Community style nests for broiler breeders in North America?
Testing for commercial efficacy is underway at Breeder Performance Center
March 5, 2021
Widely utilized in the European market thus far, community nests have not yet been used or implemented in the North American market for broiler breeders. Traditional commercial houses have primarily operated with single hole nests. The biggest difference between the two nest types is that community nests allow hens to lay eggs in large group nests, which reduces competition among the hens for individual nests.
In response to the recent interest in increased animal welfare, the concept of these community style houses is now being tested for commercial efficacy in North America – giving the birds more space and providing a lower overall stress level. The Pilgrim’s Breeder Performance Center in Pittsburg, Texas is a 30,000 bird facility and is leading the research effort on this topic. Their facility is the only one of its kind in the U.S. thus far utilizing this community style poultry production method for broiler breeders.
The goals for this facility and its research, according to Kristin Moncada who manages the center, are to impact Texas and U.S. poultry production and encourage nontraditional concepts she believes can improve animal welfare, production efficiency and facilities’ environmental footprint. (Source: AgriLife Today).
As part of the Breeder Performance Centers’ research, Big Dutchman’s Relax nest was installed in one of their buildings. The Relax community nest was introduced by Big Dutchman globally almost 10 years ago, and has proven itself as a successful producer of high quality hatching eggs in many broiler breeder barns around the world. The Relax has a lot of advantages proven over time, including:
- High nest acceptance
- Room for 220-240 birds per nest hole, so birds won’t fight for nest space
- Short rolling-off distance and gentle transport of the eggs
- Easy nest and egg belt control
- Nest can be closed to prevent hens from sleeping or brooding inside the nest
- Nest curtains allow for ample privacy for the birds during the day
- Can be combined with our integrated nest scale, NESCA, to weigh birds accurately as they enter the nest to lay
In addition, the Relax has recently undergone some adjustments to further enhance its performance:
- Redesigned nest covers are stronger and easier to clean
- Entry height has been adjusted to further increase nest accessibility
- Two different egg belt widths are offered
- Nest assembly is now even easier than before