Looking to the Future at Dolderwen Farm

Sustainability and diversification drive Wot a Pullet’s new multi-tier rearing farm in Mid Wales.

Left to right: John Buck (LA Systems Technical Sales Manager), Claire Jones, Elwyn Jones, Richard Jones (Lohmann), Alex Calvert (WAP National Planning and Compliance Manager), Jordan Tweedale (WAP), and front: Laura and Matthew Jones.

Wot a Pullet have recently begun rearing at their latest multi-tier system in Mid Wales. The first flock of day-old Lohmann chicks arrived at Dolderwen Farm on 9th December 2021.

The brand-new, purpose built, 36,000-bird rearing house, which represents a diversification into poultry for the Jones family, has been designed specifically to match their needs as first-time producers, and with sustainability to the fore.

“The free-range laying sector is moving increasingly towards multi-tier systems, as it prepares for the move away from colony systems, so there is insufficient multi-tier rearing capacity. Preparing birds in rear for the environment they will encounter in lay gives flocks the best start and the smoothest transition,” Jordan Tweedale of Wot a Pullet says.

Young pullets exploring the system

A poultry hotspot

Dolderwen Farm is a traditional 330-acre family farm that has kept cattle and sheep for generations. Trading under the business name of G Jones & Co, the farm is located within the rural settlement of Llanafan Fawr and approximately 7.3 miles from Builth Wells. The area is predominantly rural, where agriculture has always been the primary employer, and in recent decades, this part of Mid Wales has become a real poultry hotspot.

Looking to the future

Dolderwen Farm has been in the family for 80 years and has been passed down most recently to Elwyn and Claire Jones, who manage it with the help of their two children, Matthew and Laura, and Elwyn’s parents, Brian and Connie. In common with many other farming families in the region, the Joneses have explored opportunities for diversification, with the aim of making the farm as sustainable as possible and to future- proof it for generations to come.

Looking to continue with their passion for farming, they considered many ways to diversify, and decided that pullet rearing would work best for them as a family. After researching the market carefully, they are confident that rearing will be a success and help to secure the farm’s financial future.

“We are delighted to be working closely with Wot a Pullet. They are well-established and independent pure pullet rearing specialists. We feel sure we will get all the support and backup we need from Jordan Tweedale, who has been alongside us from day one,” said Elwyn.

A great start

The facility is approved as a multi-tier rearing system by RSPCA Assured and was designed and equipped by LA Systems. The Landmeco Multi-Tier Rearing System they supplied is simple in both its design and operation, making it very cost effective, whilst offering the best level of functionality for teaching the chicks how to access the different levels on multi-tier laying systems. It is quick and easy to install, and one of the most open systems, folding up to less than 1.0m for mucking out and catching.

Birds get a great start as a result of being kept on the lower tier of the system with easy access to feed and water for 10 days, before being released and encouraged to explore the whole system.

“We can already see how keen the birds are to explore the system. It has a plethora of ramps and perches which the birds can explore from an early age, which prepares them to use the system as laying hens,” explains Jordan.

The new multi – tier system
A plethora of perches and ramps

Cooperation with the RSPCA

Consultations with the RSPCA identified the key areas that they are keen to see on rearing systems and LA Systems adapted the design of the system to not just meet the minimum required standards, but to exceed them in all aspects. Being able to brood the chicks in the system allows the birds easy access to feed and water whilst also providing less heat demand and easier ventilation.

Once the system is opened, the birds have unrestricted access to the whole house, and with the addition of welfare ramps and extra perches, the birds have no issue in finding their way up the system.

“There is already a long list of orders for future chick placings from this farm, and we are confident of the high quality of the pullets being reared,” says Elwyn Jones. “Jordan Tweedale and Matthew Green from Wot Pullet have been fantastic, working alongside LA Systems to make this such a success. The information provided from the RSPCA Farm Animals Department and RSPCA Assured was invaluable in helping us have the system approved in the UK,” he added.

Sustainable development

The Mid Wales location will make it convenient for dropping birds at the surrounding farms, minimising delivery times, stress from transport and environmental impacts from emissions. Wot a Pullet are aiming to rear three flocks per year at Dolderwen, and wherever possible the flocks will be destined for laying farms in the Mid Wales area.

