Our Biosecurity advice in the Hatchery

Biosecurity, technological and regulatory developments, societal expectations, economic issues… These are all challenges that the hatchery must incorporate into its organisation on a daily basis. As a crucial milestone in the industry pyramid, its duty is to ensure perfect sanitary conditions within its environment, in order to supply quality chicks.

Surroundings and buildings, the initial sanitary barriers

1. The two sectors

An increase in the number of microorganisms is observed during hatching. The “hatching” part of the hatchery is therefore the most conducive to multiplication and dispersion of any contaminants.

This is the reason why the hatchery is divided into two sectors:

  • The “clean” sector: rooms for egg sorting, storage of the Eggs for Hatching (EfH), preheating and incubation. Only EfH circulate in this sector.
  • The “contaminated” sector: hatcher, sorting, dispatch, washing and equipment disinfection rooms. EfH and chicks circulate in this zone.

In order to maintain a good level of sanitation in the hatchery, the eggs and people flow in a single direction from the “clean” sector to the “contaminated” sector. This is known as forward flow.

The hatchery wastes are disposed of towards specific areas with no possibility of contaminating the product. They are stored in an isolated airlock. The restricted access for the renderer is strictly limited to this waste area.

It is essential that the design of the hatchery should allow these movements. Indeed, failure to observe forward flow would constitute an infringement of the basic principles of sanitation.

2. Ventilation

Air flows are major vectors of pathogenic agents. It is therefore important to check the airtightness of the doors when closed and control the flows. Air intakes should be located in uncontaminated areas. The air is diffused into the rooms according to needs, taking care to ensure a pressure differential to allow air to circulate from “clean” to “contaminated” areas.

3. Surfaces (floors, walls and ceilings)

The surfaces must be made of materials that allow effective cleaning and disinfection. Floors should be tiled or made of smooth cement (taking account of the risks of falls). The walls should also be smooth. It is essential to maintain the surfaces regularly. The floors must ensure absence of standing water and the gutters discharge of waste water. A maintenance plant must be defined for the siphons and drainage channels. It is advisable to round off the joins between walls, floors and ceilings.

Floors and walls made of smooth materials

Water: a “food” that should not be neglected

Bacteriological analyses of the water should be performed and obtain compliant results for the bacteriological potability criteria.

Measures designed to reduce limescale deposits on machines and surfaces must be also be implemented (employing acid products once a month).

Water treatment systems are to be provided to ensure a quality of supply throughout the entire structure. Filters and disinfection equipment undergo regular periodic maintenance to prevent their being a potential source of contamination.

The essential Cleaning & Disinfection programme

There are 3 separate phases:

  • Preparation, which facilitates the subsequent cleaning work;
  • Cleaning, which rids the surfaces of their soiling;
  • Disinfection, which reduces the microorganism count as much as possible.

Cleaning and disinfection of rooms, machines and equipment can only be carried out under good conditions if the tidiness guidelines are observed in the hatchery.

1. La préparation

Stored material may become a source of contamination if maintenance is lacking. It is therefore necessary to provide storage points protected against down and visually check that the equipment is in its place.

2. Cleaning

Cleaning must be both mechanical and chemical. Soiling is scraped off damp surface so as to avoid re-suspending dust or down. Brushes are prohibited. It is essential to work with scrapers.

As much debris, dust and microscopic contaminants as possible must be collected before using any kind of product.

Chemical cleaning is carried out by applying a mixture of water and detergent. Its purpose is to eliminate organic or mineral soiling, but does not kill microorganisms.

The cleaning operations are very important and must be recorded in writing, as must the products employed and their instructions for use.

Cleaning the hatchery

3. Disinfection

The aim of disinfection is to destroy microorganisms after cleaning. The disinfectant used must be an approved product (category TP3 in Europe). The entire hatchery must be regularly disinfected according to a predetermined plan.

Equipment that is difficult to access, such as ducts, air heaters and fans must undergo monitoring and regular maintenance. The accumulation of dust, which is potentially contaminating, is in fact harmful to the product.


The hatchery personnel are not neutral from a health standpoint; they are indeed heavily involved. For a high level of mobilisation, they must be committed and thoroughly trained both theoretically and practically.

In addition to their training, particular attention must be paid to the personnel’s work clothes and more specifically, the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), especially during the Cleaning & Disinfection operations.

Compliance with personnel hygiene measures is ensured by installing a number of simple items of equipment:

  • The sanitary airlock: it provides a health safety barrier at the entrance to the hatchery and must respect forward flow;
  • The foot baths : placed in unavoidable and strategic locations, they are regularly maintained;
  • The washbasins: they must obligatorily be placed next to the WCs, but also distributed throughout the hatchery at points that are deemed critical;
  • The airlock between the sectors: it is strongly recommended to change clothes when passing between the clean and contaminated areas;
  • The WCs: should preferably be installed inside the hatchery to avoid risks associated with the movement of personnel. They must be perfectly cleaned and maintained.

Hygiene of the Eggs for Hatching (EfH)

The EfH represent the primary source of contamination in the hatchery.

The rules governing collection, storage and disinfection of the EfH are subject to a procedure tailored to each farm according to its equipment.

In the hatchery, the egg disinfection operation(s) must be qualified, validated and observed.

The EfH received fulfil qualitative criteria determined by the hatchery. If eggs are present that do not fall within these result criteria, corrective measures and actions must be implemented in order to restore an acceptable level.

In the event of outside supply, the original flock must meet the same requirements as those imposed by the hatchery.

Safety first

For operator safety, protective measures are indispensable during operations involving Cleaning & Disinfection.

  • When using the high-pressure pump, ian impervious suit, an anti-noise headset and waterproof boots should be worn.
  • When applying the products, more specific Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as chemical protection gloves, goggles, a suit impervious to chemicals (Type 4) and cartridge mask (ABEPK) are required. In case of doubt about the PPE to be worn, refer to section 8 of the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) of the chemical product used.

Advice to reduce the tediousness of Cleaning & Disinfection

  • When designing the building, prefer more easily washable materials: plastic and stainless steel rather than concrete, smooth rather than rough surfaces;
  • Keep surfaces in good condition, not worn or cracked, easily accessible and well lit;
  • Use a stationary washing pump with hose connection by clipping rather than screw fitting;
  • Use a high flow rate pump (28-30l/min.) and work at low pressure.
  • During scouring, ventilate the room as thoroughly as possible;
  • Apply the products in foam form at the right dose ;
  • Use the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).