Poultry International - July 2017 - 20
20 ❙ PoultryInternational
lead to better
John Brunnquell, of free-range
egg company Egg Innovations,
offers tips on how to stimulate
birds for better performance.
BY AUSTIN ALONZO
Just like people, chickens need to be challenged
a little to perform at their best.
That's what John Brunnquell, president and
founder of Warsaw, Indiana, free-range egg producer Egg Innovations told the Organic Egg Farmers of
America Symposium on March 14. The event took
place in St. Paul, Minnesota, in conjunction with the
Midwest Poultry Federation Convention. Brunnquell
is the president of the farming association.
While the growing movement toward producing cage-free, free-range and organic eggs is relatively new, the chicken's desire to express natural
behaviors is not. Hens inherently want to dust
bathe, perch, forage, scratch and socialize, and
when they get to, good things happen, Brunnquell
said. Egg Innovation's birds have access to pastures year-round and, because of it - along with
experienced management - the birds perform
better and experience lower mortality than their
Brunnquell said the natural behaviors help re-
founder of Egg
Farmers of America members and allies on
March 14 in St. Paul, Minnesota. | Austin Alonzo
lease the genetic potential of the bird to lay more
eggs. It relates to allostasis, or the concept that
putting a consistent amount of limited stress on an
animal can be beneficial to its health. He compared
it to how regular, moderate exercise can benefit
people's overall health.
The birds, he said, need only about two hours a
day to lay their eggs, eat, drink and defecate, meaning they have 14 other daylight hours with nothing to do. Chickens are naturally curious and they
want to go outside, or at least be engaged inside the
house. When they are allowed to express their natural behaviors, negative behaviors like feather pecking and cannibalism can be reduced, he said.
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ July 2017