The new unit incorporates energy efficiency measures and technologies that can be integrated with wider energy efficient design principles to ensure high energy performance. The installation of an air scrubber will further reduce emissions.

The building has been insulated according to the most recent building regulation standards, to reduce heat loss in winter and excess solar gains in summer.  Wherever possible, materials have been sourced and produced locally, from resources that can be renewed without harm to the environment.

The scheme has also avoided the use of tropical hardwood, and instead, used timber which was certified as coming from sustainable sources.

Minimising the impact of the building on the landscape

The building is sited within a natural hollow of the landscape and does not affect long distance views from amenity areas, therefore minimising the impact of the building on the landscape.

The building is intelligently and sympathetically designed, and strikes a balance between practical and economic efficiency and minimal landscape impact.

Thank you

Elwyn and Claire would like to thank everyone involved with the build and for the continued support they are receiving.



Warren

The Warren is the result of extensive consultation and focused research into the best solution for the rapidly expanding free range sector in the UK. Bred from proven Hendrix lines, it is set to become the champion of free range.

 

The Warren will be slightly larger framed with all the advantages of modern hybrid egg quality, productivity, and performance. Resilient and well behaved, no matter what it encounters, the Warren is ready for the rigours of the range.

Free Range
Eggs per hen housed to 72 weeks 316
Eggs per hen housed to 80 weeks 359
Average egg size to 72 weeks 64.8g
Average egg size to 80 weeks 65.0g
Egg mass to 72 weeks 20.1kg
Egg mass to 80 weeks 22.9kg
Average daily feed intake per bird 129g
Body weight at 16 weeks 1452
Liveability:
Rearing
Laying period (72 wks.) 95.8%
Laying period (80 wks.) 95.2%

H&N Brown

Genetics and research staff at H&N have worked for many years to produce a layer with an excellent performance.

 

This was achieved by a balanced selection procedure, taking many traits into account, such as egg production rate, liveability, feed efficiency and egg quality, which are all major factors in determining the profitability for an egg producer.

H&N Brown
Eggs per hen housed to 72 weeks
Eggs per hen housed to 80 weeks 368
Average egg size to 72 weeks 62.9g
Average egg size to 80 weeks 63.4g
Egg mass to 72 weeks
Egg mass to 80 weeks 23.3kg
Average daily feed intake per bird 113 – 118g
Body weight at 16 weeks 1596g
Liveability:
Rearing 96-98%
Laying period (72 wks.) 90-95%
Laying period (80 wks.) 90-95%

Hy-Line White W80

Robust, Prolific, Strong Performance in Alternative Systems, Long Single-Cycle Lay

 

The Hy-Line W-80 is a robust white egg layer for all housing systems and environments. This bird delivers prolific egg numbers, excellent egg shell strength, and strong performance under challenging environments and low-density feed rations.

 

 

The W-80 is adaptable to alternative production systems and remains calm for easy management. For markets requiring a larger egg size, the W-80 Plus gives producers the same great traits with an egg weight profile two grams heavier.

 

 

Its persistency for long single-cycle lay means more eggs on five grams less feed. Producers gain more profitability with a feed savings of approximately two kilograms per bird per year versus competing brands.

Free Range
Eggs per hen housed to 72 weeks 329.3
Eggs per hen housed to 80 weeks 373
Average egg size to 72 weeks 63.9g
Average egg size to 80 weeks 64.4g
Egg mass to 72 weeks 19.6kg
Egg mass to 80 weeks 22.4kg
Average daily feed intake per bird 104.5gms
Body weight at 16 weeks 1210gms
Liveability:
Rearing 97.0%
Laying period (72 wks.) 92.6%
Laying period (80 wks.) 91.7%

Hy-Line Plus

Prolific Producer, Rich Brown Eggs, Increased egg weight of up to 2 grams

 

The Hy-Line Brown Plus has all the benefits of the Hy-Line Brown with increased egg weight of up to 2 grams. The Hy-Line Brown is the world's most balanced brown egg layer. She produces over 355 rich brown eggs to 80 weeks, peaks well and begins lay early with optimum egg size. These traits combined with an excellent temperament, unrivalled feed efficiency, the best interior egg quality in the market and unbeatable liveability and feather cover, plus enhanced egg weight give the Hy-Line Brown Plus the perfect balance for Enriched Colony and Alternative production systems, which means more profit for the poultry producer.

