The Importance of Cleaner, Drier Hatch Trays

Posted by Jones-Hamilton Co. on Feb 11, 2020
Jones-Hamilton Co.

The ideal environment for hatching chicks is the same environment which can allow for the growth of bacteria and molds. Therefore, cleaning and disinfection programs must be a vital part of each hatchery’s standard operating procedures.  This is necessary to prevent the build-up of organic materials, decreasing the threat of microbiological contamination.  The application of a registered disinfectant is effective only after proper cleaning and preparation of surfaces has been completed.

At the top of the list for compromised areas are hatch rooms and hatch trays.  During the hatching process, these spaces are the home of numerous insults such as eggshell residue and chick down.  In addition, the chicks’ first droppings (meconium) can be identified here by their dark green color.  The removal of this meconium is notoriously difficult and its presence on hatch trays after exiting the tray washer is a good indicator of the effectiveness of overall cleaning procedures.  


Hatch Trays – In High Demand

Being the most often used and washed in a hatchery, hatch trays have a quick turnaround. From hatch to transfer, they are in extremely high demand and must be cleaned, disinfected and dried rapidly in order to be returned into the production cycle within 12 to 24 hours.

The Perils of Too Much Moisture

Once hatch trays are cleaned, they are returned to their dollies to begin to dry. Trays are then placed in the hatchers with these machines being turned on to begin to achieve programmed status. The quicker these parameters are achieved inside the hatch cabinet the more ideal.  If trays remain wet during this stage for an extended length of time, the hatcher will struggle to reach a stable and static position.  Any excess moisture must be driven off in order for the machine to reach the desired settings of both temperature and humidity.  It is extremely important to have completely dry hatch trays at the time of transfer. If trays are wet during this process, cooling of eggs will occur increasing the variance of the hatch window. The water present on trays also serves as a vehicle for bacterial transport into the egg.

While a certain amount of moisture is required in the hatch rooms for optimal chick health and performance, excess humidity can be detrimental and difficult to remove. In attempts to address, set temperatures and ventilation may be adjusted in order to compensate for the excessive moisture brought into the hatch cabinets by wet hatch trays.  This excess moisture can cause undeveloped down on chicks, as well as embryos that adhere to their shells at pip.

Higher Standards with ABF

In prior years, organic matter that could not be removed from hatch trays was often accepted. With the increase of antibiotic-free production, internal auditing standards are becoming more stringent. In fact, these increased standards have prompted the creation of a new position within the poultry industry, hatchery sanitation supervisor.

While it is nearly impossible to perfectly clean hatch trays prior to them being placed back into use, new technology is making it much easier. SWASHHATCHERY has been shown to improve cleanliness on poultry hatch trays by reducing meconium and egg shell residue sticking to the surface of the tray.  In addition, SWASHHATCHERY has also been effective in decreasing the amount of drying time for hatch trays reducing the moisture load inside the hatchers.

SWASH™ in the Hatch Room

Field tests show that trays treated with SWASHHATCHERY™ after going through the tray washer are:

  • Visually cleaner than untreated trays
  • Dry within one hour, half the standard time for drying
  • Less likely to harbor organic matter
  • Less likely to need to be re-cleaned
  • Drier, faster putting less stress on hatchers and eggs

Cleaner hatch trays contribute to better overall hatchery hygiene improving chick quality.

In addition, SWASHHATCHERY treated trays dry faster reducing the energy of hatchers in maintaining proper set point.  This allows for a more hygienic environment during egg transfer.

Learn More about SWASHHATCHERY™ Solutions

If your operation could benefit from clean, dry hatch trays, contact us today and a member of our team will be in touch as soon as possible.

Topics: SWASH


SWASH™ is owned by Jones-Hamilton Co., a leading provider of science-backed solutions to the animal agriculture industry. Led by industry veterans who understand the challenges faced by producers, the SWASH™ team is dedicated to providing reliable, high-quality chemicals backed by dependable customer service and knowledgeable technical support. Our team knows that every penny matters and works continuously to ensure value, maximize efficacy, and enhance the bottom line.


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