FREDERICKSBURG, Pa. – Humane handling of poultry will begin at the hatchery at Bell & Evans, a leading processor of air-chilled poultry products.
The company has signed an agreement with HatchTech and Viscon, both based in the Netherlands, to build the first humane animal welfare-focused chick hatchery in the United States. The hatchery will utilize MicroClimer Setters, HatchCare units and complete ventilation, cooling and heat distributor systems developed by HatchTech. The hatchery management system will provide the chicks immediate access to fresh food, water, air and light.
Viscon will supply state of the art live embryo detection, which transfers only living embryos into incubation. Additionally, the hatchery will utilize an in-ovo vaccination machine and a stress-free chick transfer line to contribute to the humane handling of the chicks.
Construction of the hatchery is slated for the spring in Fredericksburg, Pa. The company expects the facility to be fully operational by the end of 2016. Scott Sechler Sr., president, owner and found of Bell & Evans, said he made many trips to Europe in search of a new hatchery system.
“HatchTech and Viscon are the perfect fit for Bell & Evans, not only because of the advanced technology they offer, but because they are passionate and forward-thinking in what they do,” Sechler said in a statement. “Their focus on humane animal welfare is directly in line with my philosophy to continually reduce stress and improve the welfare and comfort of our chickens. It is a well-designed and thought-out system. We at Bell & Evans are very excited and proud to partner with them to build the first humane animal welfare-focused chick hatchery in the United States.”