Novice poultry farmers have shown an interest in artificial incubation, and this interest gave owner of Phillips Chickens and Hatchery, Phillip Mojapelo the motivation to start his own business.
He explains that the success of this type of business depends on proper care and incubation of the eggs so that healthy, vigorous chicks can be produced. His love for chickens started at a very young age, struggling to find chicks from suppliers gave him the plan to open his business in 2019.
“I hatch eggs, then sell the chicks to clients, and I also grow some of the chicks into chickens, in order for me to sell the chickens as well. It takes 21 days for the entire process to be completed. First it’s the incubating process which takes up to 18 days for an egg to hatch, once incubation process starts, then once they’ve dried, I quickly transfer them into the pre-warmed brooder, and after three days when the chicks are strong enough, I transport them to my farm in Dalmada, where they grow into healthy chickens,” he said.
Phillip purchases his eggs from various companies, but most of his eggs come from Potchefstroom. “It is amazing to be part of the hatching process, I candle the eggs after seven to eight days of incubation, the first week is the most critical period of incubation, during the development of the embryo, so you have to be patient. You are able to see a lot after a week, especially when it comes to the fertility of the eggs,” he said.
And finally when all eggs are placed in the incubator to hatch, Phillip explains that the incubator automatically turns the eggs at least two to three times a day during the incubation period. “Sometimes if the eggs are turned about four to five times a day, you can expect even better results,” he added.
Phillip adds that he tries to keep only clean eggs for hatching. “But if there are dirty eggs, I do not wash or wipe them clean because this will remove the egg’s protective coating, and will expose the egg to harmful organisms,” he said.
“I enjoy the hatching process because it keeps me busy and it’s interesting to see how things evolve. It makes me proud to sell my chick to local people and my clients enjoy supporting local suppliers as well, because most people are used to buying chicks from ouside of the province, the same way I struggled before. So I’m proud to say my chicks are locally produced,” he said. When Phillip’s hands are full, his son Moraswi helps out with the chicks. “It’s very convenient for me to run my business from home, because I sometimes work all night, and it gives me the opportunity to monitor the machines even at night,” he concluded.
Story: Anne Molope