Earlier this year the Van Leendert family, based in Tienray, put a new layer house into operation. This new free-range barn is equipped with the most modern technology, with the focus on increasing animal welfare, stimulating egg production and making production processes more sustainable. In their own feed kitchen, the Van Leendert family mixes a balanced feed for the chickens, and the animals have plenty of freedom to roam.
The Van Leendert poultry farm does everything it can to ensure its production is as sustainable as possible. The family has invested in solar panels, heat exchangers, LED lighting and frequency regulators, among other things. This has enabled them to make the farm energy-neutral. Removing the manure directly via manure belts, together with the use of heat exchangers, has improved the climate in the poultry house and has considerably reduced the amount of nitrogen. This has also had a very positive effect on the living climate for the chickens and has created a more pleasant working environment for the employees in the poultry house.
The Fortica® automation system installed in the poultry house helps the farmer to increase animal welfare and to run the business as sustainably as possible. A modern control panel with integrated Fortica® ensures that all the processes in the poultry house are automated and optimally coordinated. The Fortica® automation system even includes special software for free-range hens and regulates all the processes in the poultry house, such as ventilation, feed control, lighting, animal weighing and egg flow.
The poultry house is equipped with various climate sensors for temperature, pressure and humidity, so that the Fortica® system can use this data to create the perfect climate. The Air Equalizer and Flash air inlets ensure the supply of fresh outside air into the poultry house. The Air Equalizer is an air inlet duct with adjustable slats, which allows the air to be directed very nicely over the aviary systems. When outside temperatures are low, the fresh outside air is mixed with warm air from the poultry house, to protect the animals from cold draughts. In addition, 50% of the poultry house is ventilated at the same pressure, which considerably reduces the risk of wet manure.
Information is power, and collecting that information is key. The animals are weighed continuously with automated animal scales in the house. This means the poultry farmer always has up-to-date data on the average weight of the chickens. The poultry house is also equipped with a feed weigher, which weighs the portions precisely and maintains the correct mixing ratio of several types of feed. That saves a lot of work!
The family has installed a large, long light strip in the ridge of the barn roof. The abundance of daylight leads to an improvement in animal welfare. The skylights have slats that are operated with a manual winch or winch motor. This allows the farmer to darken the poultry house gradually. Good daylight control results in less stress for the chickens, which in turn reduces the risk of feather pecking and can have a positive effect on egg production. A fantastic win-win-win situation!