 

With the Hy-Line Brown's superior performance and world beating efficiencies it's the perfect choice for a more profitable future.

Hyline Brown Hyline Plus
Eggs per hen housed to 72 weeks 337.7 323.3
Eggs per hen housed to 80 weeks 382.5 365.7
Average egg size to 72 weeks 63.9% 66.6g
Average egg size to 80 weeks 64.0% 67.0g
Egg mass to 72 weeks 20.8kg 20.8kg
Egg mass to 80 weeks 23.7kg 23.7kg
Average daily feed intake per bird 117.9gms 117.9gms
Body weight at 17 weeks 1460gms 1460gms
Liveability:
Rearing 98.1% 98.1%
Laying period (72 wks.) 96.2% 96.2%
Laying period (80 wks.) 95.0% 95.0%

Lohmann Brown Classic

The Lohmann Brown is the leading layer in the UK market.

 

With a reputation for persistent production, excellent shell strength and good temperament, it is ideally suited to long laying cycles, giving high numbers of first quality, saleable eggs with attractive brown shells.

Free Range Colony
Eggs per hen housed to 72 weeks 308.2 316.1
Eggs per hen housed to 80 weeks 349.5 357.1
Average egg size to 72 weeks 63.4g 63.2g
Average egg size to 80 weeks 63.8g 63.7g
Egg mass to 72 weeks 19.53kg 19.98kg
Egg mass to 80 weeks 22.32kg 22.91kg
Average daily feed intake per bird 125 - 130g 110 - 117g
Body weight at 16 weeks 1380g 1380g
Liveability:
Rearing 97 - 98% 97 - 98%
Laying period (72 wks.) 92 - 95% 93 - 95%
Laying period (80 wks.) 90 - 92% 92 - 95%

Dekalb White

Perfectly adapted to the needs of modern commercial egg production, the DeKalb White has been bred to be a profitable high performance breed, set to be a natural choice for professional egg producers of the future.

 

Combining excellent liveability, extended production cycles, superb persistency and an excellent feed conversion ratio, the DeKalb White consistently produces high numbers of first quality eggs, per hen housed.

 

DeKalb White eggs are strong shelled with excellent internal quality, making them suitable for both table eggs and egg processing markets.

Free Range
Eggs per hen housed to 72 weeks 331
Eggs per hen housed to 80 weeks 376
Average egg size to 72 weeks 65.1g
Average egg size to 80 weeks 65.5g
Egg mass to 72 weeks 20.4kg
Egg mass to 80 weeks 23.4kg
Average daily feed intake per bird 114g
Body weight at 16 weeks
Liveability:
Rearing
Laying period (72 wks.) 95.0%
Laying period (80 wks.) 94.3%

Bovan Brown

The result of a balanced breeding programme, the Bovans Brown is a highly versatile and robust layer.

 

A combination of high peak production, great laying persistency, and a flat egg weight curve ensures that the Bovans Brown produces high numbers of first quality dark brown eggs.

 

Adaptable and easy to manage, the robustness of the Bovans Brown allows it to adjust well to different climates, management programmes and housing systems.

Free Range Colony
Eggs per hen housed to 72 weeks 321 332
Eggs per hen housed to 80 weeks 365 376
Average egg size to 72 weeks 65.6g 65.6g
Average egg size to 80 weeks 65.8g 65.8g
Egg mass to 72 weeks 20.4kg 21.0kg
Egg mass to 80 weeks 23.3kg 23.9kg
Average daily feed intake per bird 124g 116g
Body weight at 16 weeks 1350g 1350g
Liveability:
Rearing 98% 98%
Laying period (72 wks.) 95% 96.8%
Laying period (80 wks.) 94.3% 96.4%

Isa Brown

The ISA Brown is recognised globally for its exceptional feed conversion, which makes it one of the most efficient, proven and profitable brown egg layers in the world.

