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New House For 50.000 Pullets Bound For Laying Aviaries

07 August 2007
Big Dutchman

FRANCE - Eggs from layers kept in alternative layer systems are on the rise in France.

According to this development, France has seen one of the country’s first big aviary rearing systems being installed in Ebblinghem: Jean-Luc and Corinne Lefebvre – SCEA de la Marlière – decided to invest in the well-proven NATURA-rearing concept from Big Dutchman. The French couple opted for the multi-tier system as pullets bound for laying aviaries should already be reared in an aviary-like environment in order to minimise stress and thus be prepared for the transition from rearing to laying systems. Both the French journal Filières Avicoles (June 2007, pp. 65-67) as well as the Belgian journal Pluimvee (June 2007, pp. 28-29) published a comprehensive article on this topic.

The 80 x 18.80 m layer house is equipped with five rows, three tiers NATURA-rearing system from Big Dutchman and has a capacity of 50,000 layers. The rows are separated by 1.60 m wide aisles where the birds are able to move around and thus learn how to jump and fly. When the pullets are 16 weeks old they are transferred to a laying aviary. Jean-Luc and Corinne Lefebvre closely cooperate with the Belgian hatchery De Biest.

Big Dutchman-NATURA-rearing system: The professional multi-tier system for rearing of healthy, vital and uniform pullets

To ensure an optimum transfer of pullets to aviary laying systems, it is recommended to rear pullets in a comparable system. True to the motto: “intensive training of pullets from the first day on to prevent stress when moving”. The three-level NATURA rearing system from Big Dutchman is considered a well-proven method of stress prevention as it allows to grow pullets in an aviary-like environment.

The day-old chicks are housed in the centre tier for approximately 21 days. The easy-to-handle cage front remains closed during this time. To allow for more freedom of movement 50% of the birds can be transferred to the lower tier after approx. 10 days. Feed and water are always available at the chicks’ immediate disposal.

In the fourth week the chick tier is opened and the pullets are now able to move around in the entire house and thus learn how to jump and fly. The lower and the central tier of the NATURA rearing system dispose of feed and water lines. As the pullets tend to go to the highest place for the night, the top tier serves as resting area. This behaviour is supported by a sunset simulation. In order to eat, the pullets have to go down to the two lower tiers in the morning. The arrangement of the perches makes it easier for the birds to get to know the interior of the house. The “forced commuting” between resting area and other tiers promotes a uniform behaviour of the pullets. During the night the perches are automatically folded into the system so that the pullets sleep in the system already from the beginning on — manure drops onto the manure belts and not into the aisle area.

Result: by the time the pullets are transferred to the laying aviary, in week 16, they are well trained and are immediately comfortable using the different areas, (feeding, scratching and resting). That means they only require a very short training phase as the design concept of rearing and laying system are almost identical. The only new equipment are the laying nest.

Technical detail solutions with important advantages for the producer:

  1. A special approach rail (Big Dutchman-patent) ensures that the pullets perch facing the aisle. Conclusion: 0 percent less manure in the aisle area7
  2. Automatically foldable perches:
    - the birds can easily reach the individual tiers;
    - during the night the perches are folded in = no manure in the aisle;
    - effective utilisation of the house = high stocking densities;
    - perches are folded to the system during the inspection round = better overview.
    Conclusion: contrary to systems with platforms there are no manure accumulations under the perches
  3. Dirt protection of trough and nipple drinkers
    - with tube over trough and nipple drinker that also serves as perch;
    - in the form of a plate roof above the nipple drinker.
    Conclusion: better animal health
Big Dutchment-equipment: - 5 rows of Natura-rearing 3-tiers
- chain feeding
- height-adjustable drinkers on all tiers
- foldable endplates made of Inox beneath the installation
- doors for passageways
- longitudinal ventilation with Airmaster + wall outlets for exhaust air, wall inlets for fresh air supply
- dimmable high-frequency lights in the aisles
- cross manure removal

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