As the new poultry industry development specialist at Manitoba Agriculture, Amy Johnston came to her position with both strong first-hand livestock experience and an in-depth knowledge of production through the eyes of a nutritionist.
Although Stephanie Nelson puts in long hours every day in a boardroom, this farm girl will always be most comfortable in jeans and boots, talking broiler breeder production with farmers.
There’s no better way to learn than getting your hands dirty… something Alberta turkey and broiler producers, Marc and Hinke Therrien know all too well. Being adaptable and learning on the job has played a major role in the young couple’s success.
After decades as a highly respected researcher, teacher and mentor, monogastric nutritionist Derrick Anderson has developed an eye for talent. He sees something special in Dalhousie University researcher Stephanie Collins. “I think she’s one of the rising stars in Canadian poultry,” he says of the young scientist. “She’s the next generation of nutritionist.”
The son and nephew of Quebec’s first organic egg producers, David Lefebvre had plenty of unique experiences growing up. One of his fondest memories is gathering eggs with his family on weekends. It was no easy task.
Born and raised on Sunrise Colony, Michael Hofer grew up in the crop fields outside of Etzikom, a small hamlet in the southeast corner of Alberta. Many of his early days were spent picking rocks, seeding, spraying, harvesting and learning the ins and outs of farming alongside his father. And while the colony’s farming operations provided no shortage of work for a young boy, they also provided many opportunities.
Lilydale, one of Canada's leading poultry brands is celebrating an important milestone. Lilydale is amongst Canada's most remarkable business success stories with innovative products such as fully cooked, ready to eat carved poultry or Ancient Grains breaded turkey strips.It's early 1940s and a group of Alberta farmers join together to create a co-operative. At first, the co-operative focuses on eggs but in 1941, the group acquires a processing plant and becomes known as Alberta Poultry Producers Limited. The plant processes both eggs and poultry.Over the years, the Alberta Poultry Producers Limited business grows and the organization expands its production capabilities in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. The name Lilydale first appears in 1976 when the group becomes known as Lilydale Co-operative Limited. In 2005, the company renames itself Lilydale Inc. and in 2012 is acquired by Sofina Foods Inc."Lilydale has become and remains one of Canada's favourite fresh and further processed poultry product manufacturers because of the dedication, passion and hard work of all the employees, past and present, who tirelessly worked to grow its presence and provide high quality and delicious poultry products," said Wendy Harris, director, marketing for the Lilydale brand at Sofina Foods Inc."Giving back to the communities is an integral part of our company's values. With the support of the Sofina Foundation, our employees volunteered their time at the Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern Alberta to clean, paint and redesign the kitchen which was not meeting the needs of the families that this charity serves. In addition, each year, our employees participate in our Dream Builders' Campaign aiming at collecting funds for local children's charities. During the 2017 festive season, over 10,000 families were able to enjoy a turkey dinner through our support of various charities and shelters across the country," added Harris.To mark this special anniversary year, Lilydale revamped its website (www.lilydale.com) and packaging, and is launching several initiatives including a contest: "75 Years, 75 Winners." The contest opened June 4th in key markets in Canada and closes August 5th.
AGCO Corporation, a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agriculture equipment and solutions, will begin manufacturing Farmer Automatic egg production equipment in North America to better serve its largest market for these products. The decision also supports Canadian producers transitioning to new Code of Practice standards for the care, welfare and handling of their flocks.Farmer Automatic’s enriched colony housing and aviary systems will be produced at AGCO’s plant in Bremen, Alabama beginning later this year. The first products will be shipped from that facility in January 2019, with normal distribution to be maintained during the transition.“Manufacturing in North America is a long-term investment providing enhanced service and support for North American egg producers and a signal to the market that Farmer Automatic will continue to deliver high quality and innovation for years to come,” said Scott Becker, director of North America Commercial Egg for Cumberland Poultry, AGCO’s poultry production equipment brand.The state-of-the-art Bremen plant manufactures a broad range of Cumberland products used in poultry production facilities, including fans, heaters, tunnel doors, broiler nesting systems, power curtain machinery and environmental controls.Becker said establishing production in North America provides several important benefits to Farmer Automatic customers, including reduced shipping time, faster response to meet their needs, currency advantages and a full-system solution enabling producers to access the breadth of Cumberland’s product offerings.Farmer Automatic products were previously manufactured in Laer, Germany. Design and engineering functions will remain in Germany with the creation of the Farmer Automatic Engineering Innovation Center in the area later this year.Supporting new guidelinesFarmer Automatic systems currently meet new guidelines in the Canada Code of Practice introduced last year requiring all laying hens to be housed in enriched or cage-free systems by July 1, 2036.