Pullets and Rearing

Pullets are usually 16 weeks of age when they are transferred to the rearing site. Everything has to be right, from air quality and temperature to plentiful food and water.

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Pullets are usually 16 weeks of age when they are transferred to the rearing site. Everything has to be right, from air quality and temperature to plentiful food and water.

Rearers ensure the rearing birds have easy access to food on corrugated cardboard strips running through the rearing house. Water is supplied via drinker lines with cups under each nipple, plus chick pans, that are regularly cleaned and topped up with pre-warmed water.

Air quality is closely monitored – checking for levels of carbon dioxide in particular. The rearing house is pre heated and, as the chicks don’t become fully thermo-independent until around 14 days.

Q. What pullet rearing systems are used commercially?

There are 2 main systems utilised a conventional all litter system or a multi tier system. The multi tier system incorporates Slats at different levels for birds to move around on. Both systems are audited to RSPCA freedom food and BEIC lion standards.

Q. What breeds of hybrid hens are there available?

There are 6 main brown egg laying breeds Lohmann, Hyline, Bovans, Novobrown, ISA Warren and Shaver.

Q. What stocking density are birds reared at?

Birds are reared to the RSPCA freedom food standard of 20kg of bodyweight per square metre of floor space.

Q. What feed regime do birds receive in rear?

Birds generally have a 4 stage rearing diet regime • Day old to 4 weeks Super Chick Starter Crumb • 5 weeks to 8 weeks Chick Starter Crumb • 9 weeks to 12 weeks Developer Meal • 13 weeks to 16 weeks Grower Meal Generally birds are fed by a chain feeding system with 5cm of single sided track space per bird

Q. What is most important for chick arrival?

There are 4 main requirements for chick housing • Temperature 32 to 34 Centigrade • Light as bright as possible usually between 20 to 30 lux • Water must be readily available • Feed must be readily available

Q. Why are birds vaccinated in rear?

All birds receive a comprehensive vaccination programme in rear, this is to protect them against the challenges they may face in the laying period The main vaccinations are Salmonella, Gumboro, Coccidiosis, Infectious Bronchitis, Newcastle disease and some others.

Q. What lighting patterns are applied to birds?

Birds start on 23 hours of light which is steadily reduced to 10 hours of light by 6 weeks of age

Q. Who independently checks on birds during the rearing period?

Rearers are independently audited by the RSPCA and by the BEIC In addition many customers operate within the supermarkets codes of practice

Q. Are pullets that go into multi-tier units used to that environment?

All pullets destined for a Freedom Food approved multi-tier unit must be sourced from a Freedom Food approved multi-tier rearing unit

Q. What is a pullet?

A pullet is a young female hen which isn't laying eggs or not laying eggs at full size.
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