Lehigh Valley

Hatching-process gets hi-tech at turkey farm

Hatching-process gets hi-tech at turkey farm

OREFIELD, Pa. - Thanksgiving may be the last thing on your mind right now, but every day is turkey day at Jaindl Farms in Lehigh County.

It's hatching season at Jaindl Farms in Orefield.

Every Monday and Thursday from February to July, thousands of baby turkeys, or poults, cute enough to eat, spring from their shells.

It's a process that begins in January.

Hens lay eggs, those eggs are collected and end up in one of 40 incubators.

"The egg will tilt back and front every hour. They need to turn like that because in nature, the hen will turn the egg 180 degrees," said Jaindl general manager Richard Gildner.

Rocking the eggs is necessary so the embryos don't stick to the inside of the shell and make hatching difficult.

The incubators are calibrated twice a day to make sure everything, including the temperature, is just right, and if it's not, there's an app for that.

"I will get a text to my phone and email and the security system will actually call my phone and keep calling it until I pick up," said hatching manager Jake Jaindl.

After 26 days the eggs are put in baskets and taken to the hatchery where a little humidity helps Mother Nature along.

The poults spend around seven days in a nursery before they end up at the barn.

The poults grow into adult turkeys and are harvested at 18 to 30 weeks, depending on their weight.

The Jaindl family has been in the turkey business for three generations and says its a process that's changed in the past and will change in the future.

"Little tweaks that we try to make each year to add efficiency and improvements for the life of the turkey," said Jaindl president David Jaindl.

Jaindl says the next change will likely be an expansion in processing.

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