Suggestions are listed below for an effective vaccination plan for your flock:
- Rotate vaccine stock. An outdated product may have deteriorated.
- Each vaccine is designed for a specific route of administration. Use only the recommended route.
- Do not vaccinate sick birds (except in outbreaks of laryngotracheitis or fowl pox).
- Protect vaccines from heat and direct sunlight.
- When using the drinking-water method of vaccination, be sure the water is free of sanitizers and chlorine. Live-virus vaccines are readily destroyed by these chemicals.
- After vaccinating, burn or disinfect all opened containers to prevent accidental spread to other poultry.
- Hatcheries and poultry suppliers are usually the best sources for vaccines. Be sure to carefully follow label directions when vaccinating.
Harvesting poultry is one of the crucial steps in the egg production process. Make sure you have the facilities to ensure proper harvesting of eggs. Eggs should be collected regularly, more so during hot weather. You may collect the eggs often (2-3 times daily). Eggs should then be transferred immediately to the egg cooling room which can be located on the farm site.
If eggs are to be hatched, insulated vans should be used to transport eggs to the hatchery. Daily fumigation of eggs is also recommended.
Hen-day Production Computation
You can compute your daily production percentage using the following equation:
Hen-Day daily production = Number of Eggs Produced on Daily Basis DIVIDED BY Number of Birds Available on the Flock that day
To compute your produce over a production period, you can use the following computation:
Hen-Housed Egg production = Total Number of Eggs Produced by the Flock DIVIDED BY Total Number of Hens Housed
Egg quality should be maintained throughout the handling and storage of the eggs. The people involved with these processes should be informed about the physical structure and chemical composition of eggs and the factors that affect their quality.
Grading is one of the important steps in marketing eggs. In this process, eggs go through identification, classification and separation. Grading allows you to set different prices for different sizes and quality levels of eggs. High quality eggs may be priced higher, while eggs with small blood spots may be sold to customers such as bakeries.
Factors to be considered in grading eggs are appearance, internal quality, size, color, and the soundness of the shell.
Eggs are also classified by size (in grams) and the US has the following standard:
- Jumbo = 70 g and above
- Extra large = 65-70 g
- Large = 56-65 g
- Medium = 49-56 g
- Small = 42-49 g
- Peewee = 35-42 g
Quality testing of eggs can be done by candling method. This is the process in which eggs can be tested internally and externally without breaking the egg or causing it damage.
This process can be done by using a candle in a dark room and examining the egg’s interior quality in front of the flame. Another way of Candling is by use of an electric light bulb that has been placed inside a box. Place a hole with three centimeters on the box. This hole is sufficient for eggs 40 to 70 grams in size. A light beam will glow from the hole and allow for egg inspection.
Packaging shell eggs is an important part of marketing and eventually, the business. Breakage, shell damage and spoilage can cause severe losses to the farm. These losses can be prevented by proper packaging.
Packaging of shell eggs must allow the eggs to have access to oxygen. Contamination and tainting can be prevented by using odorless and clean packaging. Remember to use packaging materials that can endure your handling, storage and transport methods to protect the eggs from damage and deterioration. Also remember to use packaging materials that allow the consumers to see the eggs they are buying as customers often want to see the product they buy.
Clean odorless rice husks, wheat chaff or chopped straw may be used in packing eggs in a firm walled basket or crate. This packing method is appropriate for short distance transport.
Filler trays are another form of packaging for eggs. These are especially favorable because they allow eggs to be inspected without having to touch them. Filler trays may be made of molded wood pulp, sawn wood, cardboard or plastic. Plastic is commonly preferred as they can be washed and reused. Each tray usually carries three dozens (36 pieces) of eggs.
The third kind of egg packaging is the retail pack. This type contains two to a dozen eggs. This can be made of cardboard or plastic, and is often the packaging consumers see at the supermarket. This packaging type allows easy handling and inspection of eggs by the retailers and consumers.
Packaging should also contain labels which include information such as the grade, weight, size and expiration date of the eggs.
Author: Carmela Abaygar, Marid Digest