Julie's Happy Hens

Customer Testimonials - Julie's Happy Hens

Challenge - Versatile building for new poultry farming technique
Solution - Hercules Truss Arch Building
Size - 56' wide x 144' long
Application - Poultry farming
Location - Mont Vernon, N.H.

Located in Mont Vernon, New Hampshire, Julie's Happy Hens is the largest pasture-raised table egg producer in the state. Julie Whitcomb started the operation from scratch seven years ago, and now the farm is producing 2,000 eggs a day, which are sold to restaurants and grocery stores. Wanting to take their operation to the next level, Julie and her husband Matt Gelbwaks started with a European design and adapted the model for the New England weather, and Matt took on the roles of chief architect and project manager for the operation, leading the effort in the new building search.

Gelbwaks brought his innovative ideas to the table along with specific needs for this new building. He said, "We were building a prototype for a revolutionary approach to poultry farming table eggs. We needed a translucent structure with sufficient volume inside to eliminate the pitfalls of traditional poultry farming high dust and particulates in the air, as well as retained ammonia gases." Gelbwaks researched and consulted with various universities and cooperative extension experts in the area for 18 months before looking at possible structural options. After combing the market for fabric buildings, Gelbwaks found that there were many options, but the farm had previously purchased two smaller FarmTek structures that they were happy with. Gelbwaks said, "Our previous experience with the company, combined with great financing options, made ClearSpan the clear choice." Julie's Happy Hens went on to purchase a 56' wide by 144' long custom engineered ClearSpan Hercules Truss Arch building.

Julie's Happy Hens' building is fully functionally and houses 3,000 birds, as well as an egg processing facility. Gelbwaks said, "We are tremendously pleased with the building. Every time I walk into the structure I feel happy and peaceful, and so do our birds. The natural light and airiness of the building is incredible." He continued, "The ClearSpan fabric building gives us everything that we need. It gives us the square footage at a reasonable cost. It gives us translucency to maximize light diffusion, and it gives us volume for air handling and cycling."

Matt and Julie think their ClearSpan building will create a prototype for poultry farms across the country, because of the building's unique features. Gelbwaks said, "Traditional poultry barns are low and dark, minimizing structure and maximizing bird densities. The forced laying cycles stresses the birds and the heavy density creates health issues." Gelbwaks continued, "When we started designing the poultry facility, we knew we needed something that would transmit light, but not too much heat. We aim to create an environment for the birds that mimics their natural cycle, but is optimized for the daylight cycles in the summer rather than the winter."

Gelbwaks enjoyed working with ClearSpan on the project. He said, "Since this was such a new and innovative project the company we chose to work with was important. ClearSpan's sales and engineering teams made me feel comfortable throughout the design process, and provided me with support after installation."

Julie's Happy Hens

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