Recent research progress in chicken house design

  explore the origin of modern large birdcage chicken coop, so today’s egg producers benefit from these efficient production systems. Based on the results of trial and error and the experience of the past decades, the pioneers in the egg production industry made it possible to promote the use of large bird cages.
  Study 1 large birdcage chicken coop design progress
  of commercial large birdcage chicken coop design dates back to the 1980s. At that time, Swiss poultry producers began to use chicken coops and set up a separate laying nest and an area for laying hens to jump up and down in the place near the wall in the chicken coop. This design of the hen house may result in a higher percentage of ground eggs (about 4%) from the laying hens, but due to the low density of the chickens, the breeder can collect eggs easily and quickly. Each hen house usually raises 600 to 6,000 laying hens.
  In the 1990s, Dutch poultry producers began to test this design with larger chicken houses. The number of laying hens raised in each chicken house increased to 20,000-25,000, and the stocking density increased. Unfortunately, the high density of laying hens in the hen house has resulted in an increase in the proportion of ground eggs-6% to 10% of total egg production.
  Not only does it take more time to manually collect eggs for laying hens with more ground eggs, but the high-density rearing also makes it difficult for the breeder to move back and forth in the chicken coop to collect eggs. Due to the dissatisfaction of the breeder with the work intensity and the need for a large amount of manual egg collection, coupled with the decline in the proportion of A-class eggs, this design method of the chicken house is not suitable for large-scale breeding of laying hens.
  These early attempts in the commercial production of cageless layers have inspired poultry producers to create a more ideal production system with the aim of improving layer welfare and production performance, while minimizing the need for flock management Labor force. A poultry industry pioneer named Peter van Agt found that placing a waterer in front of the laying nest can significantly improve the performance of laying hens, because this layout makes it easier for laying hens to find laying nests.
  After laying hens in the morning, they are more willing to drink water during laying time, so this layout can reduce the proportion of ground eggs. Since then, designers will fully consider other natural characteristics of laying hens when designing the production system, so that laying hens can jump up and down easily. Due to the robust growth and development of layer hens in this ecological environment, the era of modern multi-layer large bird cage type chicken coops-also known as European style or open large bird cage type chicken coops began.
  Nowadays, multi-layer large bird cage type chicken houses (such as the VIKE large bird cage type production system produced by ChoreTime) are mainly composed of three layers (Figure 1): Pecking, planing and sand bathing; the middle layer is an independent nest layer, and drinking fountains are placed at the same time to encourage laying hens to lay eggs on this layer; the highest layer is the perch layer, with perches installed The laying hens create an ideal sleeping area.
  In the production system using this design method, the laying hens tend to be scattered freely, which helps eliminate hot spots in the chicken house. There are many styles of multi-layer big bird cage type chicken coop, each style has different levels to meet the various needs of laying hens, such as feeding, drinking, laying and natural behavior of laying hens, such as sand bathing And rest.
  These large bird cage-type chicken houses can also provide a very hygienic environment for laying hens, which is conducive to their healthy growth and reproduction, and can reduce the labor required to clean the chicken coop. In addition, because this production system keeps the laying area and eggs clean, the quality of the eggs can also be maximized, so poultry producers can usually get more Class A eggs.
  2 Combined production system
  The multi-storey large bird cage type chicken house is not the end of the chicken coop development chain. In the early 21st century, a design team continued to design the new system, hoping to improve the multi-storey large bird cage type chicken house. They imagined these combined production systems as enriched chicken   coops without doors. The development goals are:
  ○ Reduce the necessity of young hen training;
○ Close the cage doors in the first few weeks after entering the new type of chicken house;
  ○ Try to Reduce the movement of laying hens to reduce feed intake;
  ○ Reduce management requirements.
  Unfortunately, the theory behind the modular chicken house has not been fully demonstrated as planned. The only goal achieved is to reduce the feed intake of the laying hens by about 1%. Poultry producers have found that training young hens in this production system is equally important. Enclosed laying hen house will make laying hens forget a lot of training content, and will also cause ventilation problems. In addition, the combined production system actually increases the management work required in the chicken house, because in this type of production system, the laying hens are not naturally distributed in the chicken house.
  3 Summary
  Although the combined large birdcage chicken coop is still available, but for a large birdcage multi-storey houses they have lost in terms of market share. In fact, European poultry producers have almost completely stopped using them, not only because of their insufficient performance, but also because these solutions are still largely regarded by the public as not getting rid of the cage production system.
  Due to the increasing demands of consumers, the trend of cageless production will continue, and the design of the chicken coop will continue to improve. However, so far, the multi-layer large birdcage chicken house has proved to be the strongest link in the development chain of the production system that can meet the requirements of no cage. They are developed after years of observing the natural characteristics of laying hens, and have been proven through a strong return on investment and healthy chicken flocks.