North Carolina's Mountaire Farms Use DURA-SLAT Flooring System
In North Central North Carolina, it’s business as usual for Mountaire Farms, a breeding operation that’s been in operation since 1982 and covers more than 100 hatching farms with more than 1.8 million hens in production. At one farm, though, a test is underway that might make a big difference for Mountaire Farms and the independent contract farmers they contract with across five counties. For the last year and a half, at Brown’s Farm in Yadkinville N.C., they have been testing the DURA-SLAT poultry flooring system.
Joe Redmond, production manager for Mountaire Farms, believes the move to the high-tech flooring will provide several tangible benefits to the farmers, both structural and financial. “We believe the DURA-SLAT flooring may be more durable than the wood flooring system used in most hen houses for the perching and roosting areas,” said Redmond.
The DURA-SLAT flooring is made from high impact, wear resistant polypropylene that is designed as a superior replacement for wood and wire flooring structures used in most poultry breeder houses. The 24” x 48” mesh sections have SMOOTH, NON-POROUS SURFACES. Animal husbandry experts believe the DURA-SLAT floor might reduce footpad problems, leg problems and breast blisters in hens, injuries that can occur with wood flooring that splinters or warps over time.
Redmond says the DURA-SLAT flooring appears to clean easier than the wood slats and it will outlast the wood flooring, since it won’t rot or rust or deteriorate from exposure to water and disinfectant. DURA-SLAT flooring is specially treated to inhibit growth of bacteria, including Salmonella, E.Coli, Staph and Pneumonia. The large openings in the flooring surface allow the birds to continually work manure through the openings to maintain a cleaner environment.
The flooring is extremely strong. The strength is important, since it must bear the constant weight of birds, and the daily walk through of the farm managers, cruising the house to look for sick or dying birds.
Fortunately, an analysis of the early data at Brown’s Farm showed a REDUCTION IN MORTALITY in the hen house equipped with the DURA-SLAT floor, 6.8 percent compared to 12.4 percent for the hen house with the wood floor. That was only one generation of hens, though, and Redmond says the farm will continue its test of the flooring system to see if it actually makes a long-term difference in mortality. The impact on mortality rates will be a key factor in determining the value of the product for the contract farmer, since every hen represents about a $5 profit over its lifetime. The shorter the life, the lower the profit for the farmer, and ultimately to Mountaire Farms, so any product that provides a healthier environment for the hens is positive for the farm. Mountaire Farms is hoping DURA-SLAT will make that difference.
For more information on the DURA-SLAT flooring system, call the manufacturer, DuraPlas, based in Dallas, Texas, at (800) 527-0657 or go to duraplasinc.com.