Australian Experience with Aviary Systems

AUSTRALIA - When using an aviary system, the need for well trained birds cannot be underestimated, according to Ryan Peacock, talking about his experiences to the PIX 2010 conference.
calendar icon 28 June 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

From 23 to 26 May, the Poultry Information Exchange, PIX 2010, was organized in Broadbeach, Australia. Ryan Peacock of Farm Pride Foods Ltd presented his experiences with aviary systems at this congress. Farm Pride Foods has been working with the aviary systems for free-range egg production since 2006, as one of the first poultry companies in Australia.

The farm was build on a green-field site in Northern Victoria, consisting of three sheds, each with the capacity to hold in excess of 40.000 free range birds. The sheds where equipped with the Vencomatic Bolegg Terrace system. In his paper, Mr Peacock shared his experiences and knowledge on how to effectively manage birds in aviary systems under Australian conditions.

He explained: "With the increased demand for non caged eggs in Australia, the development and introduction of more efficient and larger scale alternative systems in Australia is inevitable.

"This has also been the case throughout Europe, where aviary systems are now common place. The biggest advantage is the fact that the modern aviary systems, like the Bolegg Terrace, provide an environment which meets the behavioral needs of the birds, such as perching, dust bathing, laying eggs in a nest and foraging. Also the more efficient utilization of shed space, thus reducing the building costs per bird, is an advantage, as well as the reduction of running costs for egg collection, feed delivery and manure removal are reduced, due to automation."

The key message that Mr Peacock shared with the audience related to the rearing of the birds.

He said: "When using an aviary system, the need for well trained birds cannot be underestimated and a specialized rearing facility should be part of the implementation. If not trained and managed well, problems may occur, like floor eggs, poor flock performance and increased mortality. Important in the rearing period is that birds should be encouraged to use perches from day one. It is not recommended that floor reared birds be used in an aviary system due to some birds having a reduced or delayed capability to jump up into the system."

In his final conclusion Mr Peacock added: "There have been many challenges since the inception of this farm, new flocks have seen great improvement and flock performance is comparable to the breed standards, however careful and close management is required. The aviary system is a cost-effective and efficient way of producing eggs whilst complying with barn and free-range regulations."

Further Reading

- You can view the Mr Peacock's full report by clicking here.
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