A more controlled approach
At Bonson Wood, we prefer to rear our poults in large sheds. This has a whole range of benefits.
- We are able to use mechanical feeding systems. These means that feeders are never short of feed. They also cut down on human visits which give two main advantages. The birds are less humanised and consequently wilder, and secondly it reduces the risk of human transported diseases between sheds and the pens in those sheds.
- Every exit and entrance has a disinfectant foot bath, dramatically reducing the risk of disease spread between sheds.
- The sheds are insulated and have controllable air inlet flaps around the edges with natural ventilation through adjustable central roof hatches. This enables the temperature to be monitored and altered during the day and season in order to attain a consistent temperature. We find that this reduces stress and therefore stress related disease.
- Whilst we are unable to move the sheds, the external pens are limed annually to kill any soil borne or hibernating diseases. We find that this works extremely well, and when the birds are let out into the grass pens there is absolutely no rise in mortality what so ever.
- The sheds are cleaned out annually, thoroughly pressure washed, disinfected and left empty of the rest of the year.
We use electric hens instead of gas as we feel that it is much more natural for the birds to get in under a heat source rather than to just have the air around them heated. This helps improve feathering and our poults are always well feathered ready for delivery.
All of these measures have reduced our use of medications. We only medicate when the birds have disease or when they are at risk from it. This means that there is no resistance to any drugs, and the birds leave the sheds with a natural immunity. Once on shoot, any medications used should be 100% effective.