Feed and fresh water for stronger and healthier day-old chicks
In a hatcher, chicks hatch within a specific “hatch window”. During this period, it is a general accepted practice throughout most of the industry that the newly hatched chicks will have no access to feed or water. However, these chicks are still undergoing development in terms of their digestive tract, organs, immune and thermoregulatory systems – the actual growth phase doesn’t start until later. And at this early phase, optimal digestive and immune-system development in particular are crucial in laying the foundation for the chick’s resulting overall growth and health.
The best source of feed (energy) to enhance these critical development processes is the nutrient-rich residual yolk sack, and it is very important that it actually is used for this. However, if there is no external source of feed available, the energy in the yolk will just be spent on basic maintenance instead of to boost development.
In the HatchCare system, newly hatched chicks enter the separate HatchCare Basket via one of the many open spaces on the HatchCare Tray, called a Eggs-it. In the special HatchCare Basket, there are feed troughs on two sides, which contain enough feed for 24-36 hours.
When chicks are able to start eating directly after hatching, the weight of the feed pushes the residual yolk into the intestinal tract, naturally stimulating the absorption of the important nutrients it contains. In this way, the external feed provides the chicks with the energy it needs for basic maintenance, while the high-value nutrition of the yolk can be used for its most important purpose: critical organ- and immune-system development.
As soon as a chick hatches, it begins to lose moisture as a result of breath evaporation, leading to an average 8% decrease in body weight. HatchCare is giving chick’s access to fresh water during the hatch window period. Drinking gutters in the special HatchCare Basket provide a continuous supply of fresh flowing water. HatchCare is the only system that provides chicks with the basic necessity of water from the moment they hatch, responding not only to what the chick needs for optimal development, but also to modern demands for more animal-friendly production.
Improved living conditions for more animal friendly production
Chicks that are hatched in HatchCare are completely supplied with the basic necessities of life – water and feed. But the system also delivers other advantages that improve the chicks’ living conditions in early life, which benefit them in a variety of ways.
In the HatchCare Basket, chicks can move around freely, thanks to the generous dimensions of the HatchCare Basket and the fact that it contains no unhatched eggs or empty shells. Compared to other systems, newly hatched chicks have 40% more space. This fits well with modern demands for more animal-welfare-friendly production.
HatchCare is illuminated inside (272 Lux at chick level), which makes it easy for just-hatched chicks to find the water and feed. What’s more, because they immediately start becoming conditioned to an illuminated environment, chicks are not startled and scared – which induces stress – when the hatcher door is opened. HatchCare also features an motor with a noise level that is 18% dB lower than those traditionally used. The sound of the motor, which can also create anxiety in chicks, is reduced to just a soft hum in the background.
The way the HatchCare Tray and HatchCare Basket fit together functions as a natural separator. This makes the traditional automatic separator, as well as the counting machine, completely redundant. To determine the number of newly hatched chicks in the HatchCare Basket, simply count the number of unhatched eggs left on the HatchCare Tray.
When chicks do not have to be handled or put through automated machines in the processing area, it further reduces the stress effects – and associated energy loss – that chicks experience in traditional systems. In turn, this valuable energy will be available to fuel better growth and development in the poultry house.
Chicks never have to leave the HatchCare Basket – with its integrated feeding troughs – from the moment of hatching to their arrival in the poultry house. This means it is possible to continue offering them feed and water (in gel form) during storage and transport as well. Like no other system, HatchCare delivers what chicks need for optimal growth and development from beginning to end.