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Hatcheries are specialist production units where eggs laid by hens are stored and monitored until chicks hatch. Working with egg supply farms that supply the fertilised eggs, hatcheries will attempt to successfully deliver a sufficient load of healthy chicks back to buyers. These units must be run efficiently, with suitable equipment and staff, and need experienced managers to achieve this.
The eggs that are brought to the hatchery must be stored under specially-controlled conditions at the optimum temperature. Incubators are used and the progress of each batch of eggs must be checked regularly to ensure that the hatching is on schedule. This sort of organisation and technical expertise is required of the hatchery manager, and they would need to train the staff and continually advise them on how to monitor the batches efficiently and maintain the equipment. Hatchery managers must also ensure that they have updated, fully-functioning technology and incubators.
Each batch of eggs will be given an identification number and will be closely monitored by the hatchery managers and staff. Hatchery managers will keep records of all batches of eggs that come in and all hatched chicks that are delivered.
As with all areas of agriculture, and particularly in livestock, there are strict regulations regarding food production standards and the health and safety of staff. Hatcheries should be safe, sterile and regulated environments and managers must ensure that the hatchery meets all regulatory requirements.