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The transfer phase between the rearing building and the laying building is a crucial stage. This stage is particularly stressful for the animals, due to the handling, the changes of location, and the changes of people it will undergo.
As a result, it is important to ensure a successful transition of the equipment, when the animals are transferred to their new environment: the laying building.
An animal develops landmarks depending on the equipment used during the rearing phase. They may feel disrupted by different equipment in the laying building. It could lead to a delay in performance, unusual behaviour such as nervousness or laying on the ground. Finally, it can lead to a deterioration in the health of the animals, less uniformity between them, or even unusual mortality.
The equipment should be as similar as possible between the rearing building and the laying building. This will make it easier for the animals to find their bearings. Laying will start at the expected age, and performance will be optimal. 3 points are essential during the transition from rearing to laying building: watering, feeding and whether or not there are plastic slats.
If the rearing building is equipped with nipples, and the laying building is equipped with drinkers, the breeder should be asked to add drinkers during the rearing phase. This will make it easier for the animals, to find water when they change buildings. The easiest way to do this, is to use the same type of watering equipment between the rearing and laying buildings.
If the animals have been fed on the floor during the rearing phase, they will need to be gradually accustomed to the chain, in the laying building. The different steps to follow could be: start feeding the animals on the ground, start the chain at different times from feeding time so that the noise doesn’t frighten them. The food should then be gradually added to the plates.
The animals will get used to this change of equipment, evenly and gradually. Feeding times of breeders should also be relatively close to those of future breeders.
If the laying building has plastic slats, the animals will need to be accustomed to the equipment before entering the new building. You should therefore ask the breeder of future breeding stock, to install plastic slats under some drinkers. The animals will discover this plastic sensation, different from bedding, and will learn to climb.
The intensity and colour of the light can be different when the building is changed. The lighting equipment can also be different, such as neon or LED. So be vigilant and adapt your equipment, and lighting schedules, limiting the differences between the laying building, and the rearing building.
Unusual noises, such as straw blowers, ventilation, or road traffic, disturb your animals. Keep a close eye on their behaviour and nervousness, so that you can act quickly to avoid suffocation. Finally, the animals are sensitive to the breeder’s behaviour. During the 2 phases, you should regularly, and calmly walk among the animals.
Let’s not forget: it’s not up to the animal to adapt constantly, at the risk of triggering stress, that is detrimental to its performance. It’s up to us to provide it with the best possible rearing conditions, so that it can express its full potential.