“Alta Tuscia” new laying hens farm in Italy

Lara Naldini

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MBE Breeding Equipment outfitted a new free-range farm, which has recently been inaugurated in Montefiascone, Italy

A celebration event for the “Alta Tuscia” company, located in Montefiascone, where the Pagliaccia family inaugurated their new free-range laying hens farming in the presence of numerous layer breeders, poultry operators and staff of the Marche-based MBE Breeding Equipment company.
The farm is located in a beautiful area just a few kilometers from the enchanting village of Montefiascone, near Viterbo, in central Italy. The owners, the Pagliaccia sisters, who have traditionally been in the sheep farming for more than half a century, decided to open up to the poultry sector starting a new adventure as an investment for their sons, who will run the entire company in the future.The project actually includes another poultry house, very similar to the one inaugurated, that is going to be started once the first farm is successfully operating.

The whole plant was completely designed and equipped by MBE Breeding Equipment, the Vencomatic Group’s official Italian dealer for about two years, as well as of Prinzen company starting from January 2018.

Founded by Giorgio Laudazi, MBE Breeding Equipment has been operating since 1980 in the supply of turnkey technology solutions for the eggs and meat production and for the animal husbandry in general, creating prefabricated poultry barns and zootechnical stables of all types and sizes.”We are able to provide projects of any complexity and dimension, following them at every stage: from the design to the production of structural parts; from the plant engineering to the livestock equipment; from the assembly to the training of the customer’s technical staff. As regards the planning of this farm, we started working on it around two years ago“, explained Simone Laudazi, MBE Breeding Equipment Administrator. “Along the way, some changes have been made and the most significant modification was related to the Grando Castle nest, a truly innovative product, which was launched on the market by the Vencomatic Group about a year and a half ago“.

Thanks to its flexibility and walkable roof, the Grando Castle nest represents a big step forward for this farm, which will soon housing 27,000 Hy-Line hens. “Grando Castle nest is a Vencomatic product and there is no a similar one on the market“, continues Simone Laudazi. “The solid construction ensures a long lifetime to the nest. Vencomatic’s sidebelt concept with tipping floors was designed 30 years ago and it is at the base of the new Grando Castle nest, which is characterized by its flat roof. If we look at its sideways, we understand where its name derives from because it recalls the design of the battlements, typical elements of medieval military architecture and castles”.

With this new feature, the farmer is able to maximize available living surface to the birds.
In fact, thanks to its structure, the Grando Castle allows to adjust one and two tiered nests on a single row, depending on the characteristics of the barn and type of breeding.
We can alternate the use of nests with flat roofs – providing extra living surface to the birds – with nests supplied with traditional roof, and place a second nest and so on where needed, until we find the best solution both for the hens and for the farmer. With competitors’ nests it is not possible to increase the walkable area in the barn as much as the Grando Castle nest allows“, explains Laudazi.

What would have happened in the “Alta Tuscia” farm, where the barn is 14 meters wide, if the Grando Castle nest had not been placed? “We would have to make two rows of nests, cutting at least one and a half meter of space per row, with certainly less efficient results. The Grando Castle nest permits to develop a larger area for birds: a two-tiered nest develops 6,65 m2 of surface while the single-tiered nest 5.47 m2. At the same time, hens are better distributed even in the lateral sides of the barn“.

Some other features introduced in the “Alta Tuscia” farm
The whole farm consists of a barn, – whose dimensions are 132 meters long x 14 wide, plus the egg collection room of 6 meters – and a surrounding land totally dedicated to the hens, who are free to perform their natural behaviour. This free-range farm was built according to the German KAT legislation, imposing a strict control system for the egg safety and traceability, whose certification attests compliance with severe rules for animal breeding and hygiene. “The barn is equipped with doors and insulated rack windows, which are innovative for this area; they are separated into two engines, giving the possibility to run a multifunctional system, and creating forced air, in case the owners will decide in the future not to follow the KAT rules anymore“, Laudazi tells us.

While the nest is designed using smart Vencomatic innovations, including the Vencomat tipping floor, the automatic feeding system is from VDL Agrotech. The drinker lines – equipped with Impex’ nipples – are integrated into the nest. MBE Breeding Equipment provided all the other equipment in the “Alta Tuscia” farm. The Italian company has also studied the ventilation’s management in every single detail: the poultry house is provided with several air circulators and nebulization systems to reduce heat stress and improve air quality at low noise levels.
Lighting is an essential component for a successful laying hens operation. MBE Breeding Equipment gave it particular care: the ceiling lights are of excellent quality, LED technologies have been used everywhere and the nests are in a dim light compared to the other more illuminated areas to prevent hens from laying eggs out of the nest. As for the flooring, the entire surface of the barn consists of grids (slats), while the area of ​​scratching is outside. The poultry manure collection system is collocated under the slatted floor ensuring a healthier and more hygienic environment. At the end of the cycle, slats are cleaned and disinfected, while the litter is removed and taken away with trucks.