Egg Industry - November 2017 - 7
EggIndustry ❙ 7
Bill Snow, center, speaks about the importance of flock movement as William Huelsewiesche (from left),
Dr. Anna Concollato, Maikel Veron and Derrick Ament listen during a management panel at the Egg
Industry Center's Egg Industry Issues Forum. | Austin Alonzo
age-free egg farming will challenge the skills
of farmers for years to come, as the rapidly
emerging housing style demands far different
At the Egg Industry Center's Egg Industry
Issues Forum, a panel of equipment manufacturer professionals with expertise on cage-free
housing and management offered quick tips on managing a cage-free house. The panel, part of the April
19 and 20 event held in Columbus, Ohio, featured Dr.
Anna Concollato of FACCO's Poultry Science and
Technology Department; Bill Snow, aviary systems
specialist for USA and Canada at Big Dutchman;
Maikel Veron, vice president of North American sales
for Vencomatic; Derrick Ament, regional sales manager for Val-Co; and William Huelsewiesche, director
of operations for Farmer Automatic of America.
Feeding and watering
Moving to cage-free from conventional egg farming
requires a total change in mindset, Huelsewiesche said,
and forces the farmer to pay more attention to every
single detail in the process. One of the largest changes
comes in access to feed and water.
November 2017 ❙ www.WATTAgNet.com
Cage-free hens must have access to feed and water
and be trained to find and use the feeder and the drinker.
Huelsewiesche said the freedom of movement creates new
challenges for the farmer. Feed chains must be run in order
to attract the bird to the trough, and the level of feed in the
device must be high enough that the chain is not exposed.
Low feed levels can cause mechanical problems and hens
can also latch on and ride the chains, causing obstructions.
Water is an essential tool for training the birds to
find feed and perform other key behaviors in the layer
barn. From the earliest age, Huelsewiesche said, water
should be raised as high as possible so pullets can be
accustomed to climbing up into the system. Farmers
need to monitor the level of water pressure in their
water lines because excessive pressure can make it difficult for pullets with freshly trimmed beaks to break
the seal of a drinker. Once the seal is broken, too much
water will come out and create a cleanliness issue.
Avoiding problems with
hen crowding and migration
In a cage-free system, birds have the freedom to go
wherever they want but, Snow explained, diligent management is required to make sure they are moving enough