“Cool Eggs” from Markovice in the Czech Republic
About 100 km east of Prague, in Markovice, Unikom a.s. operates a layer farm. Unikom is committed to producing high-quality eggs labelled as “Cool Eggs” (Pohodová vejce), based on the long tradition and modern production on the Markovice farm. Annual production reaches up to 17 million eggs, which are distributed through Unikom’s own wholesale network in the Czech Republic. Big Dutchman provided an important contribution: the German equipment supplier equipped one two-level house with the NATURA 60 aviary last year; another one will be installed next year. These two brand new houses of 21 m x 76 m have a total capacity of nearly 100,000 birds.
Unikom uses a deep litter system and aviary technology, which supports an animal-friendly environment and concentrates on the birds’ welfare. Laying hens thus have enough space for movement, they can scratch all they want, are stress-free, have easy access to water and feed and live in good climate conditions.
Another benefit of the modern housing equipment from Vechta is that neither the region’s hot and dry summers nor the cold winters in the region affect the birds negatively. The reason: Big Dutchman has supplied a CombiTunnel ventilation system that combines the best of two worlds. At low outside temperatures, the house is ventilated in side mode for even temperatures in the barn. In the summer, ventilation is switched to tunnel mode. This leads to a high cooling effect with minimum energy consumption.
Poultry house management
For many people, bits and bytes are a normal part of today’s office work. The same is the case in many poultry houses around the world, where the computer is indispensable. The Markovice farm is no exception. ViperTouch ensures that the climate in the barn meets the layers’ needs in every season. This has a positive influence on their health and thus on their laying performance. The climate computer can be used for all established types of ventilation (natural, mechanical and combined).
ViperTouch is good for more than just poultry climate control, however. The controller also manages all production processes and displays them in an easy-to-understand way. Growth, feed and water consumption or mortality: the computer with its intuitive user interface provides an overview of all data and thus enables the Czech poultry managers to react quickly and correctly when conditions change – before there are any losses. The farmers can retrieve the data with their smartphones from their couch at home just as well as from the office PC.
More Big barn technology
As an extra feature, Unikom decided to install a manure drying system to reduce, preserve and better dispose of manure. They also focused on automating as many processes as possible. The installation of an automatic rinsing system for drinker lines, automatic egg collection including the collection of eggs mislaid in the system, egg counters, a litter reduction system, scales for feeding and modern LED lighting were therefore a must. This has made management of the whole farm much easier and more efficient.
Unikom also has four rearing houses for 200,000 pullets. Three houses are already equipped with modern aviaries; house 4 will follow soon. Unikom selected the NATURA Primus rearing aviary, another member of the NATURA aviary family, for the new barn.
Primus was designed specifically for the young ones, since pullets are similar to toddlers in this regard: they need to learn even the most simple processes. From feed intake to jumping and roosting in the system: when the hens move to the laying aviary at the point of lay, they are experts for life in an aviary system.