Hatcheries: What Goes on Behind the Scenes?

Discussion in 'Chicken Breeders & Hatcheries' started by eatmorechicken, Dec 31, 2010.

  1. eatmorechicken

    eatmorechicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just curious, what is it like at hatcheries? How do they count their chickens before they hatch. It seems odd to me that they can offer a curtain amount of chicks before hatching them. what happens if they cannot fill an order? What do they do with surplus chicks. Do they breed there own chickens, or buy eggs from wholesalers? I can't imagine all hatcheries breed their own cornish cross broilers. What are some other management practices that we just don't think about? just a few questions I have been hanging on to for a while. I'm sure every hatchery is different, but I'm interested to read about what you know.
     
  2. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

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    Hatcheries that aren't "drop ship" types all hatch and breed their own chickens. If you notice the arieal photographs of their buildings, they're all indoor warehouses, filled with large pens of each breed they do. The roosters and hens of each breed are mixed together, and I'm sure they're fed and given the same lifestyle as any other commercial poultry industry.

    As for the counting, I would guess that they count each chick while sexing them, then sort the sexed and unsexed ones out from there. If the numbers are low, they use "substitutes" (it even asks on your order form) which are chicks of a breed you preferred to sub for a chick you couldn't get.

    Drop-Ship hatcheries simply receive chicks from another hatchery (for example, MyPetChicken gets their stock from Meyer & Gabbard) then ships continuously on to you.
     
  3. enggass

    enggass Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here's a video on Meyer's:


    and Cackle:
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2010
  4. annie3001

    annie3001 My Girls

    Jun 11, 2009
    Ct.
    I never saw that video! Awesome!! [​IMG]
     
  5. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

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    Yes, and Murray McMurray as well as Ideal Hatchery also have vids of how they do business as well, but ALL of the hatcheries have the same thing in common - none of them show how the environment and treatment is of the parent stock, the hens that lay the eggs; the roosters that fertilize the eggs, the diet they eat, the air they breath, the space they get. . . [​IMG]
     
  6. kla37

    kla37 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I'd like to see that.
     
  7. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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    Hatcheries don't for the most part house their own parent stock, they contract out to breed farms who supply their hatching egg's. Hatcheries have many different breed suppliers. for those who ever wondered why the Hatcheries chickens look far from what they should look like, Their breed farmers don't really care what the bird looks like as long as it continues to lay 40 Bazillion egg's, so they can introduce whatever they want to increase egg production and still maintain some semblance of what appears to be the breed.

    AL
     
  8. Hankow Fowl

    Hankow Fowl Out Of The Brooder

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    Here is a video from Murray McMurray :
     
  9. eatmorechicken

    eatmorechicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here's a video on Meyer's:


    and Cackle:


    cool vids! There was this one on Ideal hatchery as well.


    I do recall now that some hatcheries ask for a preference on a substitute. It's been a while since I ordered from a hatchery. I like birds from private breeders. They are better quality. i sure wished more breeders would pay more attention to aesthetics, but people still buy sub quality birds, so there's no reason to change.

    As far as counting their chicks before they hatch I would guess that hatchery managers have a pretty good idea how their equipment runs. they must have a pretty consistent hatch rate in order to make order for chicks available.

    the breeding houses are pretty mysterious. I wonder if they keep strict bio-security practices, or if they are casual about farm practices. what do you think happens to extra pullets. I know cockerels are often "disposed of" soon after hatch day, but surely there are extra pullets that go somewhere.​
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2010
  10. theOEGBman

    theOEGBman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2007
    Central California
    I was lucky enough to be able to tour one of Foster Farms hatcheries here in California a couple of months ago. This hatchery only hatched broiler chicks. Like someone previously mentioned, they have contracts with breeders. They have their eggs transported from various states (Two that I know of) in trucks & they're set in MASSIVE incubators. They were setting around 3 Million eggs each week when we toured it, but they were completely redoing the hatchery to produce more. The man giving us the tour told us that they set twice as many eggs as they expect to hatch, like most poultry breeders, commercial or backyard. As for counting the chicks, the chicks are counted by a machine as they're being put into baskets to be sent to the farms. After it counted 105( I think) it would stop and a new basket came to be filled. I could go on but I feel like I'm rambling! Also, since they are meat birds, cockerals and pullets were all sent to the farms.
     

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