Poultry Production

Here it is not the chicken, as some say, but the egg is the one arriving first. All starts when they receive them from the Base Business Units such as :El Brillante , La Unión and Lavandero, in the province, as well as others in Pinar del Río and Villa Clara.

It is the largest Incubation Plant in the country, with capacity for nine million eggs, and the first to operate, since 2006, with technology imported from the People's Republic of China and installed by technicians from that country, to enhance production process and improve workers conditions.

Come and go, plant inside

In this entity of Artemisa Poultry Company, the only one of its kind in the province of commercial line, the passion begins when unloading dozens and dozens of eggs that, although already classified, return to this process.

And how many times has Tomás Prieto Díaz,the technical manager seen such procedure .He has worked in the entity for 27 years? .
“We redefine if they are suitable for hatching, because of the weight, size, cleanliness and shell quality, ideal of a fertile embryo. They are fumigated with formaldehyde and potassium permanganate, about 20 minutes and then go to the grilling area. ”

The cars, he tells me, “have capacity for about 4 800 eggs, and each cabinet, of the 37 that work, assumes four cars, more or less 19 200 possible chicks to be born in the four incubations planned in a week (Monday, Tuesday , Thursday and Friday). The rest of the days we sanitize and maintain the equipment, ”Tomas says.

Headache started

Everything might seem wonderful at Eduardo García Lavandero plant, but, as is often the case, imported technologies do not always bring spare parts.

Almost 13 years after Chinese assembly , many of the discs installed in the trays, capable of distributing moisture in the incubation cabinets, got deteriorated.

There is no possibility in the country to import them, at least quickly, and 8,228 discs are required, which are worth 0.87 cents each in the international market.

They are constantly broken by water calcium, temperature and other causes of the process. So does the plant stop?

At least the first five harmed incubators stopped producing 141 857.28 pesos every 21 days, a loss equivalent to 36 096 chicks with a value of 3.93 pesos, plus the breach of the plans and the salary inconvenience to the workers, which would affect time afterwards the UEB of Start, Replacement and Layer, links of the productive chain with the Plant.

However, it did not reach so much. A group of workers, with years of experience and willingness, and , between Dr. Marcos Sánchez, Engineer German Ramón Paula and mechanics Iran Mojena and German Luis Zumeta, a solution to the problem emerged .

In the blink of an eye, they changed Chinese humidifier technology. From rollers with 224 discs of synthetic material to only four plastic pallets, made of disposable boxes, which if perhaps the Chinese had not fitted them, they worked similarly and with the same productive indicators and humidity in the equipment.

With a certain alliance of pride and modesty, this is explained by Zumeta, a retiree and reincorporated to the same hustle and bustle of almost thirty years. Now there is no one who named him mechanic.

“I belong to the Development Group, made up by maintenance workers. There will not be hindrance in production when it comes to innovating, ”he says, while recognizing persistent obstacles to reaching a Science and Technology Forum or the National Association of Innovators and Rationalizers, an organization that does not even work in the center.

For that reason, Zumeta and his companions could not be awarded other innovations, such as the table with the tray that the Chinese did photograph, and perhaps generalize with their authorship, he says.

For now, the palettes, which saved the country 7 210.56 dollars , are waiting for the year of implementation, by replacing the importation of the discs, to diversify this proposal and receive monetary and moral recognition for innovation.

Pallets in function

Between temperatures and humidity, already well controlled with the humidifier with paddles, the eggs spend 18 and a half days in the incubators, then go to another two and a half days to become chicks, every 21 moons, a process that does not always end happy.

“This year only in May the plan was fulfilled and the average salary averaged 1,100 pesos. Missing eggs or the quality of these avoid efficiency; Therefore, they should check a sample of the embryos six, 11 and 19 days after incubation.

"Lately the fault is great: we throw away many eggs that report losses to the company and the plant, due to embryonic mortality or infertility, consequences of poor management, the health of the rooster, conservation, poor feeding...", says the productive technical manager.

“We study our raw material and what farm it comes from, to adopt measures through the technical department of the Company. Of the 691 200 eggs that had to enter in June, we have received only 552 800. If a high percent is in poor condition for incubation, what do we gain? ”Simple answer: almost nothing, and also economy loses .

Also, something very curious happens. “Of 100 eggs on average, 47% are females, social object of this commercial line. We send them to the Start farms up to 63 days, then they go up to 128 days to the Replacement and Layer farms during 18 months of production, period in which their eggs are part of the life of the Artemisa inhabitants and other Cubans who need the necessary and nutritious food, ”he states .

But, if from here the chain begins with loose links, and the plan is not fulfilled due to several factors ..., the population's dissatisfactions are joined by those who do not see eggs in butchers or other establishments, despite being of the most productive provinces of the country, with the logical breach for the economy.

The eggs that reach the plant come from the Genetics farms, with indispensable values for incubation; therefore, from these entities they must be quality caregivers to start the cycle well.

A suggestive question worries me. And the male chickens? A smile, and he answers me. "At least we discard the poultry , although they are used in other entities, especially for pig feed," says the technical chief. And how are you able to differentiate them a few minutes after birth?

At 11:25 a.m. María Ester Soto had already separated females and males between some 9,000 chicks . She had only 3,000 left to finish. She is very fast ! She does not even look

"The female's wing is superior," she tells me, although I hardly notice it. "We can be wrong, because genetics also is present, but the method of plumage has almost allow mistake ."It is not possible with her, I think. She has dedicated about 30 years to the Plant, and being a sex detector amazes her, she confesses. Very close, other agile and tireless hands vaccinate the chicks against smallpox, bronchitis and Marek's disease, the latter proceeding with medication imported from Brazil, another cost for an entity that has among its challenges to fulfill the planned .

All female chicks are ready, about to move them to other units, where - before the same question - no one will say as here but vice versa, because in the answer goes the logic of our own location. So, tell me, finally, who came first into the world, the chicken or the egg?

TRANSLATION BY LMMS

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