Remote consulting under corona

Remote consulting under corona

By Martin ‘Tiny’ Barten, senior hatchery specialist, Royal Pas Reform

Being grounded during the Covid-19 pandemic, I'm unable to travel as I usually would to visit hatcheries. I stay in touch with customers via e-mail and phone, advising them on incubation issues. Fortunately, it's possible to log in to their hatchery management software, so I can analyse data such as climate graphs. But it's just not the same as a live visit – you can't see, smell or feel the real situation.

 I recently got a call from one of our sales guys in Asia about a hatchery where they had added a few machines to their very old local multistage operated ones. The hatchery manager had told him he was getting disappointing hatch results. We set up a video call during the next hatch so that I could see what was going on. And thus I found myself sitting behind my laptop in my home-office, 'joining' my colleague and the hatchery manager in front of the hatcher halfway across the world.

 I asked them to remove the chicks from 6 randomly selected baskets and to do a break-out of unhatched eggs. Pretty soon it became clear, to the surprise of the hatchery manager, that the majority of unhatched eggs still contained fully developed living embryos, most of which had not yet started pipping. This is a typical sign of too-slow embryo development due to cold spots, most likely already during the setter period.

 It emerged that since acquiring the new machinery, the setters had only been half-loaded because of depressed market demand due to the pandemic. Loading had been done correctly, with full trolleys placed in front of the fan. However, looking at the incubation program I realised that the hatchery manager had been using our standard program for the setter, but...

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