“Our Canadian dealer, Clark Ag Systems, works closely with its customers to ensure their systems have enough space, feed, water, nest area and scratch surface to meet the Code of Practice requirements for their production method,” Becker said.The Eco II System from Farmer Automatic provides all of the required enrichments and easy access to the flock with its large access doors. Farmer Automatic’s Combi II provides a solution for customers who may transition from enriched to cage-free in the future. The Combi II can be operated as both an Enriched Colony System with the doors closed or as a Cage-Free Aviary System with the door open.For those producers ready to transition to cage-free production today, the Loggia system offers excellent access to the flock, nests and egg belts with walkable floors and low system heights for easy inspection and management. The slight slope of the floor allows system eggs to roll onto the egg belt. The Loggia line was recently expanded to include the new Loggia 3 Plus, providing additional living space with a third tier allowing for greater bird density in many operations.Pullet rearing is easier with the Combi Pullet, capable of preparing birds to be housed in either enriched and/or aviary systems in the future. Multiple floor mesh sizes for the lower tier allow producers to tailor the system to their operation, and additional half levels create more space for greater stocking densities.Farmer Automatic systems can be installed in new egg production facilities or retrofitted to existing operations. For additional information, producers can contact Clark Ag Systems or visit www.farmerautomatic-inc.com.
Bayer is pleased to announce it has partnered with The Do More Agriculture Foundation – a not-for-profit organization focused on raising awareness and promoting mental well-being for farmers in Canada.As part of the partnership, Bayer's Crop Science division has contributed $20,000 to the Foundation to support its mission of providing support and resources to farmers seeking mental health assistance.The need to support Canadian farmers' mental well-being has never been greater. According to a study from the University of Guelph, more than a third of Canadian producers are experiencing depression and over half experience anxiety. However, the stigma associated with mental health issues remains a significant barrier for those that need help.Forty per cent of Canadian producers reported they would feel uneasy about seeing professional help due to what other people may think."We believe that through this partnership we can help increase awareness of mental health issues and break the stigma that currently exists in the agriculture industry," said Al Driver, Bayer Crop Science Canada's president and CEO. "We see first-hand the challenges that farmers face and encourage them to access these resources to manage their well-being."The Do More Ag Foundation are champions for the mental well-being of Canadian producers and are focused on changing the culture of agriculture to one where producers are encouraged, supported and empowered to take care of themselves. This will be achieved by creating awareness, building community and supporting research."We are so appreciative to Bayer for supporting Do More Ag and Canadian producers. The support from Bayer will allow The Do More Agriculture Foundation to move forward with larger initiatives that will be able to support more producers across Canada," said Kim Keller, co-founder of the Foundation. "This will create more awareness around mental health and build more capacity within communities across Canada to be able to support community members who may be facing mental health challenges."With support from Bayer, Do More Ag will continue the conversation about mental well-being in an accessible way for producers, while breaking the stigma associated with mental health. It will encourage producers to talk about mental health within their operations, families and communities, with the hope of changing the culture in agriculture to one where all producers feel encouraged and supported to take care of their mental well-being.For more information about The Do More Agriculture Foundation, please visit www.domore.ag.
Owners Jeff and Joleen Bisschop produce Country Golden Yolks brand eggs with four other Fraser Valley farms, including organic (7,400 hens) and free-range (27,000 hens), with a pullet barn and egg packing on site.
Actium’s Compost Drums are based on a robust, simple design that is easy to operate and reliable. Our rotating insulated drums helps the composting “bugs” break down organic matter faster. Composting poultry mortalities creates a clean, pathogen and odor free compost. All that is required is a sufficient amount of a dry carbon source such as dry sawdust to be added to the drum with the mortalities. Contact us for more information! www.compostdrum.com (519) 527-2525Video produced at the 2018 National Poutlry Show by Canadian Poultry magazine.
