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Dutch Poultry Farms Devise Better Start For Early Birds

Dutch retailer Albert Heijn's poultry suppliers are introducing a new practice in their hatcheries, one that will help to reduce the need for antibiotics for hatchlings and improve their quality of life.

This move is part of a larger industry trend toward improving animal welfare that is being adopted by retailers like Aldi and Lidl.

In a blog post, available on the Albert Heijn website, quality manager Emiel Beekwilder explained the concept.

"In the hatcheries, large batches of eggs are hatching simultaneously. The chicks are moved to the sheds once the whole batch has hatched. This means that some of the early chicks have to wait up to 24 hours before they have access to food and water.

"Even though they are still digesting the last of the yolk and can survive the day without extra food, the early-feeding method has proven to give them a stronger start, resulting in a better resistance to disease. This will reduce the need for antibiotics at a later stage."

The new early-feeding practice is still selectively applied, as it will take significant investment to adapt all existing hatcheries.

© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Martha Sparrius. Click subscribe to sign up for ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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