Building accessible biosecurity

Avara Foods has invested in two new rearing houses from Morspan housing 50,000 birds and is trialling different heating systems in each.

The houses above were the first of near identical rearing sites recently completed by Morspan Construction for Avara Foods in Powys.

The two Morspan houses are 104m and 101m long by 32.3m wide and hold a total of 44,000 pullets and approximately 5,290 males. In total there are 24 pens, three for rearing males and 21 pens for females.

They were built on an existing broiler breeder laying farm where the timber posted houses were ageing. Instead of refurbishment, Avara Foods made the decision to demolish and invest in new steel framed houses.

The chicks come in at a day old from Aviagen and are reared in the houses until 18 weeks when they are transferred to the laying farm. One of the most important aspects in the project was biosecurity, says Morspan sales director Donald Gillespie. The buildings work on a four to seven week turnaround to allow a thorough clean combined with a shower-in, shower-out system to ensure the highest level of biosecurity at all times.

The designers at Morspan worked closely with Avara Foods to ensure the highest levels of biosecurity could be maintained in the day to day operation of the unit. The design of the unit was crucial, says Gillespie. “If you make biosecurity too onerous staff bypass it,” he says.

Rather than having biosecurity procedures at multiple points such as foot dips, hand washes and clothing changes, the buildings have a single point of entry where all processes are carried out. “Once they’re in, they’re in,” says Gillespie. “There are no points where staff keep coming in and out. We used a similar design to some of our Aviagen sites in Scotland.”

The dimensions of the houses were designed to maximise the site. This was done because the site is landlocked, so the buildings were erected into all four corners of the site. This means so all bird movement is through the front elevations.

Another core aspect of any workplace building is the equipment inside. Avara Foods was keen to use equipment that made the buildings easier and more appealing place to work, as well as focussing on a high level of performance from the birds. 

On the project, Morspan were appointed as the principle contractor working alongside Connops Concrete, Climatec Systems and Securcom. Internal partitions were supplied by Jansen UK.

The second site, which is slightly smaller, has just recently been populated. One interesting change in approach between the two sites is that in the latter, Avara Foods is trialling the use of heat lamps instead of brooders and are monitoring to see if is a significant difference in the birds performance.

Once they work out which gives the better performance, the plan is to roll it out to other sites.

Toby Arkel, the broiler breeder area manager for Avara Foods, says the company is happy with the new buildings and the professionalism by all contractors involved. “All involved are looking forward to working on these fantastic new farms delivering top quality broiler breeders onto the laying farms.”

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