Hatchery hygiene determines the quality of day old chicks which will have great impact on profitability in poultry industry. The target of hatcheries all over the world is to produce healthy chick at all times but due to technical and managerial factors leading to inconsistency in the quality of day old chicks produced. Research has also shown that one out of every five hatcheries globally have high levels of fungi.
Therefore, poor hygiene in the hatchery will compromise the quality of chicks and may later affect their performance in life. Several millions of dollars has been lost by poultry farmers globally due to hatchery related issues and that is why every hatchery operator has to invest consistently in good hygiene.
The following steps should be followed consistently to ensure hygienic hatchery:
- Washing: Exploders or bangers often caused by pseudomonas usually cause serious contamination and cause big threat to other eggs, chicks or the clean area in the hatchery, therefore thorough cleaning and disinfecting can be done after every hatching cycle, setters, hatchers and other hatchery equipments must be thoroughly scrubbed, power washed with soap and broad spectrum disinfectants. They must be properly rinsed to wash off the debris, this must be done thoroughly after every hatching cycle. Aerial disinfection of inside and outside the hatchery is also effective.
- Disinfection and Fumigation: this is important to disnfect all equipments and the environment thoroughly with broad spectrum disinfectants in order to destroy all microbes. Hatchable eggs must be fumigated.
- Biosecurity: hatchery buildings should be fenced to control all wild animals, birds, and humans. There must be efficient insects and rats in the hatchery. Disinfectant must be in the foot-dips for footwears and a basin where disinfectant and soap are should be at the entrance for hand disinfection; it must be changed frequently. Footwears and uniform or overalls must be provided for all hatchery staffs or visitors. Clean eggs must only be allowed into the hatchery;
- Sanitation: the hatchery and its environment free from all hatchery waste and other garbages, good drainage system must be available.
- Check Water Quality: water sample should be taken from the water source, humidifiers, hatchers and setters spray nozzles to prevent the emergence of water borne Pseudomonas problems to the laboratory for microbial check;
- Laboratory Check of Exposed Plates: plates should be exposed to know the efficacy of the washing, disinfection and fumigation, as this will show the microbial load in the machines and environment;
- Training of Hatchery Staffs: training must be done for hatchery hands constantly so that they will know standard operating procedures in the hatchery;
- Hatchery lay out: the hatchery layout must flow from offices, showers, toilet, foot dips and hand washing facilities before workers can have access into the hatchery. They must go from the clean (eggs) zone to the dirty (chicks) zone, while for product flow, crossing of eggs and chicks should be avoided
- Monitoring and Evaluation: proactively hatchery operations must be checked from time to time. Samples should be taken and submitted to the laboratory for analysis.