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Modern Methods More Efficient

by 5m Editor
11 July 2008, at 8:45am

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO - Tunnel ventilation and computer control of the house environment are gradually replacing traditional open-sided poultry houses in the Caribbean.

Two years ago, Warnerville Grain Mills Ltd (WGM) installed three poultry farms at Wallerfield using the new technology, which has led to a ten per cent increase in efficiency in poultry production, reports Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.

WGM supplies 40 per cent or up to eight million chickens a year to the local market.

By industry standards, a bird ordinarily uses one square foot in a regular pen, explained Jerry Ramdass, WGM’s general manager.

"For instance, 16,000 broilers will fit in a 16,000 square foot pen. But with the new technology, you can put up to 24,000 birds and get better weight faster because the environment is controlled. The mortality is lower. It’s good technology," he said.

With the growing popularity of fast-food restaurants and grain prices going up, achieving greater efficiency in producing chickens for the market is important.

Mr Ramdass said WGM’s houses were a pilot project to better understand how the technology works and as a showcase to encourage other farms to switch methods of poultry farming.

Tunnel-ventilated houses, while healthier for the growth of the chicks, are not cheap.

Robin Phillip, deputy chairman of Arawak and Company said his poultry company started its programme with tunnel-ventilation three years ago with two houses at a cost of $1 million.

He said that there are also savings in feed efficiency. Whereas a chick takes between 2.1 pounds to 2.2 pounds of feed in an open-sided pen, that feed conversion goes down to 1.8 or less in a tunnel-ventilated house, he explained. The new pens also produce better liveability.

Trinidad and Tobago Guardian reports that Jamaica was the first country in the region to invest in tunnel ventilation with Jamaica Broilers and Caribbean Broilers starting in 1990. Chickmont Foods in Barbados started its investment in 2000, followed by Bounty Farms of Guyana in 2004.

View the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian story by clicking here.

5m Editor