21 NatureForm I-14 Incubators give the hatchery an incubation capacity of 452,088 eggs. Eggs are set every Friday during the hatching season.
After 21 days, eggs need to be transferred from incubator trays into hatch baskets to contain hatching chicks. A 3-person crew uses a custom transfer table to increase the efficiency of the process.
3-Ply tray pads are used to cushion the eggs and give newly hatched chicks traction to stand without affecting airflow in the hatchers.
A separate hatcher room with a capacity of 150,696 eggs per week is situated adjacent to the incubator room. Hatch baskets are stacked on dollies and rolled into hatchers. The majority of the chicks will hatch by Monday morning.
A wall is built over the top of the hatchers to prevent hatchery residue from being recirculated into the back of the machines. Conditioned air is drawn through the machines to allow them to operate more evenly.
Chick Sorting Room
On a Monday morning, chicks are transferred from the hatch baskets into plastic chick boxes to make sorting easier.
Specific tables will separate male and female chicks for certain orders when necessary. Otherwise, chicks are sold straight-run, which means they are counted in the order they come off of the trays. Straight-run orders are very close to half male and half female.
Chick Counting Room
Special cardboard chick boxes are used for all customer orders. For biosecurity reasons, we don’t bring any boxes back into the hatchery after a delivery.
Chick Staging Room
Chicks are staged in a climate controlled room for temperature and carbon dioxide.