Alltech presented the 35th Alltech Student Research Manuscript Award to Cristiano Bortoluzzi, a doctoral student at the University of Georgia, during the 107th annual Poultry Science Association (PSA) meeting, held in San Antonio, Texas, on July 23 to 26. This award is given to a student who is the senior author of an outstanding research manuscript in Poultry Science or The Journal of Applied Poultry Research, and only students awarded Certificates of Excellence for research presentations at an annual PSA meeting can compete.Bortoluzzi’s winning paper — entitled “Sodium butyrate improved performance while modulating the cecal microbiota and regulating the expression of intestinal immune-related genes of broiler chickens” — evaluated the effect of sodium butyrate (SB) on performance, expression of immune-related genes in the cecal tonsils, and cecal microbiota of broiler chickens when dietary energy and amino acids concentrations were reduced. The paper results confirmed that SB had positive effects on the productive performance of broilers fed nutritionally reduced diets, partially by modulating the cecal microbiota and exerting immune modulatory effects."Alltech is proud to sponsor this award, as innovation is the core of our business," said Dr. Kayla Price, poultry technical manager for Alltech Canada. “We support advancements in the poultry industry and encourage students to publish their research and communicate their discoveries, which can positively influence the future of poultry production."Cristiano Bortoluzzi is a doctor of veterinary medicine and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the department of poultry science at the University of Georgia. He grew up on a farm in southern Brazil with dairy cows, pigs and poultry, so his passion for animal production started when he was young and has influenced his career path.Bortoluzzi completed several internships in his first year of vet school and found that poultry nutrition and health interested him the most. Throughout his studies, he was actively involved in research trials, attended scientific meetings and learned about the intestinal health/immune system of broilers and the importance of nutrition.While working toward his master’s degree, he spent three months working with the United States Department of Agriculture/Agriculture Research Service (USDA/ARS) in Indiana. In January 2015, he started his Ph.D. in animal science at Purdue University, later moving to the University of Georgia. Bortoluzzi has published 18 papers and will finish his Ph.D. in the fall. He is looking forward to working in and contributing his expertise to the poultry industry.Alltech has sponsored the Alltech Student Research Manuscript Award since 2000, recognizing young leaders in scientific innovation for their commitment to publishing and sharing their work within the poultry sector.
Research has shown that the consumption of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids provides a myriad of health benefits, including lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and death.Yet, few Americans are consuming enough of this vital nutrient to reap those benefits, a deficiency researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences hope to change by fortifying foods people frequently eat — eggs and chicken — with the heart healthy long-chain omega-3 fatty acids."With the incidence of obesity, heart disease and insulin resistance increasing toward epidemic proportions in the United States, people must make changes to improve their health," said Kevin Harvatine, associate professor of nutritional physiology in the Department of Animal Science."Production of nutritionally enriched eggs and poultry meat will help consumers meet health goals and help egg and poultry producers to increase the value of their products."Harvatine and Robert Elkin, professor of avian nutritional biochemistry, have collaborated in this research area since 2011, conducting numerous studies at the Penn State Poultry Education and Research Center with both laying hens and broiler (meat-type) chickens. Elkin has expertise in poultry nutrition and a long history of work aimed at modifying egg cholesterol content, while Harvatine has expertise in lipid (fat) nutrition and metabolism in dairy cattle.The researchers explained that alpha-linolenic acid is an 18-carbon omega-3 fatty acid found in flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans, nut oils and leafy vegetables. It is one of two essential fatty acids that the human body cannot produce on its own but is vital for cardiovascular, cognitive and immune system health. It also is touted for its anti-inflammatory properties.The other essential fatty acid, linoleic acid, is an 18-carbon omega-6 fatty acid commonly found in corn, many vegetable oils, and a wide variety of snacks and fast foods. While omega-6 fatty acids can be beneficial, consuming too much — which many people do — is not good because it promotes inflammation, Elkin pointed out.In addition, linoleic and linolenic acids compete for the same set of enzymes in the liver that convert them into longer-chain derivatives, which have opposing functions in the inflammatory process. As a result, when the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids favors the former, fewer heart-healthy long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are produced by the liver and transported to tissues such as the brain and retina, where they have other important physiological functions.Harvatine said omega-3 needs vary, but, in general, healthy adults should set a target of about 250 milligrams per day of each of the two most