We take it as a great compliment and confirmation of our work when a customer comes to us to buy not just one or two, but three PRO mobile barns. It pays off – as almost always – when a company like Hof Spahr enters the market with clear visions and a sophisticated organic concept. The egg buyer appreciates that and he also notices whether there are people at work who do it with all their hearts.
Astrid Spahr, the friving force of the farm, stands for all of this and anyone who talks to her notices immediately how much she enjoys her work and the animals.
We spoke to Astrid:
- Why did you choose a Steiner automation mobile barn?
At Eurotier 2018 we obtained detailed information about the different types of mobile henhouses. I was also at a lecture event which, in addition to the animal welfare of laying hens, also dealt with mobile housing. Among other things, we visited various companies in North Rhine-Westphalia with different mobile barns. Furthermore, as a family, we had the opportunity to look at a barn from Steiner automation at another farm. We were impressed by the ease of use compared to other mobile barns: management, feeding, collecting the eggs and, above all, moving the barn. We also advocate closed barns so that the animals are safe from predators such as foxes and martens. The decisive factor, however, was that the technology of the Steiner mobile barn compared to other brands is very future-oriented and modern. Many important processes in the barn, such as the laying performance and the previous intake of feed and water, can be checked and monitored digitally from home using a mobile phones. This enables us to act quickly in case of an emergency, so animal welfare is always ensured.
An example: The fodder in the silo does not slide, so that the laying hens do not receive any feed. When that happens, we as the managing director and other employees receive an SMS with the message “Barn conveyor timeout! Silo empty?” Then, after consultation, one of us drives to the mobile barn and checks or corrects the error. This ensures that the laying hans have fodder available at any time.
- How are you doing in everyday operations?
We are very happy that we have chosen the Steiner automation mobile barn. Of course, the handling of a mobile barn compared to fixed stables of the same size is much higher and more time-consuming. Due to the modern technology of the barn from Steiner automation, the additional effort is kept within limits. But I also have to say that we have designed the paddock on which our three mobile stables are located in such a way that all other processes are also simplified. For example, the barns are parallel to the paved path we have created and are only moved parallel to the path and not within the open-area.
The eggs are picked up via a ramp onto the truck through an additional built-in side entrance door. This means that we do not have to carry the individual stacks with, for example, 6 plates of 30 eggs each down the stairs and load them into the collection vehicle. That would be particularly difficult in winter. In addition, we have installed power boxes and water pipes at all 9 possible parking spaces for the respective mobile stables. This makes supplying the stables very easy and uncomplicated. The feed is also delivered via the paved path, so that the vehicles do not have to drive across the paddock and break the sward. It is not necessary to turn the vehicles around as they can drive through the exit onto the road at the other end of the paddock. Pedestrians and cyclists can also use the path and watch the chickens peck and scratch. That goes down very well with our villagers.
- How do you see the future of mobile chicken farming and organic farming in general in Germany?
Mobile hen farming is becoming increasingly important in our industry. There are many farmers who are starting to keep laying hens with small mobile henhouses. Consumers are of course paying more and more attention to this type of laying hen husbandry and are happy about every mobile barn they come across. So that we, as medium-sized farmers with many years of experience in poultry farming, can meet this consumer demand, it is also important for us to deal with the subject of mobile housing and to keep up with the trend. In addition, a laying hen farm is becoming more and more popular with consumers – even if the farm also operates conventional laying hen husbandry.
In general, organic farming will also have a higher priority in the future. The demand for eggs from organic production is growing steadily. Of course, that also depends on the purchasing power of the consumer. In densely populated cities such as Hamburg, for example, we sell significantly more organic eggs than in rural areas. The organic range in the food retail trade has increased significantly for eggs. Nevertheless, I suspect it will never exceed the range of eggs from conventional free-range husbandry.
More infos about Hof Spahr can be found online: