Czech Republic: “golden eggs” from barn egg production
Proagro Nymburk a.s. from Nymburk in the Czech Republic produces and distributes pork and poultry meat as well as eggs. To meet the demand for more welfare in poultry production and to be consistent with EU regulations, the company located near Prague has tackled an ambitious barn egg production project: a complete renovation of the layer farm Mestec Kralove.
Originally, nine livestock buildings were located on the premises, equipped with enriched colony systems. Proagro decided to apply for state funding and tore down the old buildings to erect three new, two-level poultry houses in their place. The German equipment supplier Big Dutchman provided the Natura 60 aviary for barn egg production for the new poultry houses, including a central egg collection system that is connected to the new egg grader.
The three new barns can be stocked with the same number of layers as the old facilities. The annual output will thus remain at approximately 60 million eggs.
Proagro markets their eggs under their own “Golden Eggs” label. 98 % of eggs are distributed through this channel. The remaining two percent are sold in farm shops.
Natura 60 aviary system for barn egg production
Each of the Natura 60 poultry houses is 115 x 21.6 metres large and can house 74,600 layers. The birds are kept in a total of six aviary systems on two levels. The first new building was erected in the spring of 2017; the last one will be completed in the autumn of 2018.
The aviary system can be closed for the birds’ familiarisation phase. The new arrivals spend this time getting to know their environment: feeding, drinking, exploring the three-tier system using the stairways, laying eggs in the nest. When the aviary is opened, the birds then immediately know their way around the different areas (feeding, scratching, resting, egg laying).
The aviary has been designed with poultry managers in mind: Natura 60 inspection aisles are free from birds, litter and other obstacles such as partitions. This makes moving birds in and out easier and facilitates daily routine tasks such as bird inspection and the manual collection of mislaid eggs. Fixed partitions every 2.41 metres guarantee that group sizes remain manageable.
Pullet rearing with Natura Primus
While working on the Natura 60 project, Proagro realised their need for more rearing places. They therefore decided to rear their pullets in an aviary system similar to where the hens would later lay their eggs.
Proagro chose to follow a recommendation from Big Dutchman and installed the Natura Primus 1600 aviary system, in which the birds can prepare for their life in Natura 60. In 2017, Proagro renovated two old broiler houses located in the municipality of Dlouhopolsko, turning them into rearing facilities. The new rearing houses are 103 x 12 metres large and have room for 46,200 hens each.
The Natura Primus three-tier rearing aviary is available in two widths and as a raised version, allowing poultry managers to achieve ideal stocking densities in their barns. A hinged-type partition installed every 2.40 metres in the system reduces stress during moving in and out.
Poultry climate control
The barns are ventilated by a CombiTunnel system. Each level is controlled separately by the Big Dutchman climate and production computer Viper. This is an ideal solution in a country where summer temperatures can be as high as 35 degrees Celsius.
Poultry managers know that healthy layers need fresh air and an inside temperature that fits the time of year. In a technical article about the requirements for ventilation systems specifically in aviary houses, which is available under the next link, Big Dutchman expert Jörg Bohnes explains how this goal can be achieved: Ideal climate conditions for laying hens.