Pest control: a new focus for cage-free system manufacturers

Egg Industry Insight surveyed five equipment manufacturers to find out how their updated products help to ensure that pest control incidents are reduced or eliminated.

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red hen on white background (pathed isolated)
red hen on white background (pathed isolated)
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Equipment manufacturers are increasingly considering alternate ways of improving pest control due to the layout of cage-free housing. As more egg producers convert to cage-free housing, the issue of pest control has grown in importance, particularly because good pest management is a critical part of any egg producer's food safety program.

Aviary systems, which have become the most preferred system amongst egg producers, have been updated to better prevent pest control issues associated with cage-free systems.

Egg Industry Insight surveyed five equipment manufacturers to find out how their updated products help to ensure that pest control incidents are reduced or eliminated. 

This latest survey follows on from a series of three surveys completed in 2016 that looked at three types of cage-free housing systems – floor, aviary and convertible/combi systems. Since then, the industry has shifted towards aviary and away from convertible/combi systems.

Jansen Poultry’s improvements are focused on the design of the systems

Ariën Verbeek, Jansen Poultry, Poultry Specialist, believes that focusing on aviary design is critical in preventing pest activity.

“A system does not introduce rodents or insects. These problems are coming from the outside. However, a system can contribute to the problem by providing hiding places, allowing pests to reproduce more easily in the systems,” Verbeek explained. 

He went on to explain that pests are mainly prevented by designing the equipment profiles to allow for easy cleaning and ensuring that dirt cannot accumulate between two pieces of equipment. 

“There are examples of this in our systems, such as the slats and open steel cross sections. The use of stainless steel is also beneficial.” 

Courtesy of Jansen Poultry

Texha’s improvements have focused on sealing the houses and ensuring cleanliness

Inna Volkova, Texha, Head of Marketing, believes that ensuring cleanliness and sealing the building is important concerning pest control.

“Having a clean and sealed building will help to prevent the introduction and propagation of bacteria, insects and rodents,” she said.

Volkova recommended other practices, including using isolated feeders and drinkers, implementing filters and screens in the ventilation system, utilizing an automated litter removal system and regularly cleaning and disinfecting the houses.

Texha2Courtesy of Texha 

Salmet’s improvements are focused on the designing and installing the structure properly

According to Mari van Gruijthuijsen, Salmet, Director Sales and Marketing, constructing the system without nooks and crannys for pests to roost in is key.

“Regarding insects and other pests, it is important that the system designers are able to avoid producing hidden areas inside the system. It is also important to reduce the amount of plastic parts used. We prefer to use open cable trays for the wiring since closed trays are ideal places for rats and mice to hide and damage cabling, leading to equipment malfunctioning or fires,” he explained.

Additionally, Gruijthuijsen added that pests are a management and system installation issue and that there should be biosecurity and rodent control practices in place.

 Salmet2Courtesy of Salmet


Hellman’s improvements concentrate on adjusting the system’s structure to keep the birds clean and away from manure 

In the opinion of Christian Evers, Hellman Poultry, Aviary Specialist, preventing hiding places for rodents will help reduce pest infestations in houses.

“Our systems to not have any hidden channels for rodents to hide in,” explained Evers.

“The space between the upper and returning manure belts is open as well for the same reason. Pests like to hide, and our systems inhibit this from happening where possible.” 

Big Dutchman’s improvements have focused on hygiene management

According to Bernd Heidkamp, Big Dutchman, System Manager Alternative Layer Management, poor hygiene practices are a greater contributor to rodent issues than housing equipment. 

“There are several preventive measures to prevent the introduction of rodents into the house. This can be done by planning well and having the right hygiene management on the entire farm,” he stated. 

Some of the management practices he recommends include surrounding houses with open and easy to clean surfaces, avoiding storing materials inside or around the houses (or, if essential, only on elevated surfaces) and ensuring cleanliness in the manure storage area, for example, not allowing feed or egg remains in the area).

“Each component of our aviaries has a design feature that helps prevent (insect activity). An example would be implementing an open design for the system’s cross beams to allow for cleaning and eliminating wood as material for aviary systems.,” he explained.

BigdutchmanCourtesy of Big Dutchman




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