The desire to use nests in the commercial production of caged eggs is almost still new in North America. These systems have been used successfully in Europe for many years, and in these experiences, designs have often been upgraded to improve the natural behavior of birds and increase production.
Let us explore the origins of modern nests and how egg producers today can take advantage of existing systems built as much as possible from the trial and error of pioneering industries over the past few decades.
Advances in nest design
Commercial nest designs can be found in Switzerland in the 1980s. The developers there began to use nests with separate resting areas mounted on the wall with an area where birds could jump in. This type of system resulted in a high rate of laying eggs (about 4%), but the bird density was low enough that workers could easily and quickly collect the eggs. It had 600 to 6,000 birds. Finally, in 1980, developers in the Netherlands began testing the system on a larger scale by placing 20,000 to 25,000 birds in each hall with a higher bird density. Unfortunately, keeping more birds in the hall resulted in more eggs on the bed, about 6-10%. Increasing the number of eggs on the bed not only required more time for manual collection, but also the high density of the bird made it more difficult for workers to walk around the hall to collect eggs. This achievement proved to be impractical due to the inconvenience of workers, the need for many workers, and the reduction in the percentage of Grade A eggs. Improved bird production. An industry leader named Peter Van Aget found that placing water in front of nests improves performance because it allows birds to find nests more easily. Because the birds were less likely to lay eggs right after eating food that tended to drink water and lay eggs in the same time frame. On the other hand, other features built into the system allowed the birds to Easily move up or down. Birds flourished in this environment, and so began the historical era of modern multi-storey nests, known as European or open-nest shelters. Allows the bird to move around, peck, and play with the litter. In this type of system, birds tend to spread naturally, which helps to eliminate hotspots in the hall. Spawning is just as well adapted to the birds’ natural behavior as digging and resting. These nests provide a perfectly hygienic environment that helps the bird grow and minimizes the labor required to clean the halls. In addition, the quality of the eggs is at its best, because the nests and eggs are the best. The eggs are kept cleaner in this system. Therefore, developers are often able to obtain more grade A eggs per nest.
Multi-story hangars were not the end of the chain of evolution, however. In the early 2000s, a team continued to design a new system to upgrade multi-story hangars. The result was their upgraded cages without doors. This combination was developed with several goals in mind.
- Reducing the importance of breeding pullets
- More bird densities in the first weeks after entering the nest
- Minimize mobility to reduce feed intake
- Reduce managerial needs
Unfortunately, the hybrid nest hypothesis was not well designed, and the ability to reduce feed intake by about 1% was the only goal possible. On the other hand, the developers realized that pullet breeding was an important principle in this system. Eventually, the crowding of birds led to many forgetting of their breeding goals and to ventilation problems. In addition, hybrid systems effectively increased the amount of management needed in the hall because the birds naturally found themselves They did not play this type of system.
While hybrid nests are still available today, they lost market share over multi-nest nests. In fact, European developers almost completely stopped using them, not only because they performed poorly, but also because these solutions are still widely regarded as cage systems.
The trend towards cageless systems will continue as demand from consumers increases and so nest design will improve.
Multi-storey nests have also been shown to be most closely associated with the evolutionary chain of systems with cage-free facilities. Have been proven.