Details about the operation of the Tyson Foods hatchery in Monett were shared at last week's meeting of the Monett Kiwanis Club.
Beth Leubbering, hatchery manager, said Monett has one of 39 hatcheries that Tyson operates around the nation. The hatchery has an average hatch rate of more than 86 percent with eggs that are more than 92 percent fertile. Tyson's hatcheries produce 40 million chicks weekly.
The Monett hatchery was constructed in 1993. Thirty-six Tyson team members work in the 72,130-square-foot facility, drawing eggs from 22 hen farms. The egg room uses 56 incubators. The 109 Chickmaster units have a total weekly capacity of 1,741,824 hatches and produce 1.5 million birds a week.
The incubator rooms each contain 93,312 eggs. Eggs are moved on the 19th day, newer eggs placed with older ones so that the warmth from the more developed eggs helps to stimulate the newer ones.
The vaccination process is done by machine. Eggs are injected in the top with the chick sitting on the bottom of the egg. The vaccinated egg is then picked up by vacuum and transferred into a hatchery basket, then transferred to the hatcher rooms. Fifty-six hatchers are used.
"We hatch half of the hatchery every day," Luebbering said.
A second medical step is done after the chicks are born. Luebbering said the strategy of spraying the birds with a red colored substance was introduced last year. The chicks pick the dried spray off each other, thus ingesting the contents. The effect has cut the death rate, she said.
A separating machine is used to remove the shells from the baskets full of chicks. The small birds are then "packaged" 100 birds per box and transported to growers within a 30-mile radius of Monett.
Chicks are delivered in air conditioned trailers. Local broiler houses have a total capacity of 7,590,000 square feet. The birds grow up there until they reach the size for processing.
Jim Haston, who served as program chairman, had recruited Luebbering when he worked as human resources manager for Tyson. Luebbering is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and has been hatchery manager for the past eight years.
Kiwanis President Frank Washburn presided at the meeting. In club news, it was reported the recent Peanut Day raised $2,053. Funds will be donated to the Children's Miracle Network or used for children's programs in Monett.
The Monett Kiwanis Club meets weekly at noon for a meal and a program, usually at Happy House restaurant.