Latest cage-free ventilation, lighting and litter tactics

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Cage-free farming elevates the importance of aspects that were almost afterthoughts in a conventional house, augmenting the challenge of the transition.
Along with stronger husbandry skills, cage-free management challenges farmers to think how ventilation, lighting and litter and manure management affect the health and performance of their flocks. Removing birds from cages takes away the relatively standardized rules surrounding those three elements and challenges farmers to change their management tactics to use them to their advantage.

Ventilation becomes even more important

As far as providing an adequate air supply and temperature, the rules for ventilation have not changed in cage-free production. However, the birds are now free to move wherever they feel most comfortable – ensuring the center of heat production is always changing. Movement creates new issues, too, like controlling dust and ammonia levels and creating a consistent temperature to prevent negative behaviors.

Generally, ventilation must be consistent throughout the house. Maintaining the same airflow and temperature is important for optimal bird performance and avoiding unwanted behaviors. The experts who spoke with Egg Industry said specific ventilation needs change depending on the size of the house and the type of equipment. They recommended working with a ventilation company or other experts to establish a plan for remodeling an existing layer house or building a new one.

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Ventilation and temperatures should be consistent throughout a cage-free house. This reduces dust levels, helps establish a proper litter moisture level and maintain bird health. | Austin Alonzo

The importance of consistent airflow

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