Hatchery Expansion to Meet Demand

Aviagen Turkeys is expanding its grandparent operations in order to meet the demand for Nicholas poults. The news is out and the momentum continues to build for Nicholas Select. Customers have been placing poults and seeing excellent results in the field and asking for more. As a result we’re expanding our hatchery in Lewisburg, West Virginia.

Late last year, Curt Brammer, Vice President of Operations, was asked to double the output from the hatchery. He immediately got to work and brought in John Sims, Aviagen Hatchery Specialist to work with him and Hatchery Manager, Troy Hardenbrook to develop the design. The goal was to increase the output of the hatchery while improving operating efficiency and biosecurity.

The design team worked together to develop a plan to improve the workflow of the existing facility into the additional space.  Some of the efficiency improvements include upgrading equipment, replacing the HVAC units and upgrading the lighting with low energy LED lighting.

After careful consideration, it was decided that single-stage Chickmaster incubators and hatchers would be the best option for this hatchery. These machines have a proven record of performance and because of their design will allow us to set more eggs in the space available.  All of the old machines will be replaced with 28 new setters and 16 new hatchers giving a new setting capacity of 185,000 eggs per week.

According to Brammer, "This project gave us a great opportunity to not only expand the capacity but also to improve the overall hatchery.  The additional space, improved workflow and the new equipment and furnishings are better for the welfare of both the people and the birds. Also the new capacity is enough for us to set all female and male line eggs helping to ensure we can hatch all orders within the facility."

Jihad Douglas, President, noted "This is an exciting time in the company. The feedback from customers on the performance in the field is good. Our owner, the EW Group, is committed to supporting the business and investing in first class facilities.  The construction process is well underway and we're looking forward to it being fully operational by Spring 2016 to allow us to meet the increased demand for Nicholas poults."