DURA-PAD: Apalachee Farm - DuraPlas

DURA-PAD Poultry Nest Pads

Apalachee Farm - Westville, PA

Florida Breeder Believes Dura-Pads Make His Job Easier

With nearly 25,000 breeding hens on his farm, Bill Jones of Westville, Fla., wants two things at the end of the day, the highest egg production possible and no extra work. The Dura-Pad nesting system helps Jones achieve both goals.

Dura-Pads, manufactured by Dallas-based DuraPlas, are square plastic nest pads that are installed in nesting areas with the sides slightly sloped upward to form a u-shaped cradle in the middle of the nest. This configuration ensures the eggs will be gently deposited onto the bristle-covered Dura-Pad and then roll onto the conveyor that takes them to the end of the hen house.

Composed of high-grade virgin polyethylene, the Dura-Pad is virtually indestructible, able to stand up to the high ammonia concentration in the chicken waste and the annual cleaning with high-pressure washers, pounding, and other tools that breeders use to clean the pads. “Some breeders simply beat the pads against poles to loosen waste material. The Dura-Pad is flexible, not stiff, so the rough treatment doesn’t damage the pad,” said Jones. “Other types of pads are stiff and tend to crack if you are too aggressive in cleaning them, or the bristles break.”

Jones says the Dura-Pad doesn’t require as much work to clean them at the end of a breeding cycle. The Dura-Pads have hundreds of circular clusters of raised bristles across their surfaces, and in the center of each cluster is a hole. All around the bristles are additional slotted holes. This open grid configuration gives the Dura-Pads the most open space of any pad on the market. The open spaces allow most of the dirt or chicken waste material to fall through to the sub-floor of the hen house. The unique grid system also improves air circulation around the nesting area, which means that any wet waste material on the pad will dry faster and not stick to the eggs and potentially contaminate them. The pile on the Dura-Pad is vertical, which means it is easier to clean. Jones also believes the vertical piles are more comfortable for the hens.

“Creating a clean nesting environment is important because as many as five chickens will lay eggs in the same nest in most breeder houses. If the nest area is unclean, that means a breeder will have to take extra time to hand sand any waste material from the shells or clean them some other way. Searching for the exact location of the contaminated pad is also extremely time consuming. So the best solution is to make sure the nesting system prevents the eggs from getting soiled in the first place, and the Dura-Pads’ design does that,” said Jones.

The Dura-Pads offer breeders one additional protection against contaminated shells. The Dura-Pads are treated with anti-microbial agents that are designed to prevent microorganisms from growing on the surface of the pads. The anti-microbial additive is dispersed throughout the Dura-Pad and will not wash or wear off. While eggs have a natural anti-microbial property on their shells, the anti-microbial agents in the Dura-Pad help prevent the build up of microorganisms from the chicken waste on the pads that could contaminate the eggs..

“This microbial contamination might not show up at the breeder house, but it could show up at the egg processor when they incubate the eggs at higher temperatures, which would allow any small contamination to culture and grow. If the microbial infection spreads, it could affect the hatching percentage the breeder egg farmers are striving to achieve,” said Jones, who produces eggs for Perdue Farms.

Jones is so confident in the Dura-Pad product that that three years ago he became a distributor and began selling the product to other breeding houses through his company, the Apalachee Repair Center. His company provides poultry equipment, maintenance and repair services to poultry breeding houses in the western panhandle of Florida and southern Alabama. He says his customers have given him nothing but very positive feedback on the Dura-Pads.

“Broken eggs or lost eggs cost me money, so do eggs that are covered in bird droppings. With the Dura-Pad product, I’ve had fewer broken eggs than with other nesting systems, and I’ve invested less time cleaning eggs. It’s the smartest solution to any everyday problem for the hen farmer. In terms of price, quality, durability and product support, the Dura-Pad product meets the needs of breeders that want to operate efficiently,” said Jones.

DuraPlas has more than 50 years experience manufacturing products for the agricultural industry. For more information on the Dura-Pad product, contact DuraPlas at 800-527-0657 or visit duraplasinc.com.