Butterfly Feeder: The Philippe Plouzen Story


Philippe Plouzen is the inspirational inventor of the Butterfly Feeder and a co-founder of Butterfly Concepts. His early experiences in poultry production plus his willingness to question established practices that seemed to be clearly anti-productive, provided him inspiration for a better feeding system founded on real world bird behavior.

Philippe was born and raised on a farm in northwest France where he and his father raised vegetables. In 1982 he started growing chickens. Because he did everything himself, he constantly sought out ways to reduce labor while at the same time improve bird performance, lower operating costs and increase revenue. This hands-on involvement gave Philippe the insights that led him to develop the Butterfly “Tray Type” feeder, a feeder concept that addresses and solves specific problems associated with round “pan type” feeding systems.

Philippe was one of the first broiler growers in Europe to switch from using bell type drinkers to an enclosed nipple type watering system. This opened his eyes to how an equipment change could save labor and improve poultry performance. When he built four new broiler houses in the early ‘90s he also added the latest innovations in lighting and ventilation, which further improved bird performance while lowering energy costs.

Bird feeders, however, had not changed significantly since the 1960’s and Philippe saw room for significant improvement. The first thing he noticed is that day-olds had a very difficult time getting feed. The lip of the pan was too high so birds had to jump up and into the pans. He also noticed that when the birds reached a certain size they used the pan as a bed and a toilet — not a very hygienic situation. He noticed that in the first 10 days about 10 percent of the birds were in the pans at any given time, taking away at least half of the feeding space. Even worse, for far too many birds the pans became a death trap — they could get in but not back out and ended up dying in the pan. He also thought about the time-consuming process of cleaning the pans between production cycles.

There had to be a better way, so Philippe started thinking about developing a feeder that would address these problems and eventually came up with the revolutionary concept of the Butterfly Feeder. He prototyped and installed four different versions before producing a final design that Butterfly Concepts LLC has been manufacturing and marketing primarily in Europe since 2009.

Broiler producers who have switched to Butterfly Feeders have noticed that their birds get off to a very good start. Many claim that the birds are at least one day ahead at Day 10, and that weight, feed conversion, mortality and grade-out at depletion are all better.

With plenty of hands-on experience, combined with an inquiring, inventive mind, Philippe was certainly the right person to come up with better feeding equipment. He focused on developing a feeder based on his observations of how birds actually behave, and this is what we have found to be key in creating new products that truly help promote bird welfare and maximize performance.