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Layer Hen House Production

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Presentation on theme: "Layer Hen House Production"— Presentation transcript:

1 Layer Hen House Production
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? There has always been the question of which came first, the chicken or the egg? In the case of layer hen houses the chicken comes first. Chickens are received from pullet houses when they are 21 weeks old. Soon (21-25 weeks) the chickens will begin laying eggs that will be sent off to the hatcheries to be hatched. The chicks will be put back into broiler chicken houses. Written by Tiffany Prather and Dr. Frank Flanders GA Ag Ed Curriculum Office To accompany the Georgia Agriculture Education Curriculum Lesson

2 Objectives: Explain operations of a layer hen house
Determine resources needed Explain layer house contracts Identify equipment needs Explain the reproduction cycle in layer hen houses Define time line for layer production The objective of this presentation is to explain the operations of a layer hen house. Many other important factors go along with layer hen houses such as: determining the resources needed, learning about the house contracts made with the company and knowing about the equipment needs for the layer house. We will also learn about the reproductive cycle of the chickens in the house and will define the time line of layer house production.

3 What is the purpose of Layer Hen Houses?
Layer hen houses are used to produce eggs that will be sent to hatcheries. These eggs are then hatched and the chicks are put back into broiler chicken houses. If the eggs are too big (double yoked), if the eggs are too small or if the eggs have improperly formed shells they cannot be sent to the hatchery. The double yoke eggs and small eggs are boxed and sold to other companies for uses such as dog food. If the eggs are too small (sometimes they are the size of bird eggs) or if the eggs are jelly eggs they are thrown away; otherwise, they are cleaned, placed in buggies, and picked up by the egg truck to be taken to the hatchery.

4 What is the difference in a Layer House and a Layer Hen House?
Layer houses and layer hen houses, while both produce eggs, they have entirely different purposes.

5 Eggs are for human consumption Eggs are not fertilized
Layer House: Eggs are for human consumption Eggs are not fertilized No roosters necessary Eggs are kept cooler Layer Hen House: Eggs are for hatching Roosters are necessary to fertilize eggs Eggs must be cared for to protect the embryo Layer houses are used to produce eggs for human consumption. These are the eggs that are found in grocery stores. For this type of house, no roosters are necessary to fertilize the eggs. Layer hen houses also produce eggs but for an entirely different purpose. The eggs produced in a layer hen house are fertilized so that the eggs can be hatched and put back in broiler houses. Roosters are an absolute necessity for the layer hen houses so that the eggs can be fertilized. Eggs must also be especially taken care of to protect the embryo’s growth.

6 Operations of Layer Hen House
Maintaining house temperature Feed truck Egg truck Walking the house Weigh and run feed Record egg production and mortality Lights on and off Walk the house: 3-4 times daily Pick up dead birds, ensure that eggs have rolled into nests and no dead birds are in nests Weigh and run the feed: The feed needs to be weighed once a day so that the chain feeders can run the food throughout the house once a day Recording egg production and mortality: Eggs need to be counted and the number recorded each time eggs are picked up Eggs are picked up 3-4 times a day At end of day, the egg count is totaled and recorded Record # of dead birds after each walking; then total and record dead birds at the end of the day Lights: Lights are used to maximize egg production Set to come on at 4:30 am Set to go off at 8:00 pm Lights are always set on standard time; does not change with daylight-savings time (chickens do not understand time change) Maintaining House Temperature: House temperature needs to be kept no cooler than 65º F in the winter and no hotter than 85º F in the summer. Feed Truck: Feed truck comes once a week Egg Truck: The egg truck will come two times a week to pick up the eggs in the buggies and eggs in the boxes The egg truck will drop off new buggies to be filled for the next visit.

7 Operations cont. Picking up the eggs Pick up 3-4 times daily
Sort by size and abnormality Picking up eggs: Eggs have to be picked up 3-4 times daily Pick up needs to start in the early morning so eggs are not left out during the day on conveyor belts. If eggs are picked up as soon as possible, the egg will not be as dirty and the embryo will be healthier. Eggs have to be sorted by size and abnormality and put into trays

8 Operations cont. Picking up the eggs (cont.) Clean eggs
Place eggs in trays Place eggs into buggies Put eggs into cool room Eggs have to be cleaned (without using water to keep hatchability rates high), placed in egg trays, and then put into buggies Eggs too small or too big are put into boxes, and eggs that are jelly (soft shell) or that have cracks are thrown away. Eggs are placed in the cool room at 65º F to stop the embryo from growing until it reaches the hatchery

9 Resources needed Hens Roosters Feed Water Medication Labor
Hens and roosters are needed for the layer hen house. The number of hens and roosters put in a layer house depends on the number of chickens coming from the pullet house. The company does however, like to have one rooster for every ten hens. Other important resources for the layer house are feed and water. Feed is brought to the house once a week. The feed is weighed and run from the scale room by chain feeder once daily. Water is an important factor in chicken houses. Water is always there for the chickens to drink. Medication is run through the drinkers so that all chickens will remain healthy. Finally, what would a layer house be without labor. Someone has to be in charge of the house and responsible for picking up the eggs, walking the house and weighing feed.

