Recently hatched layer chicks are prepared for shipment at the Huayu hatchery in Hebei province, China. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
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Behind a row of sealed red incubator doors in a new facility in northern China, about 400,000 chicks are hatched every day, part of the rapidly modernizing supply chain in China's $37 billion egg industry, the world's biggest.Most egg producers now have between 20,000 and 50,000 hens, said Yuan, a significant change even from two years ago.By producing 200,000 females a day – around 60 million layers a year (one day a week is for cleaning) – it can meet demand from larger farms who want to buy day-old chicks in one batch, said Jonathan Cade, president of Hy-Line International, based in West Des Moines, Iowa.Only 20 staff will be needed in the new plant, compared with around 100 in Huayu's older hatchery, said Huayu Chairman Wang Lianzeng.The Chinese already eat more eggs per capita than almost everyone else, about 280 a year or almost 1 billion a day across the country, so consumption is unlikely to rise much.In addition to the new Handan hatchery, it is building another in Chongqing, which will bring annual production to 180 million chicks.
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