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Case Study 1 - Laying and spreading of compressed bales by hand

This study is taken from an egg-production farm that operates on the barn system. The farm is based on a single portal frame building 55m long by 20m wide. A central service area divides the building into two poultry houses which are mechanically ventilated by fans located in the roof. The birds use the outer floor areas of the houses for scratching. These areas are initially covered in a thin layer of litter or bedding, in this case dust-extracted wood shavings.

The shavings are delivered to the farm in the form of polythene-wrapped compressed bales.

Each bale weighs about 25kg and can be handled comfortably by two people. The bales are delivered to the farm on a low lorry and transferred into the internal storeroom on a pallet truck. The store is located in the central service area of the building.

Two farm workers withdraw by hand four bales from the store and transfer them to one of the scratching areas on the pallet truck.

'The birds are introduced before the bedding otherwise it would be extremely difficult to push the pallet of birds across the covered floor. Birds are introduced when 16 weeks old (poulets).

The birds are ushered out of the scratching area and four bales are laid out in a line along the centre of the area.

A farm worker crouches down next to each bale in turn and cuts through the polythene wrapping on three sides and turns the bale over to release the shavings in a broad heap. The discarded polythene is rolled up and handed to the farm manager for disposal as waste.

The process is repeated on the other side of the house. It takes between 40-60 minutes to dress the scratching areas in each house.

The farm workers wear disposable respirators (FFP3 standard) whenever handling the bales or shavings.

All the extraction fans are switched on before the bales are taken into the house.