May 9, 2014
Aviagen and Petersime develop new incubator model
Aviagen, the world's leading poultry breeding company and Petersime, the world leading manufacturer of incubators and hatcheries, have developed a new incubator model.

The new model is based on the SPIDES - Short Periods of Incubation During Egg Storage - principle developed by Aviagen.

Initial trials by Aviagen showed that heat treatment during storage, properly delivered, will improve the hatchability of eggs that have necessarily been stored for a longer than normal period (more than seven days). Recent field tests within Aviagen production hatcheries have highlighted that SPIDES treatment improves hatch slightly even with fresh eggs, and also enhances chick quality.

This latest project has seen a specialist machine, developed by Petersime, meet specifications defined by Aviagen for the effective delivery of a SPIDES program, installed at the Aviagen egg distribution centre in Scotland.

Dinah Nicholson, global manager of Hatchery Development and Support at Aviagen, said, "During the extended trials we have already conducted in several of our research facilities worldwide, we have seen a consistent improvement in hatchability and chick quality using the SPIDES method."

"We have now taken this to the next stage, working with a globally recognised incubator company to develop a commercial product that could be used worldwide. The possibility of using Petersime's OvoScan technology to monitor and control egg shell temperature was very attractive to us, because it will make it much easier to deliver a precise heating programme while having variable machine loading depending on our planning needs."

"We deliberately chose our egg distribution centre in Scotland rather than an actual hatchery as the location for this test because it is a centre for storing and distributing eggs to order. Eggs are sent from there to Aviagen hatcheries all over Europe; being able to treat the eggs before they start their journey should make a big difference to how well they hatch at their final destination."

"Because it is a distribution centre rather than a hatchery, it does not have any of the facilities normally needed for incubation. Putting in a specially designed machine allows us to treat the eggs evenly and with maximum efficiency."

Roger Banwell, hatchery development manager at Petersime, added, "SPIDES is a very promising method, but it imposes specific demands to the incubator in terms of heating and cooling. Precisely controlling variables like egg shell temperature is crucial in this process."

Extensive trials at Aviagen have shown that SPIDES leads to a 2 to 3% increase in hatchability for eggs stored for 7 to 14 days and much more when stored over two weeks. SPIDES will not completely recover the decreased hatchability caused by long egg storage, but it can significantly limit the losses.

Longer storage times are in particular a challenge for Grandparent hatcheries as they cannot always be avoided due to variable order sizes.