Animal welfare and reduction of environmental burden are linked
Today the first Windstreek pen opened its doors at the Nijkamp family’s broiler chick company. Windstreek is an innovative, integrally sustainable animal husbandry concept for broiler chicks, derived from intensive collaboration and knowledge exchange between different parties from the sector.
Integrally sustainable means that animal welfare must be taken into account along with the environment and health, and the pen must fit into the landscape. It is a flexible system that is suitable for rearing standard broiler chicks, Good Brood Chicken and Free-range Chicken. This allows the poultry breeder to respond to changing demand from the market.
Windstreek strives for optimal animal welfare, low emission of particulate matter, odour and ammoniac, low energy consumption and good fit in the landscape. This has led to several innovations:
- Open front. This gives the chicks a feeling of being outside and allows consumers to look in the pen.
- Space to scratch around. The Windstreek pen layout offers extra space to scratch around.
- Air ventilation. The curved roof ensures natural ventilation.
- The hatching hood. Under this hood the young chicks find shelter in their first few weeks of life.
- A healthy floor. The litter is periodically removed by manure belts or a gutter with an auger.
Peter Groot Koerkamp, Professor in Biosystems Engineering and Agrotechnology at Wageningen UR:
“The Windstreek pen shows that clever innovations can combine reducing the environmental burden with excellent animal welfare. This produces a lovely pen as well, and altogether has meaning for the chain up to the consumer.”
Innovations in the sector
The Dutch broiler chick sector presents itself both nationally and internationally as an innovative sector. Especially due to the flexibility and resilience of poultry entrepreneurs, the sector innovates rapidly. The sector meets the wishes of consumers and retailers, establishment decrees, requirements regarding animal welfare, food safety, business economy and sustainability. Windstreek is a great example of this. With its innovative agenda, the sector strives for continuous innovation and maintaining the Netherlands’ top international position. The sector is targeting three important key themes for innovation in coming years: ‘The Robust Chick’, ‘In and Around the Pen’, and ‘Versatility’.