Day 3 started off not in the day, but at night of Day 2 at about 8pm. We got the once in a life time chance as vet students to enter a hatchery. Hatchery is a place where eggs are being hatched, so you’d really get the picture ait? The whole tour started out with disinfectant showering. Stripped naked, the 3 of us boys slid into the shower looking at each others’ butt to get ourselves cleaned before claiming our visitors’ clothing. Being vet students, I guess we have really done and seen it all.
We got ourselves into the setter first, where eggs were incubated or set for 18 days at a high temperature between 37.5 to 37.7 degrees celcius. There are at least 10000 eggs hatched in one session, meaning at least 10000 chicks will be born after these eggs are transferred to the hatcher at 18 days’ old and hatched for another 3 more days between 36.7 to 37.2 dC. We were lucky as new chicks were hatched that night. The whole line was divided into a: setter, b:hatcher and c: quality control. We got ourselves to walk around baskets of chicks and looking into their soundness. Since these chicks will be sent out to be raised as broiler(meat) chicken, they have to be selected to be at least free from the typical deformities such as: unhealed navel, weak legs, defected beak, blinded eyes or even late hatching. Chicks selected will then be sent out in lorries equipped with ventilators to ensure the chicks’ temperature control; and is delivered at 4am in the morning to prevent traffic as well as heat stroke.
So before these hatchable eggs were hatched, they need to be sent from the breeder’s house to the reception. The breeder house, will be discussed on the last post. The eggs upon reception require a process of disinfection named “fumigation”; in which formaline will be added to potassium permanganate or boiling parafoam over an enclosed house to kill all possible pathogens; as the breeders have a stronger immunity than newborn chicks. Fumigation is usually done for 20 minutes, while another 25 is spent to expel the fumigation air from the room.
The hatchery tour ended with post mortem on the culled chicks, in which the chicks not selected to be sent and sold as broiler chicks. We were taught the methods to perform professional post mortem to discover diseased chicks’ conditions such as overheated hatchery by looking at black spotted gizzard, potentially bacterial infection in greenish yolk sacs and etc. Day 3 ended with us leaving back to the dorm at 3.00am; the earliest and latest practical we ever had.
Day 4 started out with the same ol procedure of disinfectant shower to ensure biosecurity. We slotted into our green uniforms and strutted into the pullet houses of different weeks’ of age: 1 week, 8 weeks and 20 weeks old. Pullet was a critical period, but the main idea was to keep the pullets healthy, free from deformities, and ready to mate at 23 weeks after their reproductive organs are well developed. Different weeks had different light intensity, temperature, light duration, feed amount, feeding procedure as well as soundness detection to ensure optimal growth to good production percentile in the upcoming 65 weeks of the pullet’s life. We managed to look for problematic cocks in which one of them had 2 reproductive organs, deeming it unfit for the production line and only a waste of feed. The post mortem proved its inefficiency as a male breeder since it also possess ovaries while it is much smaller in size compared to the other males of the same age.
Day 4 ended in the evening, but it was really fun. I didn’t really have much time to think about matters happen on that day, meaning I really did enjoy the day in the pullet house.