8 clever technical innovations for poultry farmers

Poultry farming is an inherently progressive part of the farming sector – from sophisticated air scrubers that remove more than 90% of ammonia emissions to a robotic helper that scarifies litter and helps to break up bird dominance.

We’ve pick eight new products at the cutting edge of technology which improve bird health, tighten biosecurity and help make production more efficient on broiler and layer farms.

See also: New technologies key to keep poultry businesses profitable

1. Sundown Pellebed

Manufacturers of straw-based Pellebed poultry bedding from Sundown Products claim it is the most absorbent on the market.

It is about four times denser than shavings, meaning bedding is smoother and more stable when birds are placed.

As they grow, the bedding expands and absorbs moisture, becoming softer as it does so.

Sundown bedding

Sundown straw-based Pellebed poultry bedding

The bedding is treated with alkali to ensure low microbial counts, and has been approved by Defra.

The product has been on the market since July last year, according to Sundown’s David Cubitt, and can be blown into sheds as a bulk delivery.

Find out more on the manufacturer’s website sundownproducts.co.uk

2. Addfield A50 Bulk Poultry Incinerator

Bulk incinerator

Incineration specialists Addfield has recently brought to market a bulk poultry incinerator for larger farms.

Having appropriate means of either storing fallen stock for approved collection or on-site incineration is both a legal requirement and a key part of many assurance schemes.

The A50 is a higher-capacity machine that is designed to burn carcasses in a biosecure and environmentally friendly way, the company says.

It is manufactured in Great Britain using heavy guage steel and has a three-layered brick-lined refractory.

Stock is loaded into the front and the operator controls the incinerator’s operation with a control panel that gives quick access to key functions. A touch screen offers more options for customising the machine’s settings.

It is capable of processing up to 100kg/hour.

Find out more on the manufacturer’s website, addfield.com

3. Collinson FeedAlert

Silo specialists Collinson has launched a digital solution for weighing feed.

Its FeedAlert load cells can be fitted to Collinson silo (those produced from 2003 onwards) legs without cutting or drilling, meaning no damage to structural integrity.

Collinson feed alert

Collinson FeedAlert

A single cell is rated from 96% accuracy, a percentage that can be increased to up to 99% by adding more cells to the remaining three legs.

The device offers real-time data showing how much feed is left in silos, meaning re-orders can be made before they empty.

“Feedback from our customers proves that running out of feed is a common problem which can have a knock-on, detrimental effect on productivity.

“By using FeedAlerts’ live data the farmer will know exactly how much feed is left in the silo to allow timely reordering,” the company said.

There are also plans to launch an app that will link to the devices later this year, which will allow for remote feed monitoring from anywhere.

Find out more on the manufacturer’s website, collinson.co.uk

4. Spoutnic NAV

The future feels closer than ever with this new product. French poultry robotics specialist Tibot Technologies has a new device designed specifically for broiler producers.

The Spoutnik NAV is designed to both aerate litter as it trundles around a poultry shed and stimulate the movement of birds.

Spoutnic nav

Spoutnic nav for layers and breeders © Tibot Technologies

It can either find its own way around farms or be programmed to take a set route, and as it goes can turn bedding, helping to prevent litter capping. The company says this helps reduce foot pad dermatitis, hock burns and breast blisters.

The machine also breaks up bird dominance, and encourages movement, which in turn can improve performance.

The company say trials with the robot suggest having it in place will improve performance so much that the device will pay for itself within six flocks, if used in a 1,200 sq m house.

Find out more on the manufacturer’s website, tibot.fr

5. BASF Storm Ultra Secure

Storm® Ultra rodenticide

Storm® Ultra rodenticide

Chemicals giant BASF has announced a new wax-free rodenticide using 25ppm of the active substance flocumafen.

The company says that in trials of the new product, rats were offered the choice between a controlled, non-toxic, appealing food source and the new product.

Such was the appeal of the new rodenticide, they consumed it even when the non-toxic foodstuff was available.

BASF’s Sharon Hughes said that rodents would not have resistance to flocumafen, and that by removing wax the bait would be more palatable.

Find out more on the manufacturer’s website, pestcontrol.basf.co.uk

6. Inno + air scrubber

Inno+ air scrubber

Inno+ air scrubber for poultry sheds sold by JF McKenna in the UK

With environmental restrictions for both existing and proposed new poultry units becoming ever stricter, farmers are looking at technology that can remove ammonia from the air expelled from poultry sheds.

In countries such as Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, such devices are relatively common, especially where farms are close to residential areas.

They are increasingly required here, too, as part of conditions for new planning applications.

One recently launched product is from Dutch firm Inno + and sold in the UK by poultry equipment specialists JF McKenna. It is a single-stage chemical air cleaner that separates both dust and ammonia from broiler houses.

Air is expelled from the poultry shed into the scrubber, which sits at the far gable end of the unit. The air is humidified on its way to a coarse dust separator, before it is passed through plastic packing.

Water treated with sulphuric acid serves to remove the ammonia, and the treated air is expelled from the top of the system. It has an in-built detection system to monitor how effective the system is operating in real time.

Testing by the prestigious DLG centre in Germany found it achieved an ammonia separation rate of 91% and total dust separation of 87%.

Find out more on the manufacturer’s website, inno-plussystems.com

7. Gi-ovo Eggs Cargo System Mini

Giovo's EggsCargoSystem

Giovo’s EggsCargoSystem®

This set-up, from Italian egg handling specialists Gi-Ovo, is designed to replace carboard boxes for producers who deliver relatively small consignments of eggs to companies such as catering services, fast food chains or retailers.

The kit comprises plastic pallets, trays and dividers, with optional protectors to help keep eggs safe.

A single pallet set-up can hold 2,880 eggs – the equivalent of eight cardboard boxes.

Find out more on the manufacturer’s website, gi-ovo.com

8. Dofygate Wheel-e-Gate


This portable gate system promises to help poultry farmers improve biosecurity by allowing the easy installation of barriers to discourage traffic where it is not wanted.

The system is solar powered so installation on remote sites is straightforward and operated by a remote control key fob. Being on wheels means it can easily be moved between sites, or deployed at times when biosecurity needs to be ramped up.

The system starts from £1,471, ex VAT.

Find out more on the manufacturer’s website, dofygate.co.uk