UK pedigree hatchery gears up for export growth
The opening of the new pedigree hatchery at Danbury, England this summer marks the completion of a five-year expansion for FarmGate Hatcheries turkey breeding programme.
The hatchery, increasing to almost 200,000 a week the company’s output of poults for the traditional Christmas turkey market, is part of the £800,000 programme to develop breeding capacity including investment in pedigree farms in Ayrshire and Essex.
The pedigree hatchery has been built on the site of the original commercial turkey hatchery where Derek Kelly began producing poults in the 1970s when he took over the business of River Rest Hatcheries.
A much larger hatchery for commercial poults was opened alongside 16 years ago. Over the past year pedigree birds were hatched by Coolen in the Netherlands while the new premises were being constructed.
The new hatchery is equipped with single-stage machines allowing during the early season twice weekly hatches of commercial turkey poults before being dedicated to pedigree stock during August and September.
“We’ve found this year that producers are a lot more cautious about growing turkeys on spec and overall there’s been around a 5% fall in demand,” said Paul Kelly, managing director of FarmGate Hatcheries. “Dumping overproduction on wholesale markets has proved an expensive exercise in many cases.
“As well as catering for the traditional UK market, the increased capacity will provide for our expanding sales in Europe and we’ve plans to develop the market for KellyBronze in the United States.
“With our pedigree farms in Scotland and Essex, and with our pedigree sister farms in East Anglia, we have a strategically placed gene pool that reduces the risk of exports being disrupted through disease outbreak and health certification is critical.”
The new hatchery is equipped with four Chick Master single-stage setters with a capacity of 40,320 turkey eggs and two hatchers. Design features include trolleys end-on to the paddle fan to achieve uniform airflow through a clear pathway over the eggs, with no air resistance even when trolleys are turned.
The modular design provides accurate sectional control, easily configured for different capacities. High efficiency motors and cooling coils contribute to energy saving, with moulded dampers and door seals making the machines air tight to ensure correct carbon dioxide levels.
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