The Experimental Poultry Centre is the provincial research institute for applied poultry research in Belgium.
We perform open and neutral research in the same conditions as are used in commercial practice to keep laying hens and broilers. We test and demonstrate theoretical knowledge under field circumstances. We focus on poultry industry's efficiency and economic sustainability next to solutions for public concerns on animal welfare.
Through direct communication with the poultry farmers, we investigate current topics to address the present and upcoming questions and needs from the field. We have all the necessary facilities for this purpose. We even cooperate with other research centres and poultry farmers. We also collaborate with experimental research for the biological poultry farm.
Working closely with Flemish universities and other important national and international research centres, our team of experienced experts can guarantee state of the art practical poultry research.
The complex has a capacity for 37,600 broilers and 31,000 laying hens in ultra-modern houses, enabling us to look for answers relevant to today's sector, but also to anticipate future legislation and challenges. Together with new European partners, we hope to raise our research to even higher levels.
The new broiler house has space for 18,000 extra broilers. It consists of eight completely separate climate sections for 2,250 broilers each. Outdoor air comes in via openings in the house side wall. The air passes through a conditioner zone where it can be heated or cooled. The outgoing air is sucked into two exhaust towers by means of ventilators. These towers have a space where it will be possible in the future to analyse techniques for air purification.
The hens in the new layer house are accommodated in the most modern systems and subdivided into 12 experimental departments:
- 4 departments with an aviary where the laying hens can move upwards within the system
- 4 departments with an aviary where the laying hens can come upwards outside the system
- 4 departments with furnished cages
Each department has a separate climate control. Part of the incoming air can be heated by a heat exchanger. Outgoing air is sucked away via a central channel to an exhaust tower. This is a computerized system which provides enough fresh air with minimal energy consumption. This makes it possible to recycle the heat, dry fertiliser more efficiently, and research techniques to reduces the emission of fine dust, ammonia, and other harmful substances.
Eggs are collected automatically for each experimental group. This means the eggs can be compared to each other. They are transported via the central spindle belt to a brand new sorting and packing machine. This machine uses camera technology to determine the quality of the eggs and it records this information for further analysis. After that, the eggs are sorted automatically and packed.
We invest in a strong dialogue with the poultry farmers, in Flanders and abroad. We give yearly lectures and spread newsletters and announcements. We are your point of contact for every question about poultry farming.