DUTCH MANAGE BIRDS' FREEDOM
Feedstuffs, Rod Smith, August 18, 2012
Across Europe, conventional cage housing for layers was banned
effective Jan. 1, and most producers responded by going to colony cage
housing that's enriched with nests, perches, scratching areas and other
installments that allow birds to better express their natural behaviors.
Other alternatives are permitted, and perhaps the most extreme and
innovative option is the Rondeel concept in Holland in which hens live and
produce eggs in "free-range houses" that simulate an outdoors environment in
an indoors house.
Rondeel houses are challenging for producers as
birds have maximum opportunity to move around and access both daytime and
nighttime scenarios, noted Patrick Gloudemans, area sales manager for
Vencomatic, which builds Rondeels.
A producer "needs to learn to
manage the freedom of the birds," he said.
Gloudemans and two
colleagues explained the Rondeel concept to a five-person U.S. delegation
during a study trip in the Netherlands to provide the Dutch government with
feedback on animal welfare initiatives. Feedstuffs was a member of the