State-of-the-art equipment part of Iowa State University's new poultry farm

Big Dutchman layer systems will help further poultry research

March 18, 2020

It’s no secret that Iowa State University’s faculty, students, and surrounding community are excited about their new poultry facility, the Robert T. Hamilton Poultry Teaching and Research Farm. In fact, over 200 people were present at the farm for the recent dedication on March 5th.

Located in Ames, Iowa, the new poultry teaching and research farm replaces older buildings on site that date back to the 1960’s. Now fully modernized, the state-of-the-art building will create opportunities for cutting-edge research and hands-on learning experiences that could never have been achieved before. In addition, it will allow versatility and adaptability to changing needs of the industry, and help address the challenges and opportunities in feeding the world.

According to the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the facility will accommodate education and research for several areas including housing systems, nutrition, food safety and microbiology, flock behavior, genetics, health and welfare, and environmental issues, including waste management. Its special features include:

  • Dedicated areas for poultry housing and egg processing set up with the latest equipment for students to study and practice contemporary egg production methods
  • Research facilities that provide flexible space and equipment to accommodate multiple projects
  • Enhanced levels of biosecurity and sanitation, plus zoned air-handling systems to independently control administrative, education and research wings within the facility

Types of housing systems that will be utilized in the facility include cage-free, enriched colony and conventional cage. Big Dutchman is proud to have equipment as part of each of these areas, including 2 discovery rooms with NATURA Step aviary systems, 2 discovery rooms with AVECH II enriched colony systems, and 1 discovery room with UniVENT conventional cage systems.

NATURA Step: Discovery Rooms 4 & 6
poultry research
AVECH II: Discovery Rooms 5 & 7
poultry research
UniVENT: Discovery Room 3

The farm expects to have birds placed into the systems by the end of March, and Farm Manager Cameron Hall stated they are already receiving multiple requests for projects that would be completed in the facility.

Dedication and Ribbon Cutting Event: March 5, 2020

To celebrate the completion of the project, a dedication and ribbon cutting event was held on site on March 5, 2020. The event attracted donors, ISU faculty, students from various other agriculture and life sciences programs, and more. In addition to the program, attendees were able to take a self-guided tour through the facility to experience the various ways in which the building will be utilized. They also had the opportunity to talk with equipment suppliers and farm staff to ask questions and learn more. Photo courtesy of Iowa State University.

Farm Manager Cameron Hall shows visitors systems

Now that the facility has become a reality, Farm Manager Cameron Hall’s excitement was evident as he spoke with several visitors about the building and specifically the Big Dutchman housing systems. “I can’t believe I get to work with this equipment,” Hall told Big Dutchman representatives at the event. “We wanted to have an infrastructure set up for now and into the future, and with these systems we have it. We are so grateful to Big Dutchman for their contribution!”

To learn more about the Robert T. Hamilton Poultry Teaching and Research Farm, see Iowa State’s article from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences:

The ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is one of the world’s leading institutions of agriculture, with more than 160 years of leadership in science, education and extension. The college educates future leaders, conducts mission-oriented research and shares new knowledge for the betterment of Iowa and the world.