Pain points can cause people to change their approach. This was the case at the layer company EARL Jolis when a new organic house was installed. Poultry farmer Dominique Leclerc believes that layers waste too much feed with a chain feeding system. So, he considered the alternative: a pan feeding system. Dominique asked his fellow poultry farmers for reviews and got advice from house installer Sodimel. He came to the conclusion that feeder pans prevent waste because with a deep, stepped bottom pan, the spilled feed just slips back into the pan.
Around 15 months after the installation of the LaiCa™ feeder pan in the organic house, we met with Dominique. We asked him about his experiences following a year-long flock.
New organic house for layers
Dominique Leclerc: “At our mixed livestock and crop farm in Loiron (France), we have kept layers for 20 years. In 2018, we stopped keeping dairy cows for economic reasons. We decided to put the extra investment towards an organic house for layers. The higher price that the consumer pays in the store makes organic eggs a profitable product. The hens have more space and we also find the animal welfare aspect important. In 2018, we began using the 2260 m² organic house with 12 000 layers.”
Feeding system without feed waste or selective feeding
Dominique Leclerc: “In the older house, we use a chain feeding system. But we wanted to look at the alternatives for the new organic house because we were dissatisfied with the feed intake. There was too much feed waste. You lose any feed that slips between the slats onto the floor, as the hens can’t reach it. Sodimel informed us that the LaiCa feeder pan offers a solution to this. The bottom pan is specially made for layers. It is deeper and stepped to prevent feed waste.”
The feed is used much more efficiently
Since I’ve been using LaiCa, I allow the hens to completely empty the pans once a day. The hens are forced to eat every last bit of the feed. In the house where I still have the chain feeding system, the fine particles are often neglected. The components that are left behind are the additives that are fundamental to their diet. I don’t have to worry about that with my layers in the organic house. The feed that I purchase is used much more efficiently, which was my ultimate aim.
Ideal situation for organic layers
Dominique Leclerc: “Poultry farmers need ideal circumstances to achieve a laying percentage of 93 %. But there are some aspects that we cannot control. A fox recently sneaked into the house and, as a result, we have observed a dip in egg production for the past three weeks because the chickens are slow to recover from the stress. The heatwave this summer also affected the laying percentage. With our current laying percentage of 89 %, we’re not far off the 93 %. The feed, water, nest and animal management is going very well. With a bit of luck with the external factors that we cannot control, I think we’ll reach our goal with the second flock.”