Automatic collecting of eggs is a novel feature of the new “press button” unit of 22,500 layers which has been set up by Richlea Ltd, at Hockley, Richhill, Co Armagh.
With flat deck cages it is the only one of its kind in Ireland and the largest in Europe. It is planned to build a similar unit with complete automation.
The eggs roll gently on conveyor belts which carry them to a central collecting table where they are handled and packed at normal working level. Feeding, watering and manure removal are also automatic.
With all the birds at one level it is claimed that environment control assures ideal conditions of temperature, lighting and ventilation.
Visitors, including poultry specialists, Egg Board and Ministry of Agriculture officials and agricultural journalists, were intrigued by the set-up – BIG Dutchman – during a tour of the unit this week.
Men behind the enterprise are members of two well-known Co Armagh families – Mr Hugh Richardson, company director and noted Shorthorn breeder, of Moyallon, and Mr Henry Leader, director of several companies.
After a tour of the unit the visitors were entertained to dinner at Woodbourne Hotel, Dunmurry.