White Feather Farms Inc., owned by the Schillings Family in Durham Region, recently held an open house to showcase their newly-constructed egg laying barn with enriched housing — a more spacious alternative to conventional housing.
“The housing system that we chose is an enriched colony,” explains Hubert Schillings. “This means that three specific features have been added to encourage the birds natural behaviours. These features include perch rods, nesting areas, and a scratching pad.”
More space for the birds means more space for them to walk around and stretch, it offers privacy for nesting, and the rods and pads satisfy hens’ innate desire to perch up high and scratch the ground.
The new barn on the Oshawa farm had birds moving in on May 24th.
“The entire undertaking has taken 10 months,” Hubert says. “This has included building the structure, installing the housing, installing the egg collection system, feed scales, plumbing, and ventilation system.”
To ensure high air quality, the manure is removed using a belt twice a week. Dimming LED lights have also been used to help reduce energy usage.
“We view this as a 25 year investment for our business moving forward,” shares Hubert.
In addition to egg laying hens, the Schillings family farm, which opened its doors in 1988, also has broiler chickens, a popular tea room and bakery, and field crops including corn, soybeans, wheat and barley.