How Automation Changed Broiler Breeder Rearing

Remember back in the day when breeder eggs were hand gathered from galvanized nests? Farming was a lot different then than it is now. Today, automation is in full swing and moving forward.

Conventional nests are still being used today in various applications, but they require a significant amount of manual labor. From collecting eggs to cleaning nest holes, there is just no efficiency in use or management. Through industry shifts and technological advances, today’s broiler breeder egg production can be much less labor intensive thanks to automated nests and egg collection systems.

In a conventional system the farmer had to go to the egg. Automated nesting systems bring the egg to the farmer. There are several nest design options – center belt, side belt, and community style nests – but they all use a system of belts and drives to move the eggs from the nest to a collection point.

A center belt system uses a rear roll out design that has one large belt that carries the eggs from the nest to the collection table. A side belt nest uses two narrower egg belts, one on each side of the nest. In the event of a power failure, the eggs can be hand gathered, and belts are easily accessible for maintenance or repair. Community nests use the widest egg belt and have a removable top, so the belt is still accessible for maintenance.

Automation doesn’t stop at egg collection. Nest closeouts can also be run through a series of winches and pulleys to open and close for the peak laying period. Center belt nests have perch assemblies that can be flipped up to close out the nests, but this must be done manually. Side belt nests have a top lid assembly that can be automated with cables and an actuator. The community nest has a wire expeller that moves slowly and quietly to gently push broody birds out of the nest.

VAL-CO has packaged all of the best automated features of popular mechanical breeder nests and combined them with the spacious laying area of community nests to make the new Comfort Nest. The Comfort Nest is a side belt nest with a front roll out design, so still uses two 4” egg belts on either side of the nest. The key feature is the 19” nest openings that give birds more access to laying space, accommodates more hens, and provides a more comfortable egg laying experience.

Better for farms. Better for farmers.

Check out all of our nesting options here.

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