Egg production: newcomer named Germany’s best poultry manager 2022
In 2019, Holger Hogt from Itterbeck in the northwest of Germany decided to switch from pig production to egg production. Just three years later, in 2022, the Big Dutchman customer scored a podium finish for the renowned Ceres Award of the agricultural publication agrarheute in the category “Poultry Manager”: an impressive performance for a newcomer who has just embarked on a new line of work with 36,000 free range hens and a welfare aviary. The broadcasting station NDR (Northern German Broadcasting) recently published a documentary (linked below) about the success story that is worth watching.
Hogt is very passionate about his farm; his goal is making it ready for future generations. He emphasises not only animal welfare, but moreover profitability and sustainability. Happy employees are also important to him, which is why he encourages his staff to participate actively in business decisions.
With regard to animal welfare, the Big Dutchman aviary system Natura Step serves Hogt very well. The birds can fully exhibit their natural behaviours. The needs of the farmer and his staff are also met, since the system was designed in a way that makes the nests easy to inspect. The layers spend the night inside the barn. But during the day, it’s literally an open house: the flock is allowed to scratch and peck outside.
Welfare does not stop at the system or a free range, however. Hogt also adjusts the feed to meet his hens’ needs. The nutritional requirements of laying hens differ between morning and afternoon, which is why the birds receive two different feed types every day. Hogt knows: given the correct feed at the correct time, the birds are much happier.
The feeding process is controlled by the Big Dutchman management system amacs. Big Dutchman technicians have equipped the controller with a special feature called Split Feeding Control. It ensures that feed is provided based on the birds’ needs. In the linked article, a farming colleague and Big Dutchman customer talks about the split feeding concept.
Of course laying hens also produce quite a bit of manure. This is where Hogt’s sustainability concept comes into play. Acting as an energy producer, Hogt uses the poultry manure to generate power and heat in his biogas plant. Since he wants to have the nutrients under control at all times, Hogt is very focused on ensuring that the circular economy works in full on his farm.