Less than one year ago, a company from the Netherlands, Hatchtech, introduced a new type of hatcher. What is so special about this hatcher? It has food and water in the hatcher so the birds can start eating and drinking immediately after hatching – and not have to wait for all birds to hatch and be transported to the farm!
I know that most readers of this blog are not looking for incubators and hatchers that can hatch 70,000 chicks at a time but I was impressed with the novel concept and wanted to share it with my readers. Besides, with a little ingenuity, the concept can probably be incorporated into a small, hobby size hatcher, too!
It is generally accepted that the natural hatch window (the time between the first bird hatching and the last bird hatching) is 24 to 36 hours. Normally, during this period, the newly hatched chicks have no access to water and feed. However, their bodies are in the process of intensive development, during which they need water to prevent dehydration and feed (energy) for basic maintenance and general growth and development.
In the special HatchCare Basket, there is water along two sides and feed troughs on two sides which contain enough feed for 24-36 hours. When chicks are able to start eating immediately after hatching, the feed helps move 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.
You can see in the egg arrangement that every egg has two openings beside it for the chick to escape to the HatchCare Basket below it.
In addition to food and water, HatchTech also provides a well lit hatcher, which means the chicks experience less stress when the hatcher door is opened and the hatcher is flooded with light. HatchCare also uses fan motors with a noise level that is 18% less than those traditionally used. The sound of the motor, which can also create anxiety in chicks, is reduced to just a soft hum.
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 during storage and transport as well. Chicks hatched and transported with traditional methods in large commercial hatcheries never see feed and water until they arrive at their final destination.