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“Windstreek” poultry house is fully energy neutral

“Windstreek” poultry house is fully energy neutral

The Windstreek house looks very unusual. From a distance, it looms up in the landscape near the village of Raalte in The Netherlands. “Some people even think that it is a soccer stadium”, says broiler farmer Robert Nijkamp.  Yet it is a very special kind of poultry house. Not just its shape is unusual, but the entire design, making it fully energy neutral. That’s what makes this Windstreek house so unique.

By Mr. Ad Bal. Header image by

“We have been growing broiler birds on our farm for almost 60 years already”, says Robert. “Next to our dairy herd, we have two regular broiler houses with a capacity of 45.000 birds. We raise slow growing Hubbard birds under the “one star better life” label, which is a qualification of the Dutch animal protection organization. These birds are slaughtered at an average 2.5 kgs liveweight, at an age of 56 days.  

In the year 2010 we started thinking of an additional house. Prerequisite for the slaughtering plant which processes our birds, was that birds grown is this Windstreek house should also be of the slow growing strain. But as we are convinced that we need to innovate, this new house needed to be of a different design and “futureproof”.

The high lateral side of the Windstreek house goes up 12 meters high. Fresh air comes in through inlets on the low lateral side.

So we ended up with the Wageningen University in our country (WUR), which became highly involved in this special project. Also In cooperation with a number of suppliers, the idea of the Windstreek design was born.”

The house measures 23 x 90 meters and is offering space to 26.000 birds, as said again of the slow growing Hubbard strain.

The slow growing Hubbard broiler flock has free range floor space on litter, as well as on platform racks

The most visual characteristic of this house is its shape. On the one lateral side, it is quite low (only 3 meters), whereas on the other side it goes up to about 12 meters high.  There are no fans at all. The entire ventilation system is natural, based on relative humidity and temperature figures. Fresh air comes in through inlets on the low side. Thanks to the body temperature of the birds, the incoming air is warming up. And since warm air goes up, it leaves the house through outlets at the top of the high, opposite side. That is also thanks to the slope shape of the roof. Thus, the airflow is fully natural. Sensors on many places inside the house, measure temperature and relative humidity. Based on these figures, the air inlets and outlets are controlled permanently. This goes through smart software which specifically has been designed for this house. All electricity needed, comes from a vast surface of solar panels, which are...

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