A new poultry house in Dorset is being held up as an example of best practice in incorporating technology into raising laying hens.

Mixed arable, livestock and poultry farmer Stuart Casely, of Gore Farm on the Ernest Cook’s Trent Estate, wanted to invest in the latest technology when constructing a new building, one of nine in his pullet rearing enterprise, to save him money and improve quality.

“I was keen to include some fresh ideas into the new building,” Mr Casely, who approached poultry technology company Hydor at last year’s Pig and Poultry Fair about working on the new build.

Hydor provided the technology used in the shed from a ventilation system, including Agri-Jet fans and TPI inlets linked to a Rotem Platinum computer, enabling dawn-to-dusk lighting and ventilation control to manage bird development.

An integrated weighing system also feeds into the computer system to monitor bird growth, while LED rope lighting has been attached to drinkers to encourage birds to consume more water, improving early brooding of chicks.

With the first flock of pullets from the new house now in-lay on a customer’s farm, Mr Casely has orders for a further four flocks, with the birds showing excellent performance.

“Feedback from the farmer indicates that the birds are much more active and have settled into their new housing very well. I think the dawn-to-dusk lighting and slatted perch areas trained the birds well during the rearing phase.” Mr Casely said.

“Pullet rearing is a relatively small industry and during difficult times quality will always be in demand.”

Gore Farm, Sherborne, Dorset

• 500-acre tenant farm

• 200 acres of cereals and 300 beef cattle

• Pullet rearing operation