important types: eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid — commonly referred to as EPA and DHA, respectively. For people with known heart disease, higher dietary intakes are recommended.EPA and DHA contain a greater number of carbon atoms and unsaturated double bonds, and because their consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, they are referred to as the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Foods rich in long-chain omega-3s include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring; however, few people eat two to three servings each week per American Heart Association recommendations."Some people don't like fish, can't eat it due to allergies, or simply can't afford it," Harvatine said. "Whatever the reason, most don't meet the requirement. And, if every person on the planet ate the number of fish needed to achieve omega-3 targets, there would be no fish left — it is just not sustainable."While over-the-counter supplements are available, the researchers believe it is better to reach omega-3 nutritional targets through food such as enriched poultry meat and eggs because, as Elkin noted, "it's perhaps a more effective way to reach a greater number of people who are concerned about health risks (methylmercury) associated with consumption of certain fish species, the sustainability and environmental effects of aquaculture, or simply prefer to not eat fish for a variety of reasons."Eggs find their way onto American plates with frequency. According to the American Egg Board, per capita consumption of eggs is about 267 a year, which works out to about five eggs per person per week. In addition, Americans consumed approximately 91 pounds of chicken per person in 2017, according to the National Chicken Council.Unlike typical nutritionally enhanced eggs found in grocery stores, Harvatine's and Elkin's goal is to create poultry products that are richer in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids but lower in omega-6 fatty acids. Although the chicken is able to convert the 18-carbon omega-3 fatty acid found in plants to the heart-healthy long-chain omega-3s, the process is very inefficient. Humans also have a very limited ability to convert linolenic acid to EPA and DHA.In a recent study published in Lipids, Elkin and Harvatine hypothesized that reducing the dietary level of linoleic acid (the 18-carbon omega-6 fatty acid) would promote greater conversion in the liver of linolenic acid to EPA and DHA, while supplementing the hens' diets with a high-oleic acid soybean oil would simultaneously further enrich eggs with oleic acid without influencing egg EPA and DHA contents.Oleic acid is the principal fatty acid found in olive oil, which is the main fat source in the Mediterranean diet, heralded as one of the healthiest diets for cardiovascular disease prevention.The researchers found that, as compared to controls, supplemental dietary flaxseed oil resulted in an enrichment of egg yolks with EPA and DHA, but simultaneously supplementing the hens’ diet with both flaxseed oil and high-oleic soybean oil maximally reduced the yolk deposition of linolenic acid, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, and total omega-3 fatty acids by 37 per cent, 15 per cent, and 32 per cent respectively.These results suggested that dietary oleic acid was not neutral with regard to the overall process by which dietary linolenic acid was absorbed, metabolized and deposited into egg yolk, either intact or in the form of longer chain/more unsaturated omega-3 fatty acid derivatives.Based on their knowledge of fatty acid metabolism, as well as triglyceride positional analyses of the experimental oils, Elkin and Harvatine hypothesized that oleic acid may simply have out-competed linolenic acid for absorption from the intestine, which ultimately would result in less omega-3 fatty acid enrichment of egg yolks.In addition to being the first study to report this, according to Elkin, the findings also have implications for human nutrition because the initial steps of intestinal fat digestion and absorption are similar in chickens and humans."It is possible that oils rich in oleic acid might hinder the body's ability to reap the full nutritional benefits of EPA and DHA if consumed along with fatty fish or omega-3 fatty acid supplements, such as fish oil capsules.""This also could be occurring in people consuming a Mediterranean diet, in which oleic acid-rich olive oil is the principal source of fat, and moderate to low amounts of fish are eaten," he added.Studies are underway to confirm this finding in laying hens with other oils that are rich in oleic acid, in order to demonstrate that it is an "oleic acid effect" and not an effect that is specific for high-oleic soybean oil only."The importance of this research to the (egg) industry is that we have learned of a potential new hindrance to enriching eggs with omega-3 fatty acids, and that information can be used when trying to develop the next generation of ‘designer’ eggs," Elkin said.Undergraduate student Alexandra Kukorowski, a Schreyer Honors Scholar, contributed to the research.The Pennsylvania Soybean Board and the Pennsylvania Poultry Industry Egg Research Check-Off Program supported this work.
Elijah Kiarie has a strong interest in the gut health of livestock, especially poultry and swine. He’s also passionate about teaching, mentoring students and delivering research that is meaningful to farmers. That combination along with a connection to renowned University of Guelph swine researcher Dr. Kees de Lange, brought Kiarie to Guelph in January 2016 as McIntosh Family professor in poultry nutrition.
