NATURA® Step & Step XL

Multi-tier open access true aviary systems

The NATURA Step and Step XL are multi-tiered true aviary systems which are fully open. With these systems you get true cage-free production, meaning the systems:

  • Feature a true aviary nest area, which creates an environment where the hens want to be – thus producing the best possible nest acceptance
  • Include dedicated areas for resting, feeding and perching
  • Are open in design, allowing hens to move through and easily utilize all areas of the system – including having complete floor access to exhibit natural foraging and scratching activity

The name NATURA Step comes from the unique steps which are designed to allow easy movement from one tier to another. All of our NATURA true aviary layer systems share the same innovative COLONY2+ nest with the patented tiltable nest floor, resulting in a cleaner nest, higher percentage of nest acceptance, and fewer cracks and checked eggs.

All NATURA Step System Advantages

  • Completely open design for easy movement throughout the entire system
  • Innovative step for easy movement between system levels
  • Each system row is independent and can stand alone
  • Patented tiltable nest design
  • Zn Alu wire coating allows for a clean system
  • Extra-wide egg belt
  • Easy to manage design

Our Newest Version: NATURA Step XL

With the NATURA Step XL, producers can enjoy additional options for their house including:

  • Wider overall system for up to 26% more useable space
  • 2 nest depth options to accommodate certification requirements
  • Double egg belts with added belt space for higher egg capacity
  • Feed loop options on top tier to increase ventilation efficiency
  • Shorter overall system height to further ease management
  • Option for additional water lines
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Perches and Placement

To encourage flock movement

There’s science in perch design and placement. Perches allow your flock to have a place to relax and the design provides comfort. The perch placement encourages flock movement, which relaxes the flock, and at the same time maximizes proper air circulation, resulting in a healthy and comfortable environment. The patented approach perch is designed to protect any mislaid eggs. It also positions the hens to face outside of the system while roosting, allowing the manure to fall onto the manure belt, resulting in lower ammonia levels and a cleaner system.

Easy Movement

From one tier to another

The name NATURA Step comes from the unique steps, which are designed to allow easy movement from one tier to another. These steps are made with our Zn Alu wire coating, and are positioned so manure falls on the manure belt, resulting in a cleaner system.

Feed and Water

Fresh for the entire flock

The entire flock has easy access to fresh feed and water whenever they want it. Our feed and water placement is intentional in order to promote bird movement within the system. Water is placed right outside the nests to provide the birds a drink after they lay their eggs. Feed is strategically placed inside the system to promote bird movement and open up quality space. Encouraging bird movement is vital for a healthy flock. When birds move around air flow is increased, resulting in healthier birds, a calm flock, and drier litter.

Nest Design

Maximizing egg laying and quality

The NATURA Step nest is an innovative design for an automatic group-laying nest for broiler breeders, layer breeders and layers. Special characteristics of this automatic nest are its central egg belt and the patented divided tilting nest floor. It’s the hen’s natural desire to find the most secure place to lay her eggs. The nests are located in areas to provide this sense of security they seek. After the egg is laid, it gently rolls out onto the extra wide egg collection belt, and then heads to the egg packing area automatically. The nest average acceptance is 98%, but for those rare times when an egg is laid outside of the nest, we’ve built in a system egg tray to make picking up the mis-laid eggs easy and fast.

Operation of the tilting nest floor

The egg belt is located in the center to allow the eggs be laid directly in front of the belt. This design ensures the shortest possible roll-off distance for the eggs, minimizing the amount of cracked and checked eggs.

Before the divided nest floor completely closes the nest, it is first raised in the center, increasing the inclination of the rear part of the nest floor and removing any eggs from the nest area.

The nest floor is raised completely, allowing any dirt to drop off the nest insert as well as closing off the nest to prevent hens from entering and brooding inside.

Litter Properly Dried

For a healthy and calm flock

Uniformity of lighting and ventilation, along with system design, result in even spacing of the hens throughout the house, resulting in properly dried litter. This is ideal for the flock as they dust bathe, scratch, and act out other natural behaviors. The hens will pay more attention to the litter and less to each other, resulting in a calm and healthy flock. Proper manure drying reduces ammonia emissions in the house, minimizing any harm to the environment, and promoting the birds’ well-being. Manure drops through the Zn Alu coated floor onto continuous polypropylene belts, and is then carried out of the building.

System Inspection and Management

Management made easy

With our NATURA cage-free systems, flock inspection, gathering mislaid eggs, nest, feed and water inspection can all be done by walking the litter aisles.

Take a Virtual Tour

Want to see the NATURA Step in an actual layer house? Click to view our 360 tour of the system, and see tours of some of Big Dutchman’s other housing systems as well.


View and download the latest NATURA Step & Step XL product brochure.

In the end my priority was for a system that worked well for the hens, was easy to manage for the farmer, and that combined innovation and quality components from a company with a proven track record. That's why I chose the NATURA Step XL.

– Andrew Penner, Nest Egg Poultry

Questions? Ask our Aviary Specialists

Managing aviary systems can seem overwhelming for producers. Our Aviary Specialists are here to help. Click the link below to find their contact information and feel free to reach out to them at any time to get your questions answered.

Related Products

NATURA Visio – Layer

The newest addition to Big Dutchman’s line-up of cage-free true aviaries, the NATURA Visio is a two-tier aviary system featuring patent-pending designs that increase overall egg quality and performance.

NATURA Nova Barn – Layer

The NATURA Nova Barn is a multi-tiered true aviary system that is fully open. This aviary expands on already proven systems available in our NATURA product family and offers higher stocking density as an added benefit.

NATURA Filia – Rearing

NATURA Filia is a two-tier rearing aviary system developed by Big Dutchman to meet the requirements of day-old chicks and pullets in an optimal way.

Get Started on Your Project

Over the course of 80 years we have designed, tested, developed, and refined egg production equipment to meet every imaginable need. Get in touch with our sales team to discuss your farm requirements today.