You might wonder what we, as researchers at Vencomatic do, and that's why we would like to share one of our researches with you. Recently, I have been working on determining the manure pattern of chickens, which doesn't sound very interesting but it is, and below you can read why :).
How does a chicken shit?
This may seem like a silly question but it is extremely important when developing aviary systems. The fact is that chickens do shit and we have to take this into account when placing for example feeding troughs and perches.
After some questions about manure pollution in our aviary systems, we decided that it would be good to have a laying hen with a manure pattern in Auto-Cad. The purpose of this laying hen is that you can place it in aviary layouts and thus determine whether the made layout is good or will cause contamination of the system/hens.
In Heeze we have a test house with 41 Lohmann Brown Light chickens for almost 2 years now. There are 2 nests and 3 Q-Perches which is an ideal set-up to do small experiments.
Test house Heeze
To determine the manure pattern of the chickens, 13 chickens and 1 Q-Perch were used. In the evening, as soon as the light was out, all chickens were put with their butt towards the aisle. After this, a wooden board was placed under the butt of the chickens so that the manure would fall on it. This test was repeated a few days at different heights and to make the test reliable, 5 tests were also done per height. Lines were drawn on the wooden board to determine exactly where the droppings fell.
The implementation - wooden board under the chickens' butts
After all measurements were completed, the averages of the measurements were calculated and the manure pattern was plotted in AutoCad. A difference was made between the average manure spread, this is the location where most of the manure falls, and the minimum/maximum manure spread, this is the manure that fell most widely. In AutoCad several laying hens with manure pattern are drawn which can help to develop and determine the layout for our aviary systems.
Another nice fact
Apart from being a very useful tool, this research has revealed another nice fact. The story goes around that chickens only shit when they wake up. This research shows that chickens are shitting during the whole night, see the movie below, made of snapshots during the night.
I hope you found it interesting, if you have any questions, please let me know!