Marcel Kuijpers, his brother and two nephews, farm an enormous state-of-the-art poultry unit within the Netherlands.

The final word objective of the enterprise, Kuijpers Kip, is to create a totally closed system, with chicks hatched and reared in the identical shed.

To shut the system fully, slaughter will finally be carried out in an on-site facility so that every one transport can be lower from the manufacturing chain.

See additionally: How on-farm hatching can enhance flock well being and lower prices

Presently, Mr Kuijpers has 256,000 broilers on website, with 85,000 guardian inventory producing 4m hatching eggs a yr.

“I wished to take away transport from the manufacturing chain since you ship broilers off to slaughter and by no means hear greater than their weight and worth,” Mr Kuijpers says.

By masking the entire chain it’s potential to get suggestions from each a part of manufacturing and to make vital administration adjustments extra shortly.

With out transport, it’s a extra welfare-friendly system for the birds and the planet advantages due to the lowered carbon emissions, he says.

Mr Kuijpers determined he wished to get rid of the haulage side of poultry manufacturing as way back as 2000.

On the time, his imaginative and prescient was distinctive, so designing and constructing the hatchery system needed to be accomplished from scratch. It then took virtually 15 years to acquire the entire permits vital for the brand new items.

Building on the website near the town of Grubbenvorst, within the Limburg area of the Netherlands, lastly started in 2015.

Hatchery

© Kuijpers Kip

  • 85,000 guardian inventory
  • 4m eggs a yr

The on-farm hatchery overcomes a few of the variability in day-old chicks from a devoted hatching firm.

That’s as a result of chicks are likely to hatch over a 72-hour window. The primary ones to interrupt out then have the longest to attend on a conventional hatchery earlier than they arrive at a broiler unit with entry to feed and water.

Chicks might also have a extra disturbing expertise as they need to be transported from the hatchery to the farm, explains Mr Kuijpers.

At Kuijpers Kip, this stress is eradicated and candled eggs from the hatchery are transferred to the rearing space the place the local weather is rigorously monitored over the three days that the chicks hatch.

Meals and water factors are accessible to all chicks as quickly as they hatch, giving them a greater begin.

Broiler unit

© Kuijpers Kip

  • 256,000 chook locations
  • 64,000 birds a shed
  • 32,000 in two sections in every shed

Every self-contained shed contains a six-layered vertical aviary, with chicks on wooden shavings.

In keeping with Mr Kuijpers, trials have proven that birds hatched of their rising sheds have higher immunity to illnesses.

Researchers discovered the birds had larger immunoglobulin ranges of their blood, giving them improved resistance to micro organism and infections.

That is borne out by virtually zero antibiotics use on the farm. Nonetheless, vets are concerned all through the lifecycle of all birds. Care and vaccination plans are in place to make sure well being and welfare are maintained.

Mr Kuijpers has additionally launched a technique of fixed evaluate throughout the hatchery and broiler unit to recognise, and act on, any anomalies in his manufacturing chain.

This includes accumulating and analysing information by way of each lifecycle, together with monitoring feed intakes, development conversion charges and barn local weather.

In a novel challenge backed by an area college and different poultry companies, Mr Kuijpers has begun listening to birds to know what they’re experiencing.

The purpose of the trial is to design a software that can work out when birds are careworn by the sounds they make and, finally, to develop an alarm system that gives an early warning if feed, temperature and even draughts trigger chook stress.

This consideration to element has led to wonderful efficiency figures within the broiler unit.

Efficiency and welfare

  • 70% develop to 2.7kg at 40 days
  • 30% develop to 1.8kg at 35 days
  • FCR – 1.55 (10% higher than common)
  • Mortality 2%
  • Low illness charges
  • Virtually zero antibiotics use
  • Leg situations improved to decrease than 10% of accepted goal.

Power restoration system

Whereas the general idea is forward of its time, the local weather management setup can be innovative – exploiting a closed heat-transfer system.

There is no such thing as a fuel connection or different heating within the broiler sheds. As an alternative, warmth is harvested from areas containing older birds and recycled to youthful birds, that are much less capable of maintain their very own physique temperature.

“It’s about managing the provision and demand of warmth that’s tied up with the birds,” says Mr Kuijpers.

Key to the system is an Innov+ air scrubber fitted to the entire sheds. Air scrubbers restrict odours, mud and ammonia emissions.

However crucially, in addition to eradicating ammonia emissions, the scrubber recycles the nice and cozy air produced within the broiler sheds and eliminates danger of illness by transferring it, germ-free, to the smallest chicks.

The system works by utilizing the outgoing air flow air to warmth the cleansing water within the scrubbers. The water then passes by way of warmth exchangers and is utilized in two methods.

A few of it’s used to preheat the incoming air flow air, permitting heat however contemporary, conditioned air to enter the home even on chilly days.

The remaining recovered warmth is boosted to 45C by way of a warmth pump and that is piped to areas with younger chicks.

The system has a really excessive effectivity issue, utilizing simply 1kW electrical vitality to recuperate 77kW of thermal vitality.

Electrical energy for the system and the entire farm’s vitality requirement is derived from photo voltaic panels.

With a complete of 1mW, the panels produce sufficient vitality to produce 250 houses and simply meet the farm’s wants. It’s an extremely environment friendly course of and operating prices have been slashed by 70%.

The improvements imply the farm achieves emission ranges which can be 30-40% decrease than these of conventional farms supplying supermarkets.

Slaughterhouse plans

Mr Kuijpers’ eventual purpose is to construct an on-site slaughterhouse to deliver carbon emissions and welfare requirements to a brand new degree, by eradicating the transport ingredient.

The ability can be stored as small as potential initially, however in time will slaughter 4,000 birds an hour over an eight-hour working day.

It’s going to imply the birds don’t go away the positioning throughout their lifetime and at full development can be caught robotically and surprised, avoiding stress.

In the end the farm goals to extend to 1 million broilers, divided into 16 completely different age teams, on website at anybody time.

However growth plans and the on-site slaughterhouse have come to a standstill as a consequence of stress from animal rights campaigners.

Mr Kuijpers blamed deceptive data circulated about animal welfare requirements, which is swaying public opinion in opposition to aviary programs within the Netherlands.

He says his system demonstrates the best degree of animal welfare, with vet care and low transport ranges chopping stress from the manufacturing chain. The growth plans would make it even higher by way of welfare and the atmosphere, he argues.

However as a result of he doesn’t function a slower rising, or free-range system, animal welfare teams are in opposition to it.

Public lobbying of supermarkets has resulted in them pledging to promote eggs from perceived larger welfare programs, leaving Mr Kuijpers unable to promote his product within the Netherlands. As an alternative, he’s at present having to export to the UK.

He believes discussions must be primarily based on balancing welfare and carbon emissions to safeguard manufacturing of reasonably priced, wholesome, environmentally pleasant meals to produce a rising world inhabitants.

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