It is common practice for most hatcheries not to provide food and water to the newly-hatched chicks. As a result when populating farm units with newly-hatched chicks these chicks may have been deprived of food and water for some days. Wageningen Livestock Research has looked into the effects.
Effects of food and water depreviation
Research by Wageningen Livestock Research has shown post-hatch food and water deprivation results in reduced body weight and food intake; and may eventually lead to higher mortality over a period of six weeks.
Home hatching and early feeding
With the introduction of ‘home hatching’ the eggs are hatched inside the farm unit allowing the one-day chicks immediate access to water and food (early feeding). This also prevents the otherwise necessary transport of the one-day chicks from the external hatchery to the poultry farm. Both aspects have a positive impact on the chick’s welfare and resilience.
From 60 back to 36
Based on our research in July 2018 the until then existing rule of water and food depreviation for a period of maximum 60 hours has been reset to a maximum of 36 hours. This rule will mainly affect the management of (external) hatcheries.