6 Tips for Transferring Eggs from Setter to Hatcher Trays

Transferring eggs from the setter to the hatcher trays is an important and delicate task. Follow these six tips to protect fragile eggs during the transfer:

  1. Transfer eggs smoothly and quickly to avoid cooling, as this will delay hatching.
  2. At transfer, candle eggs and remove any “clear” eggs, which includes any infertile or early dead eggs. 
  3. Use extra caution when handling eggs at this stage. Shells have become more brittle because the embryos use some of the shell calcium for skeletal development.
  4. Properly wash and dry hatcher trays before transferring eggs. Eggs in wet trays will cool down while the water is evaporating in the hatcher. Hatchers must be dry and up to proper temperature prior to transfer.
  5. Dispose of “rot” and “exploding” eggs in a container of disinfectant.
  6. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations when using in-ovo egg injection systems to administer vaccines.
Transferring eggs is critical for two reasons: One, laying eggs on their sides in the trays allows the chick to move freely out of the shell during hatching. Two, it assists with hygiene. Chicks generate large quantities of fluff during hatching and could spread this potential contamination around the hatchery.

Keep in mind, eggs must be transferred between 18 and 19 days; anything earlier or later could subject embryos to sub-optimal conditions causing lower hatchability. For more information on Hatchery Management, download the guide here.


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