Incubating eggs of different sizes

Breeder flock age

A second cause of different egg sizes in an incubator is when eggs of breeder flocks with different ages are mixed in one incubator. As a breeder flock ages, eggs increase in size. The largest eggs from an older flock produce much more heat than the smallest eggs from a younger flock. This can lead to more variation in ESTs when eggs of different breeder flock ages are incubated together in one incubator.  

To prevent variation in ESTs, it is recommended that eggs from different breeder flocks are set in separate incubators with a suitable temperature profile to maintain ESTs within the optimal range.
However, in practice, the large size of incubators – often with capacities of over 100,000 eggs– requires eggs of several breeder flocks to be set within one machine as batches of eggs of one breeder flock are too small to fill one incubator.

Whether a mix of eggs from breeder flocks of different ages results in satisfying hatchability and chick quality also depends on incubator design. HatchTech’s incubator design solved the issue of egg size by dividing the incubator into separate, individually controlled sections. A temperature sensor is placed in each section behind the egg mass, accurately measuring heat production for that section. Heating and cooling is immediately adjusted per radiator according to the temperature reading for that section, resulting in independent air temperature control per section.

Differences in EST are minimised by the HatchTech incubator. Eggs from all breeder flock ages will hatch high quality, uniform chicks that are able to express their full genetic potential later in life. 

Eggs of different sizes – and, correspondingly, with different heat production – can be set within the same incubator when the machine has a laminar air flow combined with a high air velocity. This ensures minimum variation in ESTs within a batch of eggs of one breeder flock age.  Eggs from different breeder flock ages can be set within one HatchTech incubator because it is divided into different sections, essentially creating separate incubators with independent air temperature control. As a result, all eggs are in their optimal incubation environment, resulting in high quality, uniform hatchlings.

Ir. Carla van der Pol, HatchTech B.V.

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
T: +44 20 7834 7676, F: +44 20 7973 0076, W:

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