Every day enjoying your poultry house
Together, Inge (43), and Gerjan Pol (45) own and run a poultry company with 53,000 free-range laying hens housed in a RED-L systemGerjan’s parents developed the RED-L system in the late 90's together with Vencomatic Group. Now their first RED-L has, after all these years, been replaced with a new one. In the new RED-L system, the whole design concept has remained a ‘tree with branches’: there are a few floor legs, all floors can be walked on, the system is animal friendly, and it’s a pleasure for workers to clean and manage.
The name RED-L is the essence of this aviary system: Resting, Eating, Drinking and Laying. " In the initial stages of the development of the RED-L system, my father saw that it was like a tree in which birds would like to perch, and that still applies to the new RED-L system today.” Gerjan Pol reflects, “What helps is the fact that a chicken likes to sleep on top, and that they can retreat to the perches when they are lower in the pecking order and need their space. I am almost sure that birds are happy in this system. That's not measurable, of course."
Optimal bird distribution
Gerjan housed a flock in February last year with untreated beaks yet, even with untreated beaks, there were no incidences of pecking. In his opinion, this is solid evidence that the birds feel comfortable in the Red-L: "If a chicken feels good, it has no tendency to peck itself or other chickens."
In terms of animal -friendliness, the system has proven itself in other areas. "For example, the low number of floor eggs is really quite striking.”.” Gerjan says, “And of course, the distribution of the birds across the different system levels is a beautiful thing to see; about 60 percent are above and 40 percent below in the system;that makes the work easy. You put them in low and they go up in the system themselves."
Ready-made and modular
Why did Gerjan Pol still remove his first RED-L from the house and install a new RED-L system? "The first version was in use for eighteen years now and was still going strong. But the timing for investing in a new RED-L good for us right now.” Gerjan answers, “There are also some improvements in the new system. For example, the drive system of the manure belts has been improved. The first manure drive was sort of improvised with motors placed against the system. The new Red-L has a ready-to-use drive unit that can easily be connected to the system."
Fresh air and bird-friendly lighting
Moreover, the manure aeration is better integrated into the system. "The ventilation channels are now close to the manure belt. The aeration system now has a heat exchanger which means that not only can the house be aerated with fresh air in the summer…but also now in the winter.’’ The new system is equipped with LED lighting. "No flickering fluorescent lights anymore, but the stable, calming light of LED tubes. I think the chickens find it pleasant too. The LED lighting is dimmable and is available in different colors.” Gerjan chooses yellow with a color temperature of 2700 Kelvin. "Everything around 3000 Kelvin is a good color. We choose yellow the most because the birds are the most calm in this hue."
To help control red mites, the new RED-L is now equipped with wire mesh. Gerjan states, "Vencomatic Group equipped the RED-L system with plastic slats and they were fine. However red mites can easily hide underneath these slats. That's why the new RED-L is equipped with wire mesh. A wire mesh has a very open structure and does not have space for red mites to hide."
Ease of use
Is there nothing bad to say about the RED-L system?"It's an expensive system, but it is durable so it lasts for at least twenty years. Other systems do not last that long. Furthermore, RED-L is better for the environment and for the birds.” Gerjan remarks in closing, “But the most important things are the job satisfaction and the ease of management that you get in return; you really do not have to crawl in and under the system anymore."