The management of broiler breeders requires a very specific housing system and feeding technology, as the birds are bred for rapid growth and thus genetically determined to gain weight instead of producing many eggs. This requires that neither males nor females may become too heavy to ensure that constantly high laying performances as well as fertility rates are achieved during the laying period.
The housing equipment (feeding, drinking, nests, manure pit) and the ideal position of each component significantly contribute to the successful production of hatching eggs. The following items are especially important:
- the correct feeding concept
- easy access to the nest
- ample freedom of movement
- the correct size and height of the manure pit
- short rolling-off distances and gentle transport of the eggs
- the use of high-quality materials for optimum hygiene
Depending on the selected components – chain or pan feeding, single or group laying nests, etc. – there are different housing concepts which have proven their worth in practice.
Central position of nest and manure pit
Positioning nest and manure pit centrally in the house is a common concept for broiler breeder houses in Europe. A drinker line is installed above each manure pit, approx. 60 cm in front of the nest. Either suspended or standing chain feeding lines are mounted on the left and the right of the manure pit.
Depending on the width of the house, an additional circuit can be included above the manure pit. The males should be fed separately near the long side of the house.
Lateral position of nest and manure pit
Positioning nest and manure pit at both long sides of the house is a common concept for broiler breeder houses in Northern and South America as well as Asia.
A drinker line as well as suspended or standing chain feeding lines are installed above the manure pit. The ReproMatic pan feeding system is another possible alternative. Males are fed in the centre of the house on the litter.
Hand gathering nest without manure pit
Hand gathering nests without manure pit are a great option especially for smaller houses. Nipple drinkers and chain feeding lines (suspended or standing) are installed at both long sides of the house.
If males are fed separately, their feeding and drinking systems can be situated centrally between the nest rows, where the track-and-carry system for the hatching eggs is also installed.