The management of broiler breeders requires very specific equipment and feeding technology. The birds are bred for rapid growth and thus genetically determined to gain weight instead of producing many eggs. This means that neither males nor females should become too heavy to ensure that consistenly high laying performances, as well as fertility rates, are achieved over the entire laying period.
The housing equipment (feeding system, drinkers, nests, manure pit) and the ideal position of each component contribute significantly 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 for the eggs
- gentle transport of the eggs
- use of high-quality materials for optimum hygiene
Depending on the selected components – chain or pan feeding system, single or colony nests, etc. – there are different housing concepts which have proven their worth in practice.
Central position of nest and manure pit
Positioning the nest and manure pit centrally in the house is a common concept for broiler breeders in Europe. The drinker lines are installed above the manure pit, approx. 60 cm in front of the nest.
Either suspended or standing chain feeding lines are mounted to the left and right of the manure pit. Depending on the width of the house, another feed circuit above the manure pit is an option. The males should be fed separately near the long sides of the house.
Lateral position of nest and manure pit
A popular concept for broiler breeder houses in Northern and South America as well as Asia is the positioning of the nest and manure pit at both long sides of the house.
A drinker line as well as suspended or standing chain feeding or pan feeding lines are installed above the manure pit. Males are fed in the centre of the house on the litter.
Hand gathering nest without manure pit
Hand gathering nests without a manure pit are an option especially for smaller houses. Nipple drinkers and chain feeding circuits (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.