Next step in smart poultry farming
As a layer hen farmer, Jos Nelissen has always made maximum use of scientific knowledge, research and data collection. It is therefore no surprise that he is the first person in the Netherlands to use the Select, Count and Detect from the Meggsius series of Vencomatic Group; three new products with which Nelissen can take the next step in smart poultry farming.
From the moment Jos Nelissen (57) and his wife Marieëtte (55) took over the company from his parents in Oirlo, Limburg, he has been looking for information on how to improve the laying poultry farm. "After taking over the company in 1990, we broadened our horizons in various places around the world. We were curious about other ways to run a laying poultry farm."
The journey around the world provided new perspectives, and thus the seed was sown for a new company that Jos and Marieëtte founded in 2006. Jos: "An egg is a very beautiful product. It contains everything the chick needs to grow." The goal was to also use the egg as a powerful source of human health. This has now resulted in patented food products for maintaining eye and brain health and the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. "For the development and patenting of food products for human health, it is necessary to build up dossiers similar to those for pharmaceuticals. A lot of scientific research is needed, so it is a good thing that my passion lies in science. I've learned to set up scientific research and to collaborate with scientists and technicians."
Back to 'the basics’
Nelissen's current poultry farm uses two locations in Oirlo with 70,000 layer hens in one location and 60,000 in the other. "The locations are 300 meters apart with a road in between them. I didn't want a new building, so the egg transport just goes under the road." At both locations, it's all about free-range and Jos has been sourcing his layer hens from breeder Lohman for thirty years. Nelissen has furnished his two houses with the Bolegg Terrace system from the Vencomatic Group. "As far as I'm concerned, this easily ventilated aviary system stands for 'twice as nice': good exercise for the hens, and a good overview of the animals for the humans."
Jos Nelissen may have gone back to 'the basics' (the layer hens business), but he continues looks at his layer hens through a scientific perspective. "It's important for us to use scientific insights to look after the needs of the hens as much as possible. That leads to good yields. You need to pay close attention to the feeding line, climate and light. But most of all, you have to screen the behaviour of the animals." Jos has cameras in his houses to help him make important observations. "When we enter the house with the vet, we look at the colours, the condition of the plumage and of course the behaviour of the hens. Through the cameras, I learned that the hens show different behaviour when you are in the house. The behaviour you observe through the cameras is much more natural and can be done 24/7 and has taught us to detect stress better and faster so you can anticipate it."
Knowing the cause
Jos collects all information about his hens automatically as much as possible, after which everything comes together in the dashboard, which is also when the information can be analysed. "The most efficient and automated collection of information leads to greater job satisfaction, but above all, it provides new insights." The dashboard makes it easier to combine different pieces of information, which often makes it possible to see at an early stage that something is going on. "In poultry farming, we're often doomed to treating the symptoms. In our company, however, we are now in a better position where we can look for the cause. That's why we want to retrieve as much data as possible so that we can often detect signals at an early stage that something is wrong."
Perspective of the chicken
To retrieve even more useful information from his layer hen farm, Jos Nelissen already had egg counters with a data link to his dashboard. "But the Meggsius...
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