Pen Breeding


This technique is primarily used when groups of turkey hens are housed together in pens. The inseminator and the catcher must move around the barn from pen to pen. The catcher picks up the hen from the ground and positions her so she is supported between his legs. The inseminator, who carries the semen doses, bends over to inseminate the hen as the catcher continues to hold her. Using this technique, a team of five people can inseminate around 800 turkeys per hour. Employees are exposed to three risks that can contribute to musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) when inseminating with this technique:

  • Repetition: both the catcher and the inseminator repeatedly bend over; the catcher to pick up turkeys and the inseminator to inseminate.
  • Awkward postures: the hens are free to walk around in their pen; putting the catcher in awkward positions.
  • Forceful exertion: after 2,400 inseminations, the catcher has lifted over 7.0 tons

In the turkey industry, MSDs are responsible for a considerable number of employee injuries and periods of sick leave. Therefore, improving staff welfare is a key concern for many managers in the industry. Using more ergonomic processes and techniques could greatly reduce the number and severity of MSD cases.
The use of an AI chair in conjunction with a pit or ramp are two techniques which have been implemented on some turkey farms to improve employees’ working conditions.