By Matt Donald, pig & poultry farmer, north Yorkshire
We have just placed a new flock of broiler breeders in at 18 weeks old, they have settled in well and the early signs are, that alterations to the feed system have improved feed distribution. We have changed things to leave the chain feeder down 24/7, by installing one hopper per feed line across the centre of the shed we can now have feed distributed in 2 minutes 20 seconds as opposed to 4 minutes 40 seconds previously, when all feed came from one end.
Leaving the chain feeder down means the birds can get into position before feeding, knowing where their space is, where as before, lowering the feeder from the roof meant that as the lights came on after it was lowered, they then had to find the section they wish to feed out of, creating a bit of a panic. All this should lower stress on the birds, thus improving welfare but also performance and most importantly, chick quality, after all even breeders means even chicks!
Thanks must go to Dalton Engineering, Drapervent, Morspan and our electricians R.E. Thompson, who were under pressure to revamp all four sheds but their efforts meant things were done in time before the birds arrived, with biosecurity our number one priority, I did not want anyone finishing off as birds came on to the farm.
Finally, a glass must be raised to the zip tie, cable tie, silage tie or whatever you may call it, it is without doubt that this is an essential item in every poultry farmers toolkit, I assume it is not just me? With Every turnaround we do, so much is held in place thanks to this little piece of plastic, as the first site gets older, its uses seem to be ever growing!