The Baktalórántháza Farm, operated by Master Good in Hungary’s northeast, is run by the Bárány family, who have been breeding chickens for more than 100 years.
Using state-of-the-art technology and design, the farm puts efficiency, environmental protection and animal welfare at its heart. Chickens are kept in environmentally controlled buildings with lots of natural light, pelleted straw and wooden perches, which together provide an environment that is beneficial to the birds.
The farm is a great example of embedding education into the program. It provides excellent staff facilities and comprehensive training on the health, welfare and management of chickens.
Animal health and welfare
The farm’s 2015 Key Welfare Indicators (KWIs) were excellent, and a clear demonstration that the focus on management, technology and innovation is having a positive impact. These are fundamental elements to monitoring, managing and advancing bird health and welfare while underpinning and improving the farm’s economic performance.
The chickens are housed in environmentally controlled buildings and are provided with environmental enrichment. Within the buildings there are excellent natural light levels from windows running the length of the sheds. The birds are also provided with additional enrichment in the form of metal platforms, wooden perches, bags of pelletized straw, cardboard boxes and hemp strings hung from the feed lines. These enrichments are important for increasing bird activity and helping enable the birds to exhibit and perform their natural behaviors.
Straw pellets are used as the litter material; the main benefit being that it has a higher moisture absorbency capacity than wood shavings or any other litter material. This was an important factor in helping to achieve the excellent KWIs, such as no incidence of pododermatitis or hock burn. The straw for the pellets is sourced from local farms, which are growing some of the cereals used in the poultry feed. The straw is chopped, cleaned, heat-treated and pelletized to create a safe, sterilized product.
Human rights and well-being
The business has invested in excellent staff facilities on site and provides comprehensive training on topics such as bird health, welfare and management. This has helped staff acquire new skills and increases their contribution to the business. Investing in staff and their training keeps them motivated and aids employee retention.
The used litter is removed from the farm and taken to a company-owned facility that processes it through a composting system over a two-week period. The finished product is then heat-treated, dried and pelletized, before being sold as an organic fertilizer to the farms supplying the business with cereals and straw.
The broiler houses are heated using modern gas heaters. The emissions from these systems are released outside the building through an exhaust system that pre-heats the incoming air, reducing gas use by an average of 5%. Environmental conditions within the building are also improved, as the moisture is directed outside the building.
Learn more about Péter and László Bárány’s story
Explore the case study, where you’ll find extra details on how they’ve performed against the program’s good practice standards and criteria, what external research reveals about their actions and how improved sustainability benefits them.
“It is a great honor to be selected to be part of the McDonald’s Flagship Farmers Program. Our whole team has worked very hard to establish Baktalórántháza and have made extra efforts to achieve this status – it makes us all very proud. With this project we wanted to show that we can fulfill the expectations of our customers and industry on issues of biosecurity, animal welfare and health without compromising on environmentally friendly production and economic viability. This was the vision when we started the design of this farm and has been our target from the beginning. It has taken a lot of work, but it has been worth it, because it provides something we can all learn a lot from in the future.”
“Master Good Baktalórántháza is an excellent example of a farm where management, mechanization and use of technology can reduce environmental impact, increase welfare and produce an excellent quality product. Management recognizes that investing time and resources in employees means motivated staff who take pride in their work and show concern for the animals in their care. Innovation in sourcing and processing waste products has brought important factors of the production cycle under the farm’s control. A modern, innovative approach and progressive, practical farming are what make Baktalórántháza a McDonald’s Flagship Farmer.”