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Hens / Egg Production / Poultry Welfare
jansen aviary system
on May 17, 2016

Are aviaries the right cage-free choice for your farm?

Aviaries allow for greater housing densities than traditional floor and nest systems and look less like cages than convertible or combi-systems.

Cage-free purchase pledges by egg buyers who purchase approximately 60 percent of the U.S. egg output are driving a flurry of purchases of cage-free housing systems by U.S. egg companies. These systems can be classified into three general categories: convertible or combi-, floor and nest, and aviaries.

The convertible or combi-systems offer the promise of the highest housing densities, but most are unproven under commercial conditions. Floor and nest systems have been around for about as long as chickens have been kept indoors, but they offer the poorest eggs per square foot of floor space.

Aviaries utilize house space better than floor and nest systems and are less likely to be confused with a cage by welfare certifiers than convertible or combi-systems. In alphabetical order, here is information on aviaries being marketed in the U.S. by suppliers responding to Egg Industry’s cage-free housing survey.

Big Dutchman

NaturaStep aviary

The Natura Step, Natura Sunrise, and Natura Nova are open systems without doors. Birds are free to move up and down the system to feed and drink. The mechanical nest is designed to be open during the day lay period and close at night. Closing the nest during night hours keeps the nest area clean. Big Dutchman also produces the Natura 60, which can open and close to aid bird management.

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Big Dutchman

Farm Innovation Team (FIT)

Nature 2 Aviary System

The diversity of design of the Nature 2 Aviary System allows for an optimal density with different dimensions of existing buildings. An excellent LED lighting distribution system and program enables the hens to find the perches, feed and water supply, and the automatic nests with a tilting floor system which results in clean nests and allows closing of the nests at night. The layout of the platforms encourages bird movement.



Hellmann Poultry Systems

Aviary Pro 10 & Aviary Pro 11

The Pro 11 layer aviary builds on the proven properties of other systems and offered for customers who have higher buildings and who prefer a less intensive investment solution. The system has automatic doors to exclude hens from going under the system, which can be a useful management tool at night and early in the morning to prevent floor eggs. The Pro 10 and Pro 11 are outfitted with feeders, waterers and nests on all tiers. The company offers 20 different design variants for each model.


Hellmann Poultry Systems

Jansen Poultry Equipment

Comfort 2 aviary system

Jansen has never made cages, and the Comfort 2 aviary system reflects that in its design. It consists of multiple tiers that don’t look like an open enriched cage. Hens move throughout the entire system and have easy access to integrated laying nests and feeder and water lines.


Jansen Poultry Equipment

Potters Poultry

Compact Aviary System

The Compact Aviary is available in two- and three-tier nest layouts, which can be used to easily fit in either retrofitted or purpose-built houses. The system is designed with easy bird management as a priority and allows easy access for birds and workers throughout. The Compact Aviary is American Humane Certified. Optional hinged doors can be used to manage flocks just brought in from the pullet house.


Potters Poultry

Tecno Poultry Systems

Aviary 450

The Aviary 450 is characterized by a symmetrical structure composed of overlapping and offset rearing levels. The system features continuous, overlapping nests, with a centralized bird ejection mechanism. The ease of movement of the laying hens within the aviary allows access to the feeding, drinking and laying areas, ensuring a uniform distribution of the birds in the system. The aviary has transverse and lengthwise closures for dividing the birds into small groups.


Tecno Poultry Systems

VAL-CO – Valli

VLV Laying Aviary

VAL-CO is the exclusive distributor of Valli cage-free systems for the U.S. market. This collaboration brings together Valli’s cage-free system experience in Europe with VAL-CO’s feeding, watering and ventilation experience in the U.S. The VLV is a three-tiered system with nests on the second level and feeders and manure belts on the first and third levels. The system can easily be inspected and the positioning of feed and water lines ensures movement throughout the aviary.


VAL-CO – Valli


Bolegg Gallery

At the heart of the Bolegg Gallery is the Vencomatic laying nest. This nest has the Vencomat, the tipping floor. With the perfect angle of the nest, eggs gently roll away directly after lay, protecting them from damage by the birds. All three tiers of the Bolegg Gallery are equipped with egg belts, enabling automatic collection of all eggs. A tipping floor-closing mechanism keeps nests clean at night. Its open structure allows easy inspection, winchable back walls allow nest inspection, and the tree concept offers a good overview and access to all levels.



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