From feeding and drinking, to burning calories and laying eggs. Laying hens behave differently in many ways when they are out of the cage. This means that egg producers need to set up their processes differently in order to achieve optimal results. Here we share lessons learned from more than 20 years of experience in controlling and automating cage-free layer houses and in optimizing egg production.
If you want to maximize laying performance in cage-free houses you need to influence the daily routines of layers. Control systems, such as our Fortica® system, enable you as an egg producer to train your layers through smart feeding, watering and lighting regimes. With the Fortica® system, you can control nests and feed chains in multiple groups. This is particularly useful for sending the layers to the right floor and getting them back into the systems on time in cage-free houses.
You can influence the behavior of your chickens even more precisely if you also use linked light timers. By dimming different lights in a certain order, the chickens are sent to the right place in the system. In this way, the layers are influenced to go to the right floor and the right nest. At exactly the right time.
You want your laying hens to perform optimally. For that, it is of utmost importance that you create the optimal living conditions for your animals. With the Fortica® control system you can monitor, control and automate all your layer house processes, such as climate, feed, water, lighting, egg flow and animal weighing.
For example, it gives you insight into body weight, indication of animal health, flock uniformity and it allows you to optimize planning and improve results through management data. With the app and the innovative Farm Management software, you are always aware of what is happening in your layer houses. And you can act within seconds, from your computer, tablet or smartphone. Fortica® helps you create the optimal living environment, resulting in healthier animals, better animal performance, less use of medication and therefore better results and profits.Read more about Fortica
Hotraco’s Egg Flow Control is unique system that saves productions costs by providing a smooth, continuous egg flow from the layer house to the packing point. The egg flow rarely needs to stop, leading to reduce shell damage and less collection time. Thanks to the continuous exchange of information, you can react faster to changing conditions in the layer house. This system can regulates different variations. You can run the Egg Flow Control system by gathering all layer houses simultaneously or in batches or per barn.
In 2021, Hotraco developed EggXact; an egg counter with a new shape and communication system for extreme reliability and durability. With EggXact egg counters you always have real-time insight into the egg production of your layers per belt. Per day, per hour, and per minute. Thanks to the real-time and continuous exchange of information, egg producers can react faster to changing conditions in the house and regulate the egg flow more quickly. Read more about how we radically improved egg counting in 7 ways with EggXact on our website.Discover EggXact egg counter
Cage-free has been the industry standard in Europe for many years. As a Dutch company, Hotraco Agri has been a global leader in poultry house automation for decades and has more than 20 years of experience in optimizing performance in cage-free laying houses.Read more about Hotraco Agri
Automated ventilation system for the perfect poultry house climate
This modern poultry barn houses 9,000 organic laying hens
A brand new farm has been built in Ohio with 3 cage-free laying houses under one roof.
Producing Beter leven 3-star eggs (Better Living Certification) starts with good housing for the layers.
This laying hen house, with 2000 hens, has a covered winter garden and a large outdoor range.
The new layer houses are located in Gifford, Scotland and house 16,000 hens each.
The new 3 floor aviary farm, with 150.000 layers, is controlled by an innovative Fortica® control panel.
Lamberdina's Hoeve is one of the most sustainable poultry farms in the world.
The Hooijdonk family of Huijbergen (NL) recently opened a new laying hen house.
The Swedish brothers Christer Berghem and Martin Andersson and their families started to raise Free Range chickens during the autumn of 2015. The Stora Lund farm has been in their family since the brother’s grandfather and father bought it back in the nineteen fifties. They used to produce pigs, but they stopped doing so about ten years ago because of the economic situation. This is when they decided to devote their time to arable farming and started to grow potatoes and wheat. They went to a meeting on organic farming last spring at which they were introduced to the idea of holding free range chickens. As they still had the old pig houses they decided to give this a go as the idea behind the concept was based on using existing buildings.
At the start of the year, a number of laying hen barns were delivered in Canada by our dealer Walbern Agri-Systems Ltd. Hotraco Agri has used the new Free Flow ventilation concept in these barns. Free Flow is a ventilation concept which has been specially developed for free-range barns. The ventilation in the barn is based on a negative and positive pressure in the barn. This ventilation concept is fully controlled by one switch panel for each barn with an integrated Fortica computer: Fortica®FreeFlow®.
On Tuesday, 13 June 2017, the new poultry barn was opened at the Aeres University of Applied Sciences in Dronten. This brand new laying-hen barn is the barn of the future, with a focus on research and education, and will be run entirely by students. This laying-hen barn was designed according to the Beter Leven Keurmerk [Better Living Certification] 3-star guidelines, and therefore meets the strictest requirements that Dierenbescherming [Animal Protection] sets for this certification. The barn has a covered outdoor area and is controlled by a Fortica management computer. In total, this research barn provides space for 1,000 laying hens.
Two new laying hen barns have been built in Hereford, England. These free-range barns are 20 metres wide and 97 metres long and each barn consists of two compartments with 12,000 hens per compartment. Our English dealer PW Maines created this installation with the innovative Fortica® automation system. The touch screen Fortica® computer is integrated into a Hotraco switch panel, which gives the poultry farmer control over the climate, the feed system, the lighting and the egg production. Fresh air enters through inlet vents at the side and the barn air is extracted through the ducts in the roof. Feed registration is done with silo weighing at the two 16-ton silos. Each barn has three egg belts that are controlled by the Fortica® system.
A new laying hen barn has been built in the south of Scotland. This new free-range poultry house, measuring 80 x 15.24 metres, will house 16,000 hens. Here the innovative Fortica® system is integrated in a Hotraco switch panel.
Hotraco Agri recently put a new organic laying hen house in operation in Germany. The 12,000 hens housed there all have access to outdoor free range. Despite this free range access, Hotraco's automation system maintains an optimum climate in the house. In addition to the climate, animal and feed weighing, nest control and lighting are also automated and perfectly integrated with each other.