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Poultry Unit

Jason Fields

Jason Fields




The poultry unit facilities support the Land-Grant mission of teaching, research and Extension. The research diversity includes nutrition, physiology, management and genetics. The unit manager and farm animal technician operate the unit employing student labor as needed to meet research labor demands. The poultry unit is equipped with Wi-Fi allowing for electronic data collection and video streaming.

The hatchery includes the manager's office, conference room, and seven NatureForm incubators. The incubators have a set capacity of 1,980 eggs and can be used for incubating chickens, ducks and turkeys.

Upon hatching, chicks are moved to the grower unit, where they remain until approximately 16 weeks of age. The grower unit has 12 light-tight, environmentally separate rooms with approximately 120 cages, 24 inches x 24 inches. The cages have 2 adjustable height nipple waterers that can be converted to cup waterers. Each room has a triple-deck cage system suspended over a shallow pit. All rooms are thermostatically controlled and equipped with evaporative cooling pads. This building also features a 12 ft. x 18 ft. laboratory. In addition, 3 rooms have been converted to the cage-free style.

Pullets are transferred to the layer unit around 16 weeks of age. The layer unit has 16 environmentally separate, light-tight rooms, equipped with evaporative cooling pads. Three rooms have eight cage rows in a "quad-deck" offset arrangement, with cages, 12 inches x 14 inches per row. One room has no cages and can be set up for various configurations of cages. Four rooms are setup as cage-free with an automated nest box for egg collection. Eight rooms are setup with an enriched cage system. Each room has 36 cages that are 30 inches x 48 inches. Cages can be setup with nest boxes and perches. The eight rooms are connected with a manure belt collection system. This enriched cage system can also be converted into an Aviary system if needed. Genetic populations, roosters and hens, can be housed in the facility as well as commercial table egg layers.

Management unit II has four light-tight, environmentally separate rooms with floor pens that are equipped with evaporative cooling pads. Each room has 12 pens that are 10 foot x 8 foot arranged in two rows of six pens with a central aisle. The pens have two doors and a movable partition that allows for variable pen size and / or doubling the number of birds per pen. This unit is used for the rearing of broilers, turkeys and ducks. If ducks are raised, a nipple waterer is placed over a plastic mesh-covered gutter.

The lagoon for waste handling represents a cut and fill design with 3 cells. A sewage lift sump pump transfers manure from the shallow pits located in each room of the layer and grower units to cell 1 at the rate of 600 gallon/minute. Recycled flush water is returned to the shallow pits of each room by gravity flow from cell 2 at a rate of 500 gallon/minute. Cell 3 is the overflow for cell 2; it is then pumped onto crop land during the growing season.