UFO lands in China

A farm where visitors can discover how eggs are produced in an animal-friendly and sustainable way. What was once a dream of a Chinese farmer with 2.2 million birds in cage systems became a reality last year. A special farm needs a special house and that’s why this farmer chose Rondeel. The silhouette of this house, especially during the evening, gives reason for people to call this Rondeel an UFO.

The Rondeel in Rudong (Nantong area) is named Hong Xuan, which stands for environmentally-friendly produced eggs. Here you will find the Xingyanghei bird, a local breed. These birds are a less productive compared to common breeds with a production around 290/300 eggs at 72 weeks. But they are very strong and vital, with a rearing mortality below 2%.

Pullet rearing is accomplished on location in a Jump Start rearing system. I was pleasantly surprised while observing the birds behaviour. These birds jump so easily between the different levels, and find their way easily within the system. This gives me great confidence toward their success in this new Rondeel.

The biggest difference between bird management in Europe and Asia is the vaccination program where the birds receive 5 vaccinations during the rearing period. The vaccination program is followed intensively by the Agricultural Academy of China.

While placing the birds into the Rondeel, we requested help from the local workers. Most of them were women who normally work in the rice fields. They are hard workers, and even had fun with the birds; they really earned my respect.

I enjoyed my stay; it was a great experience with a different culture. The biggest challenge: ‘How to best train people who have no experience with aviary systems?’ I taught them step-by-step about feed distribution, light schedules, climate and ventilation, etc. I’m convinced the UFO has a great future in China.

Gust Fleerakkers, poultry specialist.