H&N Cage-Free Academy 2023
H&N Cage-Free Academy 2023
Hit the Freeway – an inside-outlook on Cage-Free
23 high-level specialists from South and North America and Europe joined our H&N Cage-Free Academy in Cuxhaven from 27th to 31st March 2023. Hosting so many experts contributing their knowledge and local experience made this Academy a mutually beneficial learning experience.
Cage-free is not a question of in or out – it’s a process involving multiple stakeholders on all levels from farm to federal! Some countries are entirely cage-free already today like Switzerland, others pursue a two-pronged or multi-pronged strategy, yet others are starting to consider it.
The agenda was dense over three days
Many topics were discussed affecting the changes needed for having a successful cage-free production. During the mornings there was a full agenda reviewing topics related to genetic selection, management, health and nutrition and the changes producers need to make compared to the production in cage.
The afternoons were used for doing different workshops, there were the Dynamic Learning Workshops where the participants learnt about a topic based on local experience of each one. There was some trouble shooting for management and the participants were able to become detective-nutritionist solving some performance issues related to the nutrition in cage free. For sure we also had some free time and leisure activities, like a bowling session on Tuesday and a karaoke night on Wednesday. On the last day, after a nice social evening, we had the award ceremony.
The big “change”
Cage-free is a big change in production management and nutrition, however the main change should be at the culture of the company. We can’t apply the same mentality as in cage production, therefore there must be a core change when egg production in cage free happens.
The little details become more important and the coordination of the different people in the egg production becomes the key to success. Rearing becomes even more crucial point, body weight, feed intake development, feeding pattern… will determine the success or the complete failure. The farmers’ job also changes; this new production requires more time spent with the birds. The birds will show new behaviors and the farmers need to be there to see, understand it and changing whatever is needed so they birds can show their genetic potential.
New ways of production require changes and an adaptation period. We look forward to having the next academy soon.
The new H&N Cage-Free Management Guides hold all information around cage-free for each H&N breed. Find them here: https://hn-int.com/downloads/