10 House Contracts The company pays for and delivers:
Chickens Feed Medicine Egg trays and buggies The grower pays for: Water Electricity Propane Disposal of dead birds Wash down Clean out Shavings The company pays for: Chickens Feed Medicine Egg trays and buggies The grower is responsible for: Water Electricity Propane Disposal of dead birds Wash down Clean out Shavings It is important to note that house contracts vary by company. Some companies pay for more and some companies pay for less.

11 Reproductive Cycle Chickens received from pullet houses
Roosters and hens mate Chickens begin laying eggs New roosters are added to the house to keep egg production steady Eggs are sent to company hatchery Hatched chicks are sent to broiler houses Chickens at 65 weeks of age are removed from the layer hen house and sold to companies New hens and roosters are received about 8 weeks later Chickens are moved from pullet houses to layer houses when they are 21 weeks old. They start laying at around weeks of age. After eggs are picked up, they are placed in buggies and put in a cool room to stop the embryo from growing. The eggs are picked up by company trucks and taken to the company hatchery. Here the eggs are hatched, and the chicks are sent to broiler chicken houses. New roosters may be added to replace older roosters that have died to keep egg production steady The chickens that were in the layer house are sold to other companies for various uses such as soups.

12 Layer House Equipment House Scale room and feed bin Generator
Many elements make up a layer hen house operation. The dimensions of the house are around 40ft X 500ft with an egg room around 25ft X 40 ft. The most common design is slatted floors on either side of a foot center aisle of shavings and litter. The scale room and feed bin area is also very important because it is where you weigh and run the feed. Every day the grower has to go to the scale room to weigh feed. After the feed has been weighed, the feed is dumped into the feed bin and held there until the chain feeders turn on and run the feed throughout the house. The generator and alarm are very important pieces of equipment. The alarm lets the grower know that the house has lost electricity. When electricity is lost to the house, the generator has to be turned on so that there is water for the chickens and so that the temperature is kept within a reasonable range.

13 Layer House Equipment cont.
Conveyor belt and stations in newer houses Cool room In newer houses there is a conveyor belt under the nests that moves the eggs down to stations so that the eggs can be picked up. In older houses, the grower has to walk through the house and pick up eggs. The cool room is where the eggs are placed after they are picked up. Eggs are kept at 65º F to keep the embryo from growing until the egg reaches the hatchery.

14 Layer House Equipment cont.
Nests, drinkers, and feeder chain Cool cells, fans, lights and curtains Hens go to nests to lay eggs, drinkers are set at 18 inches high and are used for supplying water and medication to the hens and roosters. The feeder chain runs the feed throughout the house. Cool cells and fans are used during the summer to keep the chicken house set at a specific temperature so that egg production will remain high. During the summer it doesn’t need to be hotter than 85º F and in the winter it needs to be no cooler than 65º F. Lights are a very important factor, and it is important to replace all bulbs that are not working. Egg production can be either slowed or stopped by changing the amount of light. Chickens are kept on a lighting schedule to maximize their laying ability. Curtains along the side of the house are used to keep the house cool. If the temperature gets to high the curtains will automatically drop. Modern layer houses are highly mechanized but there is still a lot of labor involved. It is important that the producer have a good working knowledge of the equipment and good Ag mechanics skills

15 Time Line for Layer Hen House Production
Receive chickens at 21 weeks of age Receive new roosters Egg production continues from 21 to 65 weeks of age Keep chickens until 65 weeks of age Clean out house Restock house with shavings and equipment The layer house is vacant for 8 weeks Chickens that are put into layer houses are received from pullet houses when they are around twenty-one weeks old. When the chickens reach weeks of age they begin to lay eggs. The chickens will begin to peak (80% of hens are laying) and stay at peak for about 2 months. New roosters will have to be brought in because the mortality rate will go up. Because the roosters are responsible for fertilizing so many hens(close to 10), they wear out fast and begin to die off. After staying at peak for about two months the egg production slowly goes down. The chickens are kept in the house until they are sixty-five weeks of age. When they reach that age the company picks the chickens up and sells them to other companies. Clean out of the begins as soon as possible after the chickens are picked up. Drinkers, nests, and feeders are raised Slats are removed Nest pads are taken out of nest. They are then soaked in disinfectant and cleaned. Litter and shavings are cleaned out. Slats are put back in New shavings are delivered Nest pads are put back in nests Drinkers, nests and feeder chain are lowered Receive next batch of chickens in about 8 weeks.

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