January 19, 2018, Kelowna, B.C. – As a leading Canadian expert in sustainability, Dr. Nathan Pelletier has been awarded a prestigious Industrial Research Chair by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The award will advance Pelletier's research activities focused on sustainability measurement and management, life-cycle thinking and resource efficiency, with a focus on the Canadian egg industry.Pelletier has collaborated with Egg Farmers of Canada since 2016 as their Research Chair in Sustainability, exploring opportunities to improve resource efficiencies and reduce the environmental impact of egg supply chains."Food systems sustainability is a subject of increasing importance. Egg Farmers of Canada strives to promote innovation and the continuous improvement of egg production through the latest scientific research," Tim Lambert, CEO of Egg Farmers of Canada, said in a press release. "Dr. Pelletier's work helps us understand the link between environmental sustainability and egg production, while developing processes and technologies with environmental and social impacts in mind."Only a handful of researchers are awarded an Industrial Research Chair from NSERC each year, making it a great honour for Pelletier. NSERC's support will allow for Pelletier to grow his research program as the first-ever NSERC/Egg Farmers of Canada Industrial Research Chair in Sustainability."NSERC's Industrial Research Chair program provides for dynamic R&D collaborations between Canada's brain trust and partners. "We are proud to support this Chair, which is developing the knowledge and supporting innovation necessary to advance the success of the sector and improve the sustainability of that production," said Marc Fortin, VP, Research Partnerships at NSERC. "The results this team will deliver could have broad benefits across Canada."Local MP Stephen Fuhr also wanted to highlight the significance of the partnership and the good work coming out of UBC Okanagan, saying, "Food systems and sustainability are two topics that are very important to our government. We know that partnerships like the one between UBC Okanagan's Dr. Nathan Pelletier and Egg Farmers of Canada, supported by organizations like NSERC, lead to discoveries that benefit all Canadians"."Pelletier is an assistant professor at UBC's Okanagan campus, working in both the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences and the campus' Faculty of Management. He has spent roughly a decade researching the science of sustainability, with a focus on food systems."I am passionate about the development of food systems that are environmentally sustainable, economically viable and that contribute to our health and well-being," Pelletier said. "Achieving this in modern food systems requires considering food supply chains in their entirety, from the beginning of production to the consumer's end use of a product – in other words, a truly holistic evaluation of sustainability risks and opportunities.""We are very proud that Dr. Pelletier is doing his innovative work at UBC Okanagan," Phil Barker, Vice-Principal and Associate Vice-President, Research at UBC's Okanagan campus, said. "His insights on sustainability and agriculture are benefiting industry, our community and the environment. This cutting edge and relevant research will have direct impacts on our region and also on global production methods. "Dr. Pelletier's work is a wonderful example of the outstanding and impactful research performed at UBC's Okanagan campus."
The Five Freedoms of animal welfare outline five areas of handling and care that have guided animal husbandry since their formalization in 1979. They were first written to include: the freedom from hunger or thirst; discomfort; pain, injury or disease; the freedom to express normal behaviour; and freedom from fear or distress.
Dr. Gregoy Bédécarrats, professor at the University of Guelph, Canada is the 2017 Novus Outstanding Teaching Award recipient. A successful academic career, innovative research and his dedication to encouraging the next generation of poultry scientists make Novus proud to honor Bédécarrats.Part of Novus’s goal to help cultivate sustainable animal agriculture is the encouragement of young people to succeed in the industry. Each year, Novus honors those who exhibit excellence in research, teaching and their contributions to poultry science at the Poultry Science Association annual meeting.“Receiving the Novus Teaching award at this year’s PSA meeting is a true honor. From being a student myself to my academic appointment, I had the opportunity to meet exceptional people who helped carve my teaching style, serve as mentors and be inspirational,” said Bédécarrats.He got his start in poultry science as a master’s student at the University of Rennes, France where he studied the effect of prolactin on incubation behavior in turkey hens. He continued his studies in poultry science pursuing his doctorate at McGill University. After three years of a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard Medical School, Bédécarrats joined the department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph. He points to a great support system and industry partnership when reflecting on his success.“In particular, this achievement would not have been possible without the help of late Professor John Walton (University of Guelph) who made me understand the value of engagement in undergraduate teaching, and Dr. Donald McQueen Shaver who helped me connect the dots between research, education and the poultry industry. Constant engagement and exchange between these three pillars is key to success and, thanks to the support of Novus International, this is a reality for many students and industry partners,” said Bédécarrats.In addition to his research pursuits, Bédécarrats is also actively involved in undergraduate teaching and curriculum development, review and improvement. Bédécarrats works with both graduate and undergraduate students and does his best to support their interests and future endeavors. Bédécarrats encourages students, at any level, to attend at least one international science meeting per year, present their work often and get published as much as possible. “Dr. B is the best professor ever. He explains content clearly and with a sense of humor that actually helps a lot of us understand the complicated concepts and makes sure you know what’s important for your future work,” one student posted online. Most of Bédécarrats’ students have moved on to higher education and many have advanced into significant positions in the livestock industry. Bédécarrats is also the co-creator of the University of Guelph Poultry Club, which is an organization developed to expose students to the poultry studies and promote interactions within the industry.Bédécarrats is also passionate about improving reproductive efficiency in poultry and finding a better balance between production parameters, health, animal welfare and the environment. One of Dr. Bédécarrats’ biggest accomplishments has been the development of an innovative LED, known as AgriLux™, based on the discovery that different lighting sources had different effects on laying hens and that chickens find the red spectrum more favorable. This product intends to increase egg production in hens using the light without increasing their feed consumption, as a helpful tool for producers.Bédécarrats has proven to be an innovator in research and teaching and will continue to push himself and his students to make advancements in the field.“Above all, my utmost gratitude goes to my wife and children who have sacrificed countless hours of family time while I pursue my dream and goals,” said Bédécarrats.
