Layers
As Canadian egg producers move towards alternative housing, they will need to prepare for new challenges. In Switzerland, where battery-caged production was banned outright in 1992, a group of researchers works to address those challenges, including nest box behaviour, piling and smothering issues, depopulation, ranging behaviour and keel bone damage. 
The laying hen industry in Canada is at the beginning of a 20-year transition. Following the lead of worldwide efforts to improve laying hen welfare, in February 2016 the Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) announced that a move away from conventional egg production to alternative production methods would begin.
More poultry producers are switching to LED lights in their layer barns for the power savings, versatility, durability and brightness they offer in comparison to all other options. Lighting is important in broiler, turkey, pullet and layer production, but especially important in egg production these days because of the new…
Across the country, egg producers looking to comply with the phase-out of conventional layer housing are facing a big decision of whether to invest in aviary or enriched housing. For many producers, the choice is challenging: not only do both systems provide management benefits and drawbacks, the single most critical…
While the vast majority of Canadian egg producers still use conventional housing, some have had enriched colony or free-run housing systems in place for several years. These farmers have, therefore, had the time to get to know these systems and learn how to best manage flocks within them.
Nesting behaviour in laying hens is complex, and according to poultry scientists such as Dr. Michelle Hunniford of the department of animal biosciences at the University of Guelph in Ontario, there’s a lot left to discover.
Consumers pressure restaurants and food companies to make the practice mandatory, but who will pay the extra costs?A steady stream of restaurant and food companies proclaim intentions to use eggs only from free-run operations in the future, but egg producers wonder who is willing to pay the cost of more…
Conventional cage laying barns have always been dusty, notes Harry Huffman, an agricultural engineer based in London, Ont. “Thus, I would assume the new floor and aviary style of housing systems will continue to be dusty as well.” Huffman notes that the more important ventilation design parameters in a layer…
Sustainability, in the broadest sense, simply refers to maintaining the conditions necessary to our well-being. This clearly includes a healthy environment – for example, clean air, clean water, fertile soil and a stable climate. It also includes healthy societies and communities, in which we have opportunities to pursue what we…
Sustainability is not a buzzword in farming. It’s a day-to-day reality. If you don’t sustain the soil and greater environment on a farm, you won’t have a future. And if you don’t efficiently use – and maybe re-use – energy, water and other resources, you won’t sustain your farm business…
Although it has improved over the years due to the availability of better genetics and better diets, eggshell quality remains a concern. “When you look at the Canadian market information tables for Canadian egg production in 2017 (from Egg Farmers of Canada), approximately seven per cent of all eggs were…
As the Canadian egg industry phases out conventional cages, most farmers will decide to install free-run or enriched cage housing. For its part, poultry housing maker Big Dutchman is presently seeing a 50/50 split on its Canadian sales of the two housing types, but sales lead Ron Wardrop says he’s recently…
The updated National Farm Animal Care Council code of practice for laying hens contains many specifications for foraging, perches and nests – enrichments that allow the hens to engage in natural behaviours. These enhancements vary to some degree among housing providers. Here’s what some of them offer and why.
Feather pecking is not an act of aggression but repetitive pecking that is thought to be a result of stress, according to Dr. Krysta Morrissey, a postdoctoral researcher with the department of animal biosciences at the University of Guelph. “It can cause pain and injury and is an animal welfare…
On page 3, we profiled three Canadian egg producers who made the transition from conventional to new housing systems. Glen Jennings of Nova Scotia transitioned to an enriched cage system, Charles-Éric Bouchard converted to a free-run system and Scott Janzen of British Columbia chose a free-range system. Here are their…
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Wed Dec 12, 2018

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