Design for life

Behind the scenes at a state-of-the-art rearing farm for Aviagen Turkeys

Last year Powell & Co was awarded a contract by Aviagen Turkeys to build six new turkey sheds on a greenfield site in North Wales. 

Aviagen Turkeys is the global leader in turkey genetics selling the B.U.T. and Nicholas breeds. As well as selling turkey parent stock, Aviagen Turkeys also owns distribution businesses producing and selling commercial turkey eggs and poults.

With over 27 farms and two hatcheries, the company’s strategy is to re-invest 10% of turnover into the breeding programme every year.

As a major supplier of turkey breeding stock throughout Europe and other parts of the world the business has a responsibility to maintain its flocks at the highest possible health status in order to prevent the vertical transmission of poultry or zoonotic pathogens down the supply chain. In addition, Aviagen Turkeys ensure good geographical distribution of the pedigree populations to guarantee the security of the different pedigree and gene pool lines.

The need to continually improve the biosecurity of farms and the increased breeding requirement has led to a strategy to upgrade, or replace the existing pedigree rearing farms to incorporate enhanced biosecurity infrastructure and to provide purpose-built facilities for the new and expanded pedigree selection activities.

The latest step in the upgrading of Aviagen Turkeys pedigree rearing facilities is the construction of a new state-of-the-art rearing farm outside Llay near Wrexham. Fully commissioned in January 2019 the site is a high biosecurity facility with all buildings linked together to ensure that once personnel have showered into the site, they remain inside. Particular attention has been given to the procedures and facilities for receiving deliveries such as bedding material and for ensuring that biosecurity is maintained during the loading-out of birds.

Aviagen chose Powell & Co based on recommendation and visits to other sites. Covering over 7,800 square metres each shed measures 64.6m long by 20.3m wide with external walls to 2.59m high.  The 15° roof pitch has been designed with an allowance of 15kg/m2 made for all feeders, drinkers, heaters, fans and lights to be suspended from the roof in each of the 12 rearing unit sections. 

The roof has been cladded with 0.5mm thick polyester painted box steel sheet in Vandyke Brown colour to meet the local authority planning regulations.  Insulation of the roof has been completed with 200mm thick fibreglass insulation quilt with additional shelter board insulation on the underside of steel rafters to prevent cold bridging.

A key design feature is the constructed link corridor running through the centre of each poultry house, dividing the six units into twelve. The corridor is connected to a 216m2 amenity block containing a canteen, storage, stores and shower facilities, and is designed to maintain the high levels of biosecurity required for accessing any batch of turkeys. The corridor situated between houses 1 and 2, 5 and 6 features a half-glazed fire door, along with non-opening windows between houses 2 and 3, 4 and 5.

“We were very pleased with the willingness of Powell & Co to respond to our specific design requirements which are required to maximise biosecurity and to ensure the ‘cleanability’ of the facility to facilitate the highest standards of cleaning and disinfection,” says Kenton Hazel, director of production and veterinary services.

Specific design features ensure that each of the six building constructions are air-tight and light proof, enabling environmental controls to be in place throughout the rearing programme. The units satisfy all environmental conditions necessary to rear the birds, and to carry out pedigree selection activities.

“Being a primary breeding company places demands on our buildings not normally encountered in the commercial world. The team at Powell & Co have provided us with an environment which is easy to manage,” says John Canfield, rearing farms manager.

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