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Multi-tier rearing units 'are better for the health and welfare of the birds'

Multi-tier rearing units are better for the health and welfare of the birds and produce more financially productive layers, according to the manager of an egg company where a unit has been studied for the last 18 months.

Gordon Alexander, manager at Heal Eggs near Shrewsbury in Shropshire, told FarmingUK TV that pullets reared on the system were less stressed on transfer to multi-tier production units, they suffered less keel bone damage, maintained feathering better, ranged better and expressed dust bathing characteristics earlier. Economically, productivity was higher and the number of seconds was reduced.

RSPCA Assured has still to give its approval to the use of multi-tier pullet rearing, although there is optimism that such approval will eventually be forthcoming.

The unit at Heal’s is a Big Dutchman Natura rearing system supplied by Newquip Limited, one that the RSPCA is studying before making a decision.