Roxell introduces a new automatic nest: the Shenandoah® group nest

Press release
19 September 2022

Roxell introduces the Shenandoah® group nest for broiler breeders. The Shenandoah experts — known for the popular individual nest — designed this innovative group nest concept. Each nest box has 8 nest openings — rather than 16, 18 or 20 — resulting in group areas that are adapted to the physique of today’s broiler breeders. But that’s not all. 

More nest space and increased profitability with the solid Shenandoah® reputation

Specific features ensure: 

  • a higher nest acceptance
  • good hygiene for the chicken and egg, 
  • careful handling of a large volume of eggs. 

Due to the efficient design of the nest width and depth, this nest can increase the capacity and profitability of broiler breeders houses. Switching from an individual nest to an automatic group nest is easy because no changes need to be made to the layout of the house. The management is exactly the same as well. By offering more usable nest space, Shenandoah continues to support the growth ambitions of poultry farmers.

Good nest acceptance results in more nest eggs

At the core of the Shenandoah group nest is the provision of sufficient space and oxygen. Since chicken breeds are larger these days, spacious, oxygen-rich compartments are essential. That is why the nest has the largest and deepest nest boxes for houses with a ‘US-style’ layout. The ventilation in the nest is guaranteed with the perforated AstroTurf nest mat. To simulate a natural living environment, the nest opening has a step and short curtains. For the hen, it’s an entrance to a safe space with lots of shade. The Shenandoah group nest creates the right balance between space, oxygen, ventilation, hygiene and natural behavior. This results in fewer out-of-nest eggs and a surplus of nest eggs with a higher average per hen. 

Higher fertility rates

The following features are aimed at ensuring high standards of nest hygiene for a successful, antibiotic-free production house:

  1. Every evening an automatic expulsion system (with a bar) gently pushes the hens out of the nest, so they cannot brood overnight or remain in the nest. This is a very animal-friendly method that is unique in the sector.
  2. Inside the nest, the AstroTurf mat carries away waste to maintain a high level of hygiene.
  3. With the large perforations in the egg belt, waste can simply drop through. The egg belt is made of polyester with a layer of plastic on the outside to prevent stretching.

As well as hygiene, another factor that influences the fertility rate is the way the eggs are handled. Nest mats prevent hairline cracks from forming and there are streamlined transitions during the transport to the egg collection table. To accommodate the extra volume of eggs, the egg belt is adapted to large capacities. 

30 extra hens per nest box in an existing house

With this group nest, it is easy to increase the stocking density in an existing broiler breeder house. The Shenandoah group nest is just as long as the individual nest, i.e. 8ft (2.4 m). The difference is in the group compartments, which have been laid out more efficiently. They are wider, deeper and have a fully flat nest floor. This increases the usable nest space by 50 %, which means the average capacity per nest box increases by 30 hens. 

Small step: from individual to group with the same house layout

Broiler breeders are becoming larger. Due to the growing size of the birds, it’s only a matter of time before group nests will be a necessity. Shenandoah makes it easy to transition from an individual nest to a group nest. No changes need to be made to the general layout of the house. With this group nest, a poultry farmer can expand their nest space without needing to make adjustments to the existing systems. The management of the house also remains the same as usual. 

Tested and approved by Cobb
We took great care in developing this Shenandoah group nest. This group nest was to become the solution for poultry farmers with larger breeds that want to increase their stocking densities without hefty investments. We also needed to make sure the new nest meets the applicable regulations. However, we were able to make it happen. By changing the nest layout and expanding the nest volume, we created 50 % more space. This is a luxurious amount of space for a nest. We extensively tested the hens’ responses to the new concept, as always. First with a live set-up at the Roxell test center, and then in the test houses in the USA and later at the Cobb breeding company.
Frank Hartmann, Marketing Manager at Roxell

"Cobb thoroughly tested and analyzed the nest and expressed its satisfaction with this new group concept. Therefore, not only poultry farmers, but also the breeding company Cobb, have approved the new automatic nest.”