17 ‘Cadillac’ of aviaries will reduce labour costs

Chilliwack egg producers prep aviary system for first flock


after becoming one of the successful applicants in the BC Egg Marketing Board’s new entrant lottery, Bonnie Bredenhof and her husband Sean are about to ship their first eggs to market. Based in Chilliwack, the

Bredenhofs have spent a lot of money over the past two years to bring their “free” 3,000-bird quota into production. They bought a farm and built both a new pullet house and a state-of- the-art Farmers Automatic aviary for their laying flock. They invited the industry to view the new facility at a special open house, January 11, just over a week before the first hens were to move in.

Although the Bredenhofs

received quota for 3,000 birds, their new barn has been designed to accommodate 7,000 birds and Sean has every expectation of soon filling the barn. In fact, his first flock will number 5,500 birds as he has augmented the new entrant allocation by leasing another 2,500 birds from other producers. At this point, leasing was the only option to increase the size of the flock as he was prohibited from buying any additional birds on the BCEMB quota exchange. “We don’t get a producer licence until we actually start shipping eggs,” Bredenhof explained. “As new entrants, we can’t access the exchange until we become producers.” Had they purchased egg quota prior to shipping eggs,

the Bredenhofs would no longer be considered new entrants and would therefore lose all their new entrant quota.

Although it would have cost the Bredenhofs in the million-dollar range to buy the quota they received as new entrants, Sean notes 3,000 birds is still not enough to ensure a viable operation, hence the larger building and larger flock.

Cadillac Berry Binnendyk of

Precision Farm Supply calls the Farmer Automatic Loggia housing system his company installed the Cadillac of aviary systems. The twin-row, two-tier housing system uses tunnel ventilation and is the first such system installed in the province.

Although there is a spacious walkway between the two rows, the birds are not segregated and can travel not only between tiers but between rows. They can even access outdoor grazing areas through trap doors located on one side of the barn. Giving the birds outdoor access is a requirement for organic egg production. Although BCEMB didn’t specify the Bredenhof quota as organic, free-run or conventional, Bredenhof says they were steered towards organic production when they received the new entrant quota. Birds can move anywhere in the barn, but unlike the more common three-tier aviary systems, the Loggia system does not require them to move.

New quota, new farm, new state-of-the-art aviary. MARISSA BINNENDYK PHOTO “The birds have access to

feed, water and nesting on every tier so birds don’t have to move if they either don’t want to or are unable to. We think that’s one of the advantages of this system,” Binnendyk says. He says the other advantage is that the system captures all the eggs (except those rare eggs laid directly on the floor). “We think farmers will get back the extra cost of the system through less labour and better egg capture,” he says.

Each tier has a belt

conveyor to remove manure. The conveyors have enough capacity so they only need to run once or twice a week. There is also a paddle system on the floor to remove


Standard on 3000, 4000, 5000, and 6000 series blades.

droppings in the scratch. Binnendyk says the paddle system will keep the scratch

litter on the floor clean by running just five minutes at a time twice a day.

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TH Annual

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