Egg Industry - December 2017 - 12
12 ❙ EggIndustry
AISLE WIDTH IN CAGE-FREE SYSTEMS
lights will be located and what kind of ventilation system
depends on how big your system is. To have the optimum
will be used. "All of these should be carefully thought
house for the birds, producers should design the dimensions
out when deciding what aisle width should be," said Snow.
of the house around the aviary system they're using.
The bigger the aisle is, the better it is for management to
step back and analyze the system and how birds are reLighting in wider aisles
sponding to it, without forcing as much stress on the birds.
"Lighting should be as uniform as possible," Snow
Jasper Heerkens, Ph.D., poultry specialist with Jansen
said. The wider the aisle, the more opportunity there is
Poultry Equipment, agreed with Snow during the same
for light to reach each tier. If there are darker areas of the
Webinar. "Use the room to sit or stand still in the house and
house, then you are creating a choice for the birds; while
observe the overall picture every other day so that birds are
choice is good, you don't want too many birds to choose
used to you being in the house," he said. Make sure that your
one area of the system and create congestion.
staff is properly trained to read bird behaviors, he added.
"Congestion may lead to problems with ventilation,
While every bird
mislaid eggs and litter
has daily necessities,
quality," said Snow.
facilities to meet those
A cage-free egg
that good light impledge needs
be found in the house,
behavior and welfare.
This means there are
different functional areas
of the house, but they all
logical processes [e.g.,
serve a specific purpose.
stimulates feed intake
How much space is really needed
and laying behavior," Heerkens said.
Fifteen percent of the space that a hen is given is too
However, Heerkens noted that it might be of value to
little to have in the aisle ways, Snow explained. Birds gathhave different light conditions in different functional arer in the aisle ways for numerous reasons. Space under the
eas. Those lighting options should be controlled by mansystems is still available space, however, birds will come
agement and may vary on the time of day. "Nesting areas
to the aisles. Overseas they allow for more room, but curshould be darker," he said.
rently 15 percent is the required U.S. allotment per bird.
For birds to have a smooth transition from rearing to
This number may be affected by how much employproduction, housing management should use the same
ees are in and out of the houses moving the birds. "I'm
feeding and lighting schedule that was used in the last
not one to tell you that 15 percent is just not enough, you
week of rearing, Heerkens suggested. Even the same feed[producers] may just have to manage those houses better,"
ers and drinkers may be beneficial.
Some producers are trying different colors of lights
Traditional cage houses had three-foot aisles. "If you
and natural light. Natural light is harder to manage in
have that amount of space you're going to wish you had
terms of uniformity and may not be the best option,
more," said Snow.
"I know it costs more to have that extra space, but in the
long run it should be worth it," Snow said. More space per
Wider aisles allow for better ventilation
bird does not mean there are fewer birds in the house; it all
Proper aisle width allows for a more uniform temwww.WATTAgNet.com ❙ December 2017