Egg Industry - December 2017 - 14
14 ❙ EggIndustry
AISLE WIDTH IN CAGE-FREE SYSTEMS
Heerkens said. Litter should be no
deeper than 2 to 3 inches, he added.
Excessive litter may create a greater
risk for floor eggs; an attractive nest
will help eliminate this issue.
If litter is a bit wet producers,
should add stir fans and move through
the house themselves to get the birds
to circulate more. Dry litter is important so that birds have something to
do to occupy their time, as Heerkens
previously suggested. By doing this,
producers are reducing the risk of
feather picking and cannibalism.
Navigation in such systems
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"Cage-rearing [of pullets] is
definitely unsuitable for preparing
hens for cage-free systems during
production," Heerkens said. Aviary
housing is more complex housing
than what pullets raised in cages
would be accustomed to. Birds
need to learn to go up high to look
for water and feed as soon as possible, not only to fill their nutritional
requirements but also to strengthen
their physiques and to learn navigation systems and what jumps to take.
This will ultimately lead to less injuries later, Heerkens explained.
Rearing systems can be relatively
simplistic if you can provide a training system that's realistic to the
expectations the birds will need to
meet in their production houses.
Dimming of the lights at the end
of the day in the house may teach
the birds to go up high, he added.
Management should watch birds
closely to make sure they are properly using the system, Heerkens
noted. Place yourself in the shoes of
the bird to figure out what works.
"Flock movement is what we are
after," said Snow. This results in less
competition, more activity and fewer
mislaid eggs while still directly improving the welfare of the hen. ■
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ December 2017