eggs should be cleaned first by sanding to prevent excessive pollution of the washing solution and equipment. If the iron content of the wash water exceeds 5 ppm, it favors multiplication of certain types of bacteria and creates a serious egg spoilage problem. If egg washing is done, it should be only with a type of machine (brush conveyor type using flow-through wash water principle) that will ensure against contamination with dirty wash or rinse water. Very careful supervision is also necessary to see that all equipment is working properly at all times and is cleaned daily. In some types of machines, if the washing system fails, a few eggs can contaminate the water and, thus, contaminate thousands of others before the problem is detected and corrected. Contaminated eggs in the incubator set off a chain reaction of egg explosions that contaminate surrounding eggs, causing more “exploders” and more contamination. While washing and liquid sterilization of hatching eggs can be done satisfactorily, the procedure is subject to operational difficulties and should not be attempted without full knowledge of the hazards involved. Whenever cold eggs are moved into a warm, humid atmosphere, moisture condenses on the cold shells (called “sweating”). This moisture provides a medium for the growth of bacteria and fungi already present on dirty or unsanitized shells or originates in contaminated warm air around the eggs. Cold eggs should, therefore, be warmed to room temperature in clean, low humidity air before placing them in an incubator.

Storage facilities

After fumigation or other shell sterilization, hatching eggs are frequently stored in a cool room (about 10°C) at the hatchery until set. Cool rooms should be clean and free of mold and bacteria and periodically disinfected to prevent recontamination of shells. Holding hatching eggs too long or under improper storage temperature, humidity, and environment can result in poor quality chicks. Clinical histories indicate that infection in young chicks may sometimes be traceable to fungus-contaminated hatching eggs; infections have been produced experimentally by contaminating shells with fungus spores.

1Dixit K. Parasana and 2Tapan R. Kumbhani

1Ph. D. Scholar, Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Veterinary College, Navsari
2Ph. D. Scholar, Department of Veterinary Pathology, Veterinary College, SKNagar