Throughout Europe, the X-Treck, by the Vencomatic Group has been a popular choice for broiler growers, helping to improve bird welfare and performance by ensuring a good chick start. The NFU Poultry team have been to see the first UK poultry farm to install this new system.
The X-Treck is an on-farm hatching system which can be used in traditional broiler houses and provides newly hatched chicks with immediate access to food and water. Setter trays with 18 day-incubated eggs are placed on a rail system which is suspended in the shed. The height of the X-Treck system is controlled by an electric winch which means it can be lowered to just above the shed floor during hatching and then winched to the ceiling after hatching, when not in use.
Cranswick, who acquired Crown Chicken in 2016, recently installed the X-Treck into one of their new conventional sheds built in 2016. Matthew Ward, Director at Crown Chicken has found that the X-Treck has improved his broiler birds: ‘The initial crop has shown that the system has helped to achieve a very good hatch rate and good broiler start’. After a successful first crop, hatching of the second crop has just taken place. NFU Chief Poultry Advisor Gary Ford said: ‘Visiting Cranswick’s site and seeing in-person the first UK installed X-Treck really helped to showcase how this new innovation could benefit the broiler industry.’
A full report with images will be available in the next edition of the NFU Poultry magazine and the October edition of British Farmer and Grower.