Barn Spotlight: Silverbrook Farms
By Brett RuffellFeatures Producers
With demand for pullets trained to navigate cage-free housing increasing, the Thomson family chose to go with an aviary rearing system in their new barn. Here's a look inside.
Location: Walkerton, Ont.
Sector: Layers and pullets
Silverbrook Farms is a mixed operation that includes beef cattle, layers and pullets. Keith and Shelley Thomson have owned and operated the farm for more than 30 years. Their son Alex also works on the farm full time.
The producers raise their own pullets in a conventional pullet barn to supply their two layer barns, one with conventional housing and one with enriched cages. However, the barn was nearing capacity. Not wanting to sell quota, they decided to build another pullet barn. And noticing an increased demand for pullets trained to navigate cage-free housing, they chose to go with an aviary rearing system.
The farm became the first in Canada to install Hellmann Poultry’s new PRO Motion aviary pullet system. “The birds get trained inside the system before you let them out,” Keith Thomson says. This makes management simpler when the pullets get older, he adds. “You don’t have to spend a lot of time getting them back in at night – they jump in on their own.” The system includes a balcony that barn managers can raise and lower to find that ideal spot to teach the pullets how to jump and move around in the system. By the time you open the gate to let them out, they know how to jump to the next tier. Thomson says his aviary customers have been pleased with how well his pullets can navigate cage-free housing.
Barn Spotlight highlights new and renovated barns and hatcheries. Do you know of a good candidate to be featured? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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