A new hatchery for layer hens, the Huayu International Poultry Incubation Centre in Handan in China’s Hebei Province, said to be the largest in the world, is expected to produce about 60 million commercial layer chicks/year.
This equates to about 200 000 chicks/day, six days a week, and the high-tech facility is manned by a staff complement of only 20 people, according to a report by Reuters.
The Huayu International Poultry Incubation Centre is a joint venture between the global genetics company Hy-Line International and the Chinese firm Huayu Agricultural Technology.
It has been under construction for several years at an estimated cost of US$ 22,6 million (about R300 million).
A report entitled ‘Dynamics and Patterns of the Egg Industry in APEC member countries’, released by the International Egg Commission on 20 July, said it was estimated that the layer hen population in China was more than 1,35 billion in 2016.
At the time, China contributed a total volume of more than 26 million tons or 35,9% of global egg production.
In comparison, South Africa’s layer flock was at just over 23 million hens, according to an egg industry statistics summary for 2017 published by the South African Poultry Association (SAPA).
This was 6,6% down on hen numbers in 2017, which could be attributed to the impact of the avian influenza outbreak on the industry.