Heart of England Farms - Breeders of Quality Game Stock

Hatchery


Hatchery
As would be expected the infinite attention to detail afforded to the breeding birds is continued through to the eggs and on to the hatchery. Final egg collection occurs late in the day and the eggs are brought to the egg washing facility to start their journey through a series of the latest and most technologically advanced machines available today. 

The automatic egg washing machine is unique in design in that only eggs showing surface soiling pass through the vigorous four stage cleaning program. Visually clean eggs move straight to the rinse and sanitise chamber thus retaining the shell cuticle, which is the egg's natural defence mechanism. Eggs are graded whilst on this machine and any small, mis-shapen or cracked eggs are removed allowing only first grade eggs to be trayed before moving to the controlled environment egg store for cooling. 

The hatchery has been completely refurbished over the last decade with new state of the art Petersime incubators and hatchers installed. Each machine has individual computer control of internal temperature, ventilation, turning and humidity which takes the guess work out of incubation and ensures a uniform chick that hatches on time. With a setting capacity in excess of 250,000 eggs per week we can supply increasing customer demand for large and small orders and fulfil our own weekly requirement for chicks to be reared on to poults. 

We hatch weekly through the season with chicks taken off during Monday evenings to be ready for delivery on Tuesday mornings.  For transport we run many temperature-controlled vans to ensure the chicks are at their destination within hours of leaving the hatchers. 

A strict one-way bio-security system operates through out the hatchery which prevents the chicks, or dust from the chicks, coming into contact with incubating eggs. Swabs are regularly cultured from around the hatchery to check our cleaning and disinfecting programs are effective and ensuring that only strong, healthy chicks are being produced.

From March 2021 the new extension for our hatchery was up and running following the unintentional delays of lockdowns during 2020.  This new extension and the modern equipment purchased will not only increase our hatching capacity but has improved productivity and the overall health and welfare of the resulting chicks.  To improve our high bio-security levels we have invested in a new tray washing system to ensure the trays used for egg setting and chick hatching are fully sterilised and also a vacuumed hatchery waste disposal system and large incinerator.  In addition with a view to improving welfare of the chick during the hatching process we have an additional state of the art chick counting machine which will ensure greater accuracy and also a will ensure the time from hatcher to distribution box is as expedient as possible.   
This Game Hatching Facility Development has been partially funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development its purpose to support the modernisation and improvement of processes required for hatching game birds.