Ceva Animal Health, has launched a novel solution to ease the stress of day-old chicks in the hatchery, SecureChick.
SecureChick contains a synthetic analogue of the mother hen uropygial secretion analogue (MHUSA), a pheromone produced by a hen through the uropygial gland a few days before and after hatching to comfort a chick during the first days of its life.
It can be sprayed inside the hatchers over embryonated eggs two to three days before hatching to help day-old chicks to better tolerate stress in the hatchery and enable chicks to adapt to their new environment. Studies have demonstrated that odour detection is already functional in domestic chickens two days before hatching, with chicks displaying behavioural and physiological responses to specific odours.
Recent trials demonstrated the positive impact of spraying SecureChick before hatch to achieve a calming effect after hatch. Filming of day-old chicks hatched from eggs sprayed with SecureChick showed a reduction in agitation levels demonstrating its calming effect on the chicks at hatch. Bioacoustic studies also show that chicks’ vocalisations are different depending upon stress levels and the appeasing effect of SecureChick has been demonstrated by the higher probability of chicks making comfort vocalisations.
Dr Sanja Horvat MRCVS, vaccination services manager for poultry at Ceva Animal Health, said: “The complexity and efficiency of commercial hatcheries expose chicks to many potential stressors. Administration of SecureChick can play a role in helping day old chicks better tolerate stress and adapt to their new farm environment. SecureChick can be administered to help hatcheries produce high welfare chicks, giving the best start in life.”