The solutions we develop
Automated in ovo gender screening
Worldwide, over four billion day-old chicks are killed right after hatching every year. These are the male layer-type chickens, who don't lay eggs and are inefficient meat producers. After hatching all layer chicks are manually sorted by sex: females grow up to become laying hens, males are directly suffocated or shredded.
In Ovo has developed an ultra-fast screening method that enables high-throughput automated sexing of chickens eggs. This way, hatcheries no longer have to manually sort hatchlings and only breed and hatch female chickens.
Post-hatch early feeding system
Chickens are hatched in large incubators that keep the eggs and animals at optimal conditions. During the last three days of the 21-day incubation period, chicks start to hatch. In traditional hatcheries the hatchlings do not have access to feed and water. Together with Pas Reform Hatchery Technologies and premix company Twilmij we have developed a solution that changes that!
The SmartStart™ post-hatch feeding system provides day-old chicks the necessary nutrients and sufficient levels of water. The core of the solution is a moisture-retaining gel that is mixed with a pre-starter feed, that provides just the right amount of water to the newborn animals.
Not all eggs that are incubated by hatcheries are fertile or hatch. Therefore, hatcheries have a lot of eggs that can't be used and are thrown away. Our automated in ovo gender screening adds additional eggs to this waste stream. We believe that these eggs can still be used to our benefit. In this EU funded project, we are looking for alternative uses of these waste eggs. These eggs are a high-value source of protein and other substances and can be upcycled for innovative purposes.
Hatcheries incubate fertilized eggs in specially designed incubators, setters and hatchers. Control over parameters affecting hatching efficiency are crucial. These parameters, such as temperature and humidity, have been accounted for since the first incubators were designed. However, as the incubators have been increased in scale from dozens to tens of thousands of eggs, accurate collection, analysis and visualisation of this information has struggled to keep pace.
We are developing a sensor platform that for the first time will provide hatchery managers with the much needed tools to closely monitor eggs and chicks in real-time. Now it finally becomes possible to optimise conditions when needed and decrease losses due to sub-optimal environments.