A German free-range farm has become the first commercial laying unit to breach the 500 eggs in 100 weeks milestone.
The farm, which contains a flock of 40,000 Dekalb White layers, is located in Vrees, Germany and run by the Buter family.
The results of the Dekalb White commercial flock were exceptional. The flock was 101.3 weeks old and production per hens housed was 517.4 eggs, feed intake was 118g.
Mortality was 8% of which just under a third was due to predators, including foxes and birds of prey in the outdoor range area.
The average egg weight, according to statistics released by Hendrix Genetics, was 61.8 g and the flock was producing above 97% for 36 weeks and above 90% for 58 weeks.
The Dekalb White commercial flock was the first flock in a newly constructed house with a free-range area and the fact that the farm is free-range makes the results even more extraordinary due to the challenging environment.
Hendrix organised a ceremony for the family to mark their achievement, along with the contributions of pullet supplier Ab Ovo, feed supplier For Farmers and veterinarians Windhaus and Hemne.
The milestone meets the potential highlighted two years ago in scientific research by Bain, Nys and Dunn, which concluded that the “longer life” layer, capable of producing 500 eggs in a laying cycle of 100 weeks was on the horizon.
They said such a flock would bring benefits of a more efficient utilisation of diminishing resources, including and, water and raw materials for feed.