VDL AGROTECH launches a sustainable broiler house design called Windstreek

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VDL Agrotech designed together with a consortium of Dutch companies a revolutionary new broiler house which fits to all future demands. The major design goals where: economic perspective for the farmer, fitting in the Dutch landscape, optimum animal welfare, environment and health.
To combine all this seems to be almost a mission impossible, especially when you realise that the Dutch consumer is hardly willing to pay much more for his chicken meat in the shop.
Without a detailed calculation it’s obvious that goals like animal welfare and environmental will increase the production costs. But with reducing energy consumption, labour-, mortality- and pharmaceutical costs there could be a chance for a positive business case.

Windstreek
Several brainstorm sessions and theoretical calculations resulted in a unique broiler house design called ‘Windstreek’. Last year the Dutch government awarded the design, which made it possible for farmer Robert Nijkamp to realize the first Windstreek house and the first flock was set-up.

Broody inside Windstreek
Broody inside Windstreek

Innovations
Design
A real eye catcher is the building design with the concave roof shape and the open façade. The transparent sidewall is almost 12 meters high and gives a direct access to daylight. The bottom part of the sidewall is a slide and can be opened over the full length so the birds can expire their new world.

Natural ventilation
There are no fans installed, the ventilation is 100% natural ventilation, which means 0% electricity costs for fans! Natural ventilation is possible in this almost 24 meters wide building because of the roof shape and the difference in height for the computer controlled in- and outlets.
With an accurate rack & pinion system the climate is controlled in 2 zones based on temperature, relative humidity and CO2 levels.

Windstreek inside
Windstreek inside

BrooDy
For the first weeks the newly patented “BrooDy” system from VDL Agrotech creates a unique microclimate for the day old chicks. The design enables and utilizes the natural behaviour of the birds. It simulates the natural environment comparable with a broody hen. All the requirements for a good start are integrated: feed, water, light and an optimal microclimate. The BrooDy is a modular constructed system and can be delivered in every desired length. At the sides there are red coloured curtains, which reduce energy losses but don’t restrict the birds in free movement. From the first day they are free to choose their own comfort zone. On both sides big insulated inspection windows gives the farmer a good view on the birds and makes the BrooDy easy accessible without winching them up.
Because the BrooDy is a kind of house in a house, the energy consumption is less than in conventional systems. Also the heat production of birds will be used in a very efficient way.

Nipple line with DOC BrooDy
Nipple line with DOC BrooDy

The BrooDy contains an integrated electrical or biomass heating which has the perfect balance between convection and radiation heat comparable with a broody hen. This results in energy saving of 80-85%. The microclimate is fully automatically controlled with the newest Sommen KVS3 touch computer. Per zone (5-30 meter) temperature, relative humidity, CO2 and ventilation will be controlled by curves.

Animal welfare
In the Windstreek house several elements for animal welfare are integrated: drinking lines with integrated perches, Rotra scratch feeders to distribute automatic wheat in the litter. Four suspended slatted floors with integrated perches at the sides gives the birds a 3D approach. Depending on the regulations a part of this area can be counted as accepted living surface, for Dutch 1 star meat concepts totally 430 square meters. Some toy’s like straw bales are put into the house.

Cross section of the Windstreek house
Cross section of the Windstreek house

Environment & landscape integration
A significant reduction of fine dust due to slow moving air inside combined with a high emission point. So no expensive and energy consuming air scrubbers are required. During the pilot permit period this will be checked by official measurements. The attractive house design will be completed with trees and small pools, which completes the integration in the landscape.

Market
Slow growing broilers, 56 till 150 days old, are still a niche market. Globally only 1 % of the broiler parent stock is genetically selected for an efficient production of organic or free-range broilers. Special breeds from Hubbard or Aviagen with the ideal male/female combinations results in high quality birds, which follow the different growth & quality ratios.
Within Europe you see much difference between countries, like in France already 2 million PS, but the global trend is an increase of market share for slow growing broilers.