As Reported in The Poultry Site Digital:
Dehydration is an ongoing challenge for hatcheries that are shipping day-old chicks.
Hubbard Breeders, a worldwide leader in broiler breeding stock headquartered in Pikeville, Tenn., has developed a new standard procedure of providing hydration supplementation to chicks to ensure strong livability performance upon arrival.
“We use HydroGel 95® in the chick boxes during delivery to offer additional hydration to our chicks. It’s attractive to the chick and can be quickly consumed by a high percentage of the chicks.”
HydroGel 95 is a ready-to-use, room temperature shelf-stable, and non-wetting gel product that is cut into cubes and added to the chick box. When applied in a timely manner, it improves chick viability and reduces stress so that upon delivery, they are in better condition to start on feed and water right away.
“For the health and welfare of the chicks, we provide them with enough hydration to get them as far as they’re traveling. Plus, travel delays happen, so we need to plan for worst-case scenarios,” said Killgore. “The key is getting enough hydration supplement in the box at the right time, so every chick will have an equal chance to ingest it.”
When leaving the hatchery, Killgore says experience has taught them to place the HydroGel 95 in each corner of the box for best results. Hubbard uses one cube of HydroGel 95 per 18 to 25 chicks.
“Because Hydrogel 95 arrives ready-to-use, it provides more uniform portioning when processed through the accessory cutting device compared to other products in the past,” said Tim Churches, Hatchery Manager at Hubbard. “We know we’re getting a consistent amount in each box.”
Typically, the Hubbard team waits four to six hours after processing before applying Hydrogel 95. Placement during delivery is often less precise given that the boxes are stacked vertically on the truck. After 24 hours on the truck, Hubbard requires their drivers to down-stack the chick boxes, open them up and re-apply additional HydroGel 95 cubes to each section
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