Canadian Poultry Magazine

Steinbach Hatchery Opens New State-of-the-Art Facility

Jim Knisley   

Features Business & Policy Farm Business

Opens New State-of-the-Art Facility

With a strong, loyal customer base and growing sales the Steinbach
Hatchery has moved from downtown  into a new 14,000 sq.ft.
state-of-the-art facility on the outskirts of town.

10With a strong, loyal customer base and growing sales the Steinbach Hatchery has moved from downtown  into a new 14,000 sq.ft. state-of-the-art facility on the outskirts of town.

When the new hatchery held its grand opening in April more than 300 producers, industry representatives and friends were able to  get a close-up view of the world class facility and its technology on guided tours.


Tours were given and directed by Steinbach’s sales team of Perry Kaita (MB), Gary Unrau (MB), John Agar (MB), Tyler Richards (AB), and Greg Olsen (SK).

The facility  can hatch more than 35,000 pullet chicks twice a week which will allow the company to meet demand (which has been growing at more than 10 per cent a year), and smooth over some of the production bumps that occur in the commercial leghorn industry.

General Manager Jake Friesen said although Manitoba producers form the core of the company’s customer base,  it is growing rapidly across the Prairies and the new hatchery will allow it to meet current demand and provide for continued growth in other Prairie provinces.

“We’ve positioned ourselves with new technology and have the expertise to continue to grow,” he said.

Friesen  said Steinbach currently fills 50 per cent of the Manitoba market and 15 per cent of Saskatchewan and Alberta demand.
The Steinbach Hatchery is far from a new chick on the block. It was founded over 70 years ago as a co-op by a number of local producers who were dissatisfied with the quality of chicks from Winnipeg. It is now a private patnership and continues to flourish in the richly diverse agricultural area on Southeast Manitoba.

Technical Highlights
The new building incorporates numerous technical advances. All walls and ceilings are finished with polymer plastic sheets that make for easy cleaning and disinfection. 

Friesen said that all the surface areas are exposed and “everything is cleanable.”

Robert Klassen, hatchery manager, points out that there are nine independent environmental cells (rooms), each with its own temperature and humidity controls. As well, four of these cells have individual static pressure controls installed.

To ensure that the hatchery’s biosecurity meets today’s stringent standards required for HACCP accreditation, the CFIA was involved in close consultation to determine the best practices and flow. 

Because it was built with HACCP accredidation in mind, this  shoiuld be easily attainable, Friesen said.

Entrance to the building is controlled and restricted. The employee’s entrance is controlled by electronic thumbprint activation that leads to a “shower-in, shower-out” area.

All trades people and others have to call the main office to make an appointment to gain entrance to the hatchery. There are also on-site laundry facilities that allow for clean garments to be used for every hatch and ensures that what is outside stays outside. 
To facilitate the ease of cleaning and disinfecting, each room has its own air and water as well as high pressure water lines. Security is enhanced by a 200 kW diesel generator which provides an  uninterrupted supply of power to run the entire building for a number of days should  outside power supply is interupted 

As for the hatching eggs, they are sanitized as they enter the large egg room where they are transferred to setter racks. From there they are taken to the setting room where they are placed into the Chickmaster Avida A18 single stage setter, each with a capacity of 95,040 eggs.

The single stage setters allow for cleaning and disinfection after each set, thereby reducing the risk of contamination of one hatch to the next. The facility also has CO2 injection, a newer technology, that makes for a more robust and stronger embryo.
All the setters and hatchers use the latest environmental control equipment and computers to monitor levels and can be controlled from either the individual machine, office computer or via the internet. 

After 21 days of incubation chicks are separated from the egg shell and sent on to the Chick Processing room.  Dirty trays are sent through a complicated tray washer to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected and made ready for the next use. 

The chicks are sexed at a six person sexing carousel and the pullets are sent via conveyer to the Nova-Tech Chick Processing System (CPS). It is here that they receive vaccination and a beak treatment that involves sending a painless infrared beam through the end of the beak. This method has been recognized as the most modern and humane way of controlling beak growth, said Friesen.

The facility incorporates the latest in automation which allows the hatchery to process three times as many chicks as it did in the past with the same number of workers. 
After they leave the hatchery, the Shaver White leghorn chicks are transported to growing houses and from there they go to table egg producers across the Prairies.

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