Hatcheries Research Co-Op
Job Description
Work Term: May 2023 – Aug 2023
Reports to: Breeder Services, Kayo Takeshima
Working Schedule: Flexible Hybrid (3 days on field, 2 days office or remote)
Please note this Co-Op position supports two of our Hatchery locations. The Co-Op can work from either of these
locations on site as well as remote, depending on research needs.
Location options: Fleming Chicks (4412 Ontario St, Beamsville, ON L0R 1B0), OR
Curtis Chicks (101 Fox Rd., Port Hope, ON L1A 3V5)
Company overview:
Maple Lodge Farms is Canada’s largest independently owned poultry processor. It engages in processing and
supplying chicken products in Canada and internationally. Chicken products offered, also available as Halal, include
chicken bacon, deli chicken meats, sliced packaged meats, fresh seasoned chicken, frozen boxed meats, and chicken
wieners. Maple Lodge Farms, Ltd. was founded in 1955 and has three processing locations and three hatcheries.

Hatcheries overview:
The Hatchery Division is at the start of the Live Supply Chain. Our goal is to provide the best quality day-old
chicks with unparalleled service to our farmer partners. As part of our continuous improvement process in the
hatchery, we collect and analyze data on the parent-stock of broiler (meat-type) birds performance, environmental and
hatch process metrics, and chick quality.
As part of this co-op placement, you will be assigned to two hatchery-related continuous improvement
research projects. These projects provide an opportunity to learn the meat-type chicken industry and gain experiences
on hands-on data collection at the hatchery, data entry (digitalizing data collected in the field), constructing a
hypothesis for assigned project, as well as statistical analyses used at the research level to determine the relationship
between collected data and the outcome of interest. As well, you will have an opportunity to present your findings to
the Hatchery Team at the end of your placement.

Working Conditions & Environment:
• Hatchery environment includes range of temperatures – cold, warm and humid
• Exposure to loud environments
• Must be able to lift 40lbs
Qualifications you will bring as our next Co-Op:
• Self-motivated with a desire to learn
• Analytical skills for statistical analysis are an asset but not required as will be taught
o Co-Op will learn how to use Program R
• Computer proficiency with Excel charts, graphs, as well as PowerPoint
• Drive for continuous improvement
• G2 or G class license not required, but may be necessary for optional field excursion
• Ability to work a flexible schedule with early hatch times
• Comfort working and handling livestock, hatching eggs, and chicks

2 Research Project Proposals

  1. Effect of Hatch Window on First Week Mortality
    Chicken eggs are incubated for a total of 21d. They are first set in the incubator for 18 days, then transferred to the
    hatcher for 3 days. In the last 36-24h before chicks are pulled from the hatchers and processed, chicks begin
    hatching. The time from the start of hatching to when the last chick is hatched is called the hatch window. Hatch window
    is a hatchery factor that can impact chick quality, and can be associated with equipment performance. For example, if
    chicks are hatching too early, they can be more prone to dehydration, and affect first week mortality and overall
    performance of the flock. On the other hand, if chicks are hatching too late, this could lead to poor hatchability and chick
    quality. As our goal is to provide best quality chicks to our customers, we propose this project to measure hatch window
    to determine any relationship with chick quality (first week mortality) and hatchability.
    • Select flock eggs to sample hatch window and collect following information
    o Flock info: Flock ID, lay age
    o Set Info: Mix of flocks and flock ages in machine, number egg days held, incubator ID, Hatcher ID, % clear
    rate, hatchability by flock and by machine.
    • Determine hatch window
    o All hatchers are equipped with humidity monitors. Humidity can be used as a proxy to measure hatch
    window. During the start of hatching humidity begins to climb, and then plateaus. By measuring the
    humidity curve, the hatch window can be estimated.
    o Data by hatcher can be collected and evaluated, and the following determined: Time of pull, time
    between start of hatch window and pull, length of hatch window.
    • Determine any correlation or association between hatch window and:
    o First week mortality: Collect data from grower services
    o Condemnations: Collect data from grower services
    o Life of Flock Mortality: Collect data from grower services
    o Hatchability, breakout data: pip and/or embryonic mortality, grade outs
    ➔ By finding efficiencies, these results may create more opportunities for the plant by bringing more
    kilograms of meat.
    • Correlate humidity readings to pre-pull readings to determine if pre-pull readings are necessary.
    ➔ Eliminating pre-pull readings would save 624h of labor a year, as well as labor that must be completed
    on weekends.

  2. 2. Relationship between Chick Yield and First Week Mortality & Threshold of Egg Size on Hatchability
    As laying age and hen body weight increase, egg size increases. Especially at the end of the flock when egg production
    rate reduces. However, the effect of large egg size on hatchability has not been recently evaluated on a commercial level.
    Furthermore, it is well known that egg size is positively correlated with chick size. Chick Yield%, which is the percentage
    of chick weight by weight of the egg, is one of the chick quality assessment tools used for incubation. This project is
    proposed to determine the threshold of egg size until it negatively affects hatchability, as well to determine the
    relationship between chick yield and first week mortality.
    • Select flock eggs to be sampled, and record information
    o Flock ID, Lay Age, incubator ID, incubator setting, hatcher ID, hatcher setting
    • On selected buggies, determine egg weight distribution. Redistributed similarly weighted eggs on to specific
    rows, thereby grouping eggs with same size and relocate to same row.
    • Label each row with egg weight information
    • Hatch day: determine chick weight from the sample row/basket
    o Determine chick yield
    o Determine hatchability
    • Collect first week mortality data
    • Determine effect of:
    o Egg weight on hatchability
    o Chick yield on first week mortality
    ➔ These findings will allow us to validate our current incubator conditions and give recommendations to
    hatching egg producers on the threshold of egg size to maintain good hatch at the end of the flock.
    In accordance with Ontario Human Rights Code, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, accommodation
    will be provided in all parts of the hiring process. Applicants are required to make their needs known in advance.
The hatcheries position is on the University of Guelph site, as a co-op job posting.
$18.00/h, and we generally expect 40h a week. However, start times may be irregular based on when sampling needs to occur.