Enriched Colony Housing System Opened

US - Big Dutchman's AVECH system, which is an enriched colony housing system, was installed and is in operation at J.S. West, Livingston, California for 150,000 hens.
calendar icon 5 July 2010
clock icon 4 minute read

An open house at J.S. West was held on 21 June to announce to the media and public the installation of the leading enriched colony housing system for layer hens in the United States. The AVECH system earned the American Humane® Seal of Approval. American Humane is the largest and oldest third party certification of farm animal welfare.

above: On occasion of an open house California-based J.S. West Company recently unveiled new housing for egg-laying hens that aims to meet the space standards approved by state voters in 2008
below: AVECH model with Hollywood hens to illustrate room for birds

Jill Benson, J.S. West vice president, commented: "It meets the animal welfare needs in a variety of ways by providing more opportunities for natural behaviour."

Tim Amlaw, vice president of American Humane's farm animal welfare programme, said: "We recognise that reasoned and science-based evaluation tells us that enriched colony housing, when implemented properly, is a humane way to raise hens and produce safe eggs for the marketplace."

The AVECH housing system provides room for 60 hens per enclosure with a nesting box surrounded by curtains, an area for 'free-roaming', eating troughs, nipple drinkers, manure belt, an area for perching, and a scratch pad for the hens to do their normal dust-bathing activities.

The system installed at J.S. West is just the beginning of a larger project. This first system includes 10 rows and six tiers with each row measuring 498 feet long. There will be approximately 150,000 birds with 116 square inches per bird. As a complete and integrated package, everything from automatic egg handling, feeding, watering, and ventilation to manure handling is being managed by a tightly integrated Poultry Management Systems, Inc. computer controlled system.

There will be a live video feed of the system at work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This feed will broadcast one AVECH section over the internet for anyone to see.

Big Dutchman provides equipment to farms around the world and has been the worldwide leader in poultry and egg production systems since 1938. They offer practical, economical and environmentally-friendly solutions geared to your future needs. Big Dutchman stands for long-lasting quality, service, and unsurpassed know-how. As the industry leader, our innovations will continue to positively impact the industries we serve. Big Dutchman's US headquarters is located in Holland, Michigan, and has offices around the world.

J.S. West & Company, a 100-year-old family farming business based in Modesto, California cares for 1.8 million hens and provides Northern California consumers with locally produced eggs which are safe, nutritious and affordable. Third and fourth generations own and operate the family's three farms in two counties, providing jobs and much needed tax revenues in hard hit rural areas. J.S. West leads the way in egg-laying hen care with the American Humane Certified endorsed Enriched Colony Barn.

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