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Illinois Livestock Trail
New Poultry Research Facility at University of Illinois
by Ken Koelkebeck

This past year a new poultry research facility was constructed at the University of Illinois. It is located about 4 miles southeast of campus and consists of six buildings. This facility replaces the old poultry farm which was built in the 1960s. The funding for this new complex came from a variety of sources with the cost being 3 million plus. This state-of-the-art facility will allow us to continue doing high quality poultry research for the foreseeable future. We were able to contract the services of Steve Rieger, a long-time employee of Hy-line International, Inc., and most recently of Henning Construction. This company is a leading designer and builder of many commercial poultry research facilities in the United States and worldwide. Without the expertise of Mr. Rieger we would not have a new poultry research farm. Many other individuals were involved in the designing of the buildings.

The following is a brief description of each building at the new Poultry Research Farm.

1. Chick Hatchery, Lab, and Feed Mixing Room

This building (40' x 125') houses the hatchery with new Natureform incubators, chick lab for nutritional experiments, and a feed mixing room for experimental diet preparation and storage. An inside room is also dedicated to be used for teaching various animal sciences classes.

2. Adult Bird Room and Specialized Research Rooms

This 40' x 115' building houses cecectomized roosters in single bird cages that are used to determine amino acid digestibility of many feed ingredients. It also has six identical heated and cooled specialized research rooms that can be used to conduct heat stress studies or controlled-lighting experiments with birds in cages or on the floor. The rooms are approximately 15' x 10'.

3. Cage Layer House

This building is approximately 40' x 160' and consists of two equal sized, independent rooms that measure 40' x 70'. A work room and egg storage room is located on one end of the building. Each room houses approximately 3000 birds at 6 birds/cage. The ventilation, feed, water, and environmental controls are separate in each room. There are four rows of cages (back to back) and stacked 3 tiers high with a manure belt under each tier to remove the manure daily to an outdoor storage area. The watering system consists of nipple drinkers and birds are fed automatically from feed stored in several 4-ton feed tanks.

4. Grower Building

The chick brooder/grower building is 40' x 120' and consists of two equal sized rooms (40' x 60') that can house 2500-3000 birds from day-old to 18 weeks of age. This building will be used to raise birds to replace the breeder flock and cage house birds. The building could also be used to conduct broiler grow-out trials by constructing separate pens inside both rooms. Feed is supplied by pan-style automatic feeders and nipple waterers will provide drinking water.

5. Breeder Building

The breeder building (40' x 135') houses breeder birds for production of fertile eggs, which are used for hatching chicks for nutritional trials and to sell fertile eggs to the public (teachers, 4-H, FFA, embryology) and to Veterinary Medicine for research purposes. The building is divided into a 12' work room in the center and also has two breeder rooms.

6. Litter Storage/Shop and Equipment

The last building is a 40' x 40' building to store vehicles, litter and has a shop/work area. This building could also be used to raise a small number of birds if needed.

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