 

Producing high numbers of first quality eggs, per hen housed, the ISA Brown is a reliable and versatile layer with excellent feed conversion, which adapts well to differing climates and housing systems.

 

Optimal egg size, strong shells and great laying persistency also make the ISA Brown perfectly suitable for longer laying cycles.

Free Range Colony
Eggs per hen housed to 72 weeks 316 330
Eggs per hen housed to 80 weeks 359 373
Average egg size to 72 weeks 65.8% 65.8g
Average egg size to 80 weeks 66.0% 66.0g
Egg mass to 72 weeks 20.3kg 21.1kg
Egg mass to 80 weeks 23.1kg 24.0kg
Average daily feed intake per bird 124g 115g
Body weight at 16 weeks 1350 1350
Liveability:
Rearing 98.0% 98.0%
Laying period (72 wks.) 94.7% 95.8%
Laying period (80 wks.) 92.7% 95.9%

Shaver Brown

The Shaver Brown is a highly efficient and balanced brown egg layer, producing a large volume of medium and large sized brown eggs with strong shells and good internal quality.

 

The Shaver Brown has a low feed intake combined with a high peak production and great laying persistency.

 

The supreme Shaver Brown is a reliable, efficient and profitable bird for all egg producers.

Free Range Colony
Eggs per hen housed to 72 weeks 317 330
Eggs per hen housed to 80 weeks 360 372
Average egg size to 72 weeks 65.0g 65.0g
Average egg size to 80 weeks 65.1g 65.1g
Egg mass to 72 weeks 20.1kg 20.8kg
Egg mass to 80 weeks 22.9kg 23.6kg
Average daily feed intake per bird 126g 116g
Body weight at 16 weeks 1350 1350
Liveability:
Rearing 98.0% 98.0%
Laying period (72 wks.) 95% 95.9%
Laying period (80 wks.) 94.3% 95.3%

Hy-Line Brown

Prolific Producer, Rich Brown Eggs, Hardy Layer

 

The Hy-Line Brown is the world's most balanced brown egg layer. She produces over 355 rich brown eggs to 80 weeks, peaks well and begins lay early with optimum egg size. These traits combined with an excellent temperament, unrivalled feed efficiency, the best interior egg quality in the market and unbeatable liveability and feather cover give the Hy-Line Brown the perfect balance for both Enriched Colony and Alternative production systems, which means more profit for the poultry producer.

 

With the Hy-Line Brown's superior performance and world beating efficiencies it's the perfect choice for a more profitable future.

Hyline Brown Hyline Plus
Eggs per hen housed to 72 weeks 337.7 323.3
Eggs per hen housed to 80 weeks 382.5 365.7
Average egg size to 72 weeks 63.9% 66.6g
Average egg size to 80 weeks 64.0% 67.0g
Egg mass to 72 weeks 20.8kg 20.8kg
Egg mass to 80 weeks 23.7kg 23.7kg
Average daily feed intake per bird 117.9gms 117.9gms
Body weight at 17 weeks 1460gms 1460gms
Liveability:
Rearing 98.1% 98.1%
Laying period (72 wks.) 96.2% 96.2%
Laying period (80 wks.) 95.0% 95.0%

Lohmann Brown Lite

Similar in performance and behaviour to the Classic, the Lohmann Brown Lite produces the typical Lohmann egg colour and shell.

 

With an average egg size approximately 1.5g less than the Classic, the Lite produces a higher percentage of medium eggs. It’s good laying performance and shell breaking strength of over 35 Newtons make it suitable for a variety of management systems.

Free Range Colony
Eggs per hen housed to 72 weeks 311.2 319.6
Eggs per hen housed to 80 weeks 354.0 362.8
Average egg size to 72 weeks 61.1g 61.0g
Average egg size to 80 weeks 61.6g 61.5g
Egg mass to 72 weeks 19.01kg 19.48kg
Egg mass to 80 weeks 21.81kg 22.46kg
Average daily feed intake per bird 124 - 129g 110 - 116g
Body weight at 16 weeks 1360g 1360g
Liveability:
Rearing 97 - 98% 97 - 98%
Laying period (72 wks.) 92 - 95% 93 - 96%
Laying period (80 wks.) 90 - 92% 92 - 95%