Thursday, December 4, 2008

day-old chicks

visited this chicken farm where there are two hatchings of chicks in a week - on a tuesday and a friday. the chicks or rather the eggs have gone through some selection process. first, in the pen, the roosters are mixed with the hen to promote the fertilisation of the eggs. usually, a handful of cockerels are given the priviledge to be with a clutch of hens. aggressive ones are usually removed.

then the selected eggs laid by these hens are placed in an incubator for three days. at the end of the three days, the eggs are scanned to see if they are fertilised. the fertilised ones are then placed back into the incubator. the temperature of the incubator is maintained at a certain degree and the trays of eggs are rotated automatically. the unfertilised eggs are sold off as 'fresh eggs'.
when the time for the chicks to hatch comes, the trays are taken out and left in the open. most of the chicks will hatch normally but those that are a bit slow in emerging or appear to have some defects are left behind to meet their fate.

from the incubator trays, the chicks are transferred to larger plastic trays. they are sorted out according to their colours. each big plastic tray holds about one hundred chicks. before they are sent to another farm, where they will be given the extra care that they need, the chicks are sprayed with some disinfectant. the tender chicks need warmth and protection from the elements which will be provided at this 'nursery' farm.

when they chicks are older and more stable and thus able to withstand the cold, they will be brought back to the farm where they were born.

most of the large poultry farms here, like seng choon at sungei tengah end and chew's at murai farmway seem to concentrate on egg production whereas the farm i visited was more into rearing the chickens for their meat.


Victor said...

When I was a teenager, I bought 2 chicks and reared them in a cardboard box which was placed in the commune kitchen in our SIT block of flats. They grew into middle-sized chickens. One morning they were gone. I suspect that the cats had them for supper.

In the old days, those eggs which were about to hatch were made into this hawker dish.

PChew said...

I remember in the 1950s 2 shophouses at Kallang Road opposite the present Immigration Office, were hatching eggs into chicks for sale. I believe they were the only incubators in Singapore then.

yg said...

mr chew, my mom used to buy her chicks from kallang rd, near the gaswork. later, they shifted to kallang basin industrial park.
in the 80s, we bought a few from kallang basin for my two girls to rear. when the chickens became too big and noisy, my wife took them to her school.

yg said...

victor, the two chicks could have been keep-napped by someone from your neighbourhood.

Lam Chun See said...

I used to know someone whose father operated 2 such shops along Kallang Road. One at where present ICA building, another across the road. Maybe closer to Lavender St. The name of the shop was Goh Chye Hak.

Nearby in Lavender street used to have some coffin shops.

nah said...

I remember the shop Goh Chye Hak which was next to Kwong Fook Chinese School where I studied in the 50's. Its premises are now occupied by the Tai Pei Buddhist Centre. One of the two shops along Kallang Road belonged to my primary school classmate's father,Mr Lau.(forgotten the name of the shop). The other shop was Phua Huat Heng.

Ivy said...

There was a continuation to that chick story... one day.. Mommy brought back one large, fat hen from school in her basket.. it was so fat it filled the entire basket.. she then told me she was going to kill it to make soup for Ah Mah! I was so upset I cried and cried.. and you all whisked me away to chinese tuition.. and I sat there and cried and cried.. till the teacher didn't know what to do with me and she tried calling you all to persuade you all not to cook my chicken... but alas! When I got home.. all that was left were chicken feathers in the kitchen and a pot of black chicken soup!

yg said...

vee, you told the story here but this time, it is a slightly longer story.

Ivy said...

You still ate my chicken!

Lam Chun See said...

Shame on you YG:)

My children have a rooster called Mellow which is now at least 7 or 8 years old; and still running ... well maybe limping .. around in my backyard. So many friends volunteered to 'take care' of it for us but we could not bear to break the children's hearts.

Still haven't got around to blogging about it.

yg said...

chun see, i grew up in a kampong where i watched the chicks that my mom reared ending up on the dining table all the time. i even watched her as she slaughtered our chickens by slitting the throat and draining the blood into a bowl. after that, she would dip the whole chicken into a tin of boiling water. this was done to facilitate the easy removal of the feathers.
my daughter's chicken was slaughtered by our then filipino domestic help.

Lam Chun See said...

Likewise for me. My mother once asked me to hold the chicken as she slit its throat. I was told that no matter what, must not loosen my grip. The feeling of the poor animal struggling in my hands; at first violently and then slowly fading is unforgetable :(