As an important step in development and considering consumer demand, AS "Balticovo" is opening the first large-scale free-range chicken holding in Latvia. The free range holding in Madona houses 20,000 birds having access to 8 hectares of walking area, thus each bird has 4 square meters of space. This is the first large scale free range holding in Latvia.
The opening ceremony of the new holding was attended not only by representatives of the Madona County Council and public figures, but also representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Latvian Association of Egg and Poultry Producers and the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The participants of the picnic had a chance to see the daily life of free-range chickens, as well as take a short tour of the production facility.
Valdis Grimze, Chair of the Council of AS "Balticovo", reveals that "this is an important event not only for the company, but the industry as a whole, demonstrating the company's appreciation of consumers' wishes both in export markets and in Latvia". In turn, Toms Auškāps, member of the board of AS "Balticovo", emphasises that "the new free-range chicken holding allows consumers to purchase country eggs with the added value of each egg having been checked for quality. These chickens are fed feed made from Latvian grown wheat and barley, oat bran, rapeseed dregs, sunflower meal, fodder yeast and minerals, they breathe fresh country air and enjoy all of the benefits provided by the spacious walking area".
Everyone at the opening event of the Madona chicken holding could find out about the daily regimen and eating habits of the chickens. The chickens spend about 10 hours a day outside, each chicken laying one egg and thus the Madona branch produces 20,000 eggs a day. The design of the Madona branch henhouse was begun in 2014, and this is the first large-scale free-range chicken holding for AS "Balticovo" and Latvia.
Jānis Grasbergs, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, notes that “it can currently be observed that there is increasing demand for free-range eggs and people are willing to pay for them. If the market demands it, then the trend must be followed, and this is a wonderful example of companies doing so regardless of subsidies. We appreciate that AS “Balticovo” is also collaborating with local farmers, because only together can we strengthen the regions”.
Āris Vilšķērsts, Executive Director of the Madona County Council, says that the municipality is very positively inclined towards this free-range holding: “We are happy to have this biological contribution based right here in Madona, bringing investments to our county where chickens can now enjoy the local scenic fields and rustic expanses.”
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