The Verwaest-Mer family from Oud-Turnhout in the Belgian province of Antwerp recently completed two modern houses for broiler breeder management. The barns, each measuring 28 x 100 meters and designed for 22,000 breeders, combine classic Big Dutchman products and innovations in an ideal manner.
One such classic is the chain feeding system, which is the oldest product of the Big Dutchman product range, but reliable as ever: the top seller turns 80 this year. The moisture-proof LED lamp Zeus, in contrast, is a new addition to the portfolio, introduced at the EuroTier 2016 show in Hanover. The robust innovation is the world’s first modular LED lamp for use in animal husbandry that allows the replacement of individual parts. Moreover, Zeus has passed the DLG utility value test for ammonia resistance and cleaning distance and now bears the quality mark “Approved 2017”.
The DLG experts have certified that Zeus is resistant to house air containing ammonia and that no water enters the lamp, even at a cleaning distance of only five centimetres. Zeus can also be equipped with lenses that are integrated into the glass – an option available in addition to the standard clear glass or acryl glass covers. The innovative lens optics refract the light and extend the emission spectrum. Poultry houses can thus be lit much more evenly and efficiently. Other advantages of Zeus include the simulation of the daylight progression and an integrated microcomputer.
The automatic chain feeding system was a ground-breaking invention devised by two poultry farmers in the US in 1938. Big Dutchman founders and brothers Jack and Dick DeWitt had wanted to facilitate the time-intensive manual feeding of their birds. With their invention, a new era dawned for the poultry industry: automatisation was introduced to poultry houses. The base concept (hopper, drive unit, corner, feed trough, and the Champion feed chain) are still the standard components in poultry feeding today. Poultry equipment supplier Big Dutchman is now based in Vechta-Calveslage, Germany, and considered the world market leader, distributing its products in more than 100 countries.
“What we need is a feed pan that wears down the beak in a natural way!” This thought, first voiced during a brainstorming session about five years ago, was turned into Male Pan, a corundum-coated feed pan (link leaflets feeding systems) that has now been part of the Big Dutchman product range for broiler breeder management for the past three years. The pan for male feeding is one of the products the Verwaest-Mer family recently selected for their new barns. With the introduction of this pan, Big Dutchman ensured that its customers were ready for the phase-out of beak trimming in Germany at the end of 2016.
Corundum is a very hard mineral that is used as an abrasive in its powder form, among other applications. The dish of the Male Pan is entirely coated with corundum, smoothing the birds’ beaks while they eat. In cases of cannibalism or feather pecking in a flock, this natural wearing of the beak reduces the risk of injuries among the birds.
Behavioural problems such as cannibalism and feather pecking were first described in 1873. Scientific research indicates that they are caused by multiple factors and happen in all types of management. They can have a very negative effect on the birds’ health, including a significantly higher rate of mortality. The poultry manager usually experiences high economic losses. Those who use Male Pan therefore know that the pan supports bird health and thus truly helps with efficient bird management.
Other Big Dutchman equipment the Verwaest-Mer family has installed in their broiler breeder houses includes
- the flexible Viper Touch climate and production computer
- the innovative AC Touch alarm device
- the entire poultry climate control system