“The excellent production results of the NATURA Step aviary speak for themselves”
Slovaks like to eat eggs: in 2016, they ate 212 per head. For many years, the country in East Central Europe has been in the upper mid-range regarding its preference for food rich in protein. Eugen Ruttkay from Martin, a town located close to the borders to the Czech Republic and to Poland, is one of the egg producers who ensure a constant supply of eggs. After Slovak supermarkets announced that they would stop selling eggs from enriched colony systems as of 2025, the Big Dutchman customer recently converted his enriched colony house to floor management. 18,700 laying hens now live in the NATURA Step aviary system, an animal welfare classic from the German equipment supplier.
With this decision, Eugen Ruttkay has become a pioneer in Slovakia: About 90 per cent of the 2.5 million layers managed on the country’s professional farms still lay their eggs in enriched colony systems, only nine percent are already kept on the floor and approximately one percent can go outside to range. Since alternative egg production is still in its infancy in Slovakia, the egg producer and veterinary graduate Eugen Ruttkay has bought his pullets from a pullet rearing farm in the Czech Republic.
NATURA Step speaks for itself
Eugen Ruttkay is very pleased and has come to the conclusion that “the excellent production results and the clean eggs produced in NATURA Step speak for themselves”. The positive results do not come about by chance: “Besides the good utilisation of space, our customers value the fact that all areas of the system are very easy to reach. This also means that nest inspection is very easy, which significantly facilitates daily work”, explains sales representative Martin Prang.
The levels in the aviary used for barn egg production and free range egg production are of different widths. The layers can thus easily reach all three levels. This particularly applies to the integrated nest area. The result: very few floor-laid eggs. The nipple drinkers directly in front of the nest increase nest acceptance even further.
Last, but not least: “Our customers tell us again and again that the birds seem very happy”, Martin Prang says with pride. NATURA Step is thus also well received by its inhabitants.
This video illustrates life in the NATURA Step aviary system!
NATURA Step is part of the modular NATURA system. “No farm is like the other. We equip new barns or renovate old ones, high houses and low buildings. Over the decades, Big Dutchman engineers have designed a wide range of systems”, Martin Prang emphasises. As a consequence, no NATURA aviary system is like the other. Hence, the equipment supplier from Germany can essentially meet every customer demand.
The numerous members of the NATURA family all have in common that they combine the requirements of egg producers and economic aspects with great success:
Supported by multiple structural elements, the laying hens can exhibit their natural behaviours, such as scratching and dust bathing, and they can move freely on several levels ⇒ happy birds
The correct positioning of feed and drinker lines as well as of the nests leads to a uniform utilisation of all areas in the aviary and increases nest acceptance ⇒ high laying performance, very few mislaid eggs
Sufficient usable area on several levels as well as a 100-percent utilisation of the house surface ⇒ high stocking densities
Hygiene in the house
Manure belts underneath the levels regularly transport the manure from the house ⇒ clean system surroundings and healthy birds
Climate in the house
If the manure is additionally ventilated, the ammonia level is reduced even more ⇒ clean air and healthy birds