Europe's biggest hatchery announced

A company that provides breeding stock for clients in the UK and across Europe has begun work on the continent's largest hatchery.

German-owned Aviagen has announced ambitious plans to build a new hatchery, which the company claims has the capacity to produce 1m eggs per week from its location in Hilbersdorf, near Dresden. It is hoped the facility will provide easier distribution to the Polish and Czech Republic borders, as well as airports in Dresden and Leipzig.

Val Mendeleev, European operations president said: "This new hatchery will be an important link in our European supply network. Demand for Aviagen products continues to increase and this facility will allow us to meet this, as well as further enhancing the quality of products we provide to our customers."

Work is due for completion on the hatchery in January next year and Mendeleev added that the company will spend almost Euros20m in its refurbishment programme, which includes the Hilbersdorf plant, as well as other facilities in the UK and the Netherlands. In February 2008, work was completed on expanding a hatchery in Denmark, which now has a capacity of 95,000 laying chickens.

Building work is under the supervision of Aviagen's Central European operation, Ross EPI, and the firm claimed the new hatchery will improve conditions for the chickens and deliver better service for customers.

General manager Patrick Claeys said: "Hilbersdorf hatchery will be a huge asset to Aviagen and our customers. Being located closer to customers means that chicks will spend less time in transit, leading to improvements in chick quality, welfare and uniformity.

"Customers will also benefit from the added flexibility and increased capacity that the new hatchery offers, providing even more security of supply to customers in Europe and throughout the world."