Cage-Free 2025 is looming – now is the time to investigate providing high welfare environments for your laying birds.
A Simple Guide to Setting Up For Free-Range Egg Production
Free-range egg production is all about bird welfare. If you can deliver the required high welfare environment for your chickens, then the free-range label will quickly follow. Create high quality eggs and keep your flock in the best condition by providing a clean, disease free, stress free environment, with space for birds to scratch and nest and easy access to the range.
Free-range chickens should be housed at a stocking density of 9 birds per m2, with an allocation of slatted floor making up a maximum of 66% of the floor area; leaving the remainder as a scratch area.
Free-range chickens need access to an outdoor range, allowing for interaction with pasture to and space to scratch and roam freely. This is controlled by the buildings pophole allocation which is in turn set by active floor area inside the building.
Ventilation is vitally important to bird health. The building needs to provide good airflow, with the aim of creating an ‘air change rate’ – adequate for the removal of bird heat from the building during hot weather, removing stale air and humidity. Housing needs to be insulated, without adequate insulation the building will tend to overheat in the summer which will cause stress to the birds. Add to this without insulation, in the cooler months, the building is more prone to condensation and damp in winter having adverse effects on the health, welfare, and performance of the birds.
The building materials need to be easily cleaned and disease resistant, timber is not good as it can harbour disease and mites no-matter how hard it’s cleaned. Having a building formed of robust materials will make cleaning a much simpler process, as the user can use much more powerful equipment, being able to jet was the entire building before using a smoke bomb to rid the building of any mites creates the simplest and most time efficient operation.
A mobile layer house delivers a clear advantage for mucking out and keeping the internal environment clean. The suspended slatted floor allows the building to be simply towed to fresh pasture leaving the muck behind.
McGregor Polytunnels free-range layer housing has fully optimised designs and material specifications, creating environments that are easy to clean and disinfect – highly resilient to bird waste and conducive to disease reduction. The design of our layer houses aims to reduce stress in flocks and helps produce a healthy bird that will lay high-quality free-range eggs. Call 0808 256 3210 to speak the sales team for more information and prices.