Claim bigger hen house will cut smell

A Roxburgh poultry farm's plans to expand and modernise its operation will improve bird health and cut flies and odour, its owner says.

The Central Otago District Council's hearings panel yesterday discussed a resource consent application by Central Gold Eggs Ltd to build a new laying shed on its 1.8ha site on Roxburgh East Rd.

Its current shed holds 12,000 hens.

The company proposed to replace this with a new structure up to 1056sq m in size.

It would house up to 20,000 cage hens and incorporate Colony welfare systems, legally required by 2022.

Owners Stuart and Karen McKerchar also have about 5000 free range hens at another Teviot Valley site.

All affected neighbours approved of the plan in writing, but Carl Feinerman, whose property lies east of the site, later opposed it in a written submission. More chickens would likely mean an increase in flies and odour, he said.

Mr McKerchar said the new shed's drying system would get rid of manure smells which would decrease fly numbers, rather than increase them.

"We'll be putting in quality air and putting quality air back out.''

This would also improve the welfare of the hens, he said.

"The best bird health makes me money through production.''

The shed previously used for laying would be upgraded and used for rearing.

The company employs 12 people.

Its expansion could create four or five new jobs, but it was hard to estimate, as current part-time staff would first be offered more hours, he said.

Council planning consultant David Whitney recommended consent be granted with 15 conditions. Resource consent is required as the site is located 900m from Roxburgh, whereas the district plan requires intensive farming to be at least 2km from urban areas.

A decision will be made within 15 working days.

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