Aviagen Turkeys recently announced that it has completed a $4.5 million hatchery expansion and refurbishment in Lewisburg, W.Va.
Curt Brammer, vice president of operations, developed the hatchery design with input from the expertise of Aviagen hatchery specialist John Sims. Their aim was to double the hatching capacity and improve the workflow of the existing facility.
“We added over 35,000 sq. ft. and completely refurbished the existing hatchery, increasing the setting capacity to over 11 million eggs per year,” Brammer said. “The project included replacing all of the incubation and hatching equipment as well as most of the wiring and other equipment in the hatchery. In addition to better hatch performance, the facility is much more energy efficient with new HVAC units and LED lighting, and we’ve reduced our cardboard usage by 95%.”
Brent Poage, hatchery manager, said the expansion makes it feel like they are working in a new hatchery. “All of the existing machines were replaced with new single-stage Chickmaster equipment, including 32 incubators and 16 hatchers. These machines allow us to set more eggs in the space available and achieve more consistent results," he said. "The new floor plan also provides space in the service room for a more efficient workflow, and the egg room addition makes it easier to manage the number eggs that move in and out each day.”
In addition to the hatchery expansion, the company has invested $2 million in poult delivery vehicles. Since 2014, seven trucks and two 53 ft. trailers have been added to the fleet.
“We work hard to produce high-quality breeding stock, and we need to make sure we deliver poults to the customer in good condition,” transportation manager Danny Dodrill said. “Our drivers take pride in caring for the poults during transport, and these vehicles allow them to monitor and control the poults’ environment so they can get off to a good start on the farm.”
Aviagen president Jihad Douglas said, “This is an exciting time in the company. Our investment in genetics has allowed us to develop turkeys that perform well for the industry and are in great demand. Our owner, the EW Group, is committed to supporting the turkey business and investing in first-class infrastructure to meet the increasing demand for Nicholas poults."