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Broiler Chicken – Master Good, Baktalórántháza, Hungary

Broiler Chicken – Master Good, Baktalórántháza, Hungary

This case study demonstrates how the use of modern technology, best practice and good management provide high standards of animal health and welfare and good performance which are underpinned by excellent key performance indicators. The case study also demonstrates the environmental credentials of a system that is engaged throughout the whole of its production system.

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Key areas of good practice

The key initiatives undertaken on the Master Good, Baktalórántháza farm are:

  • 2015 Key Welfare Indicators (KWIs) are excellent, and a clear demonstration that the focus on management, technology and innovation is having a positive impact. These are fundamental elements to monitoring, managing and advancing bird health and welfare whilst underpinning and improving the farm’s economic performance.

  • The chickens are housed in environmentally controlled buildings and are provided with environmental enrichment. Within the buildings there are excellent natural light levels from windows running the length of the sheds. The birds are also provided with additional enrichment in the form of metal platforms, wooden perches, bags of pelletised straw, cardboard boxes and hemp strings hung from the feed lines. These enrichments are important for increasing bird activity and helping enable the birds to exhibit and perform their natural behaviours.

  • Straw pellets are used as the litter material; the main benefit being that it has a higher moisture absorbency capacity than wood shavings or any other litter material. This is an important factor in helping to achieve the excellent KWIs, such as no incidence of pododermatitis or hock burn in 2015. The straw for the pellets is sourced from local farms which are growing some of the cereals used in the poultry feed. The straw is chopped, cleaned, heat treated and pelletised to create a safe sterilised product.

  • The business has invested in excellent staff facilities on site and provides comprehensive training on topics such as bird health, welfare and management. This has helped staff acquire new skills and increases their contribution to the business. Investing in staff and their training keeps them motivated and aids employee retention.

  • The used litter is removed from the farm and taken to a company owned facility which processes it through a composting system over a two week period. The finished product is then heat treated, dried and pelletised before being sold as an organic fertiliser to the farms supplying the business with cereals and straw.

  • The broiler houses are heated using modern gas heaters. The emissions from these systems are released outside the building through an exhaust system which pre–heats the incoming air, reducing gas use by an average of 5%. Environmental conditions within the building are also improved as the moisture and carbon dioxide from gas combustion are directed outside the building.