May We Ever Be Finished? Come What May!!!Since I last wrote, we were deeply entrenched in the construction of the Farmer Automatic Enriched Colony Housing for our next flock of pullets that will arrive later this month.All of the kids helped with the housing at some point, but my son John put in the most hours. He has an eye for quality and spots if something was put together incorrectly. This can be anything from a missing perch cap to misaligned waterlines.The feed trough clips, troughing sections, feed chain and feed pans at the ends all had to be assembled in a systematic order.In addition to the various local neighbourhood young people we had working for us, we decided to take the advice of Clark Ag Systems and get a work crew of men from London to accelerate the building process. These fellows are experienced in putting hen housing together and had worked with the lead, Dennis before.Nicole, Charlotte and I worked as a team putting the housing doors together, and then installing them on the top two levels.We made this an enjoyable task by taking turns with who got to be on the scaffold installing them, and the person on the floor fetching doors and pushing the two on the scaffold. View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/index.php?option=com_k2&Itemid=73&lang=en&layout=latest&view=latest#sigProGalleria5243f7b419 Our barn has three rows of the enriched colony housing and is four levels high. We have space to put in one more row in the future.Each side of each row must be “levelled” by adjusting the legs under each housing door. Ben worked on getting one side levelled, and Philip has had to do a lot of the rest of the rows.This job is one of the more undesirable things to do. You have to be on your knees a lot and working just under the housing with an impact drill with a torque bit, wrenches and crowbar. A laser level is a great aid in doing this task.The wire sections to cover up the top rows had to be installed and fastened securely with plastic zip ties.More work on the manure ends, manure belts and egg elevators and conveyor was done as well.The manure belts took 40 minutes to pull with the aid someone guiding them through by pulling a rope to the front and then mechanically pulled to the back with a motor.Nick worked on making the opening for the conveyor that bring eggs into the pack room and a window for us to have a good view for monitoring the progression of the eggs when they advance into the packing room.He enjoyed the company of anyone who would assist him (let’s be real, the guy likes having someone fetch things for him---right Charlotte and John!).Preliminary work on the encasement for the scissor lift and was completed, and we expect to have in-floor heating installed this week and concrete floors poured in the ante room and egg packing room.During most of April and May, the electricians have been doing the many electrical tasks to make the barn functional and safe. Our last build was many years ago and the rules, rates and safety measures needed to comply for electricians are many and inflated since that time.I have never watched the weather so closely as I did this past winter and spring. The cold temperatures, snowfall, rain and wind all affect the particular task you are doing in or outside of the barn.As spring seems to have finally arrived, getting on the land adds to the pressure to get the barn completed.As a family, we have always wanted to have an open house to egg-ucate people about the direction that egg farming is going.By 2035, conventional housing has been banned and all egg farmers must have progressed to another form of housing...be it the colony enriched, free run or free range.We look forward to hosting the Open House together with Clark Ag Systems on Friday May 11. If my time permits and interest is expressed, Egg Farmerette might be persuaded to write another blog posting after our hens are settled, laying and happily clucking in their new habitat.CLICK HERE to read more about Cindy's experience transitioning from a conventional to an enriched layer barn.
At end of February, we had just surpassed what proved to be a big stumbling block and holdup for us...the big pour of the concrete floor.After letting the concrete floor cure for almost a week, the pads were poured.We decided to put cement pads under each row of hen housing and these were one-and-a-half inches in depth on the edges and two inches in the middle. This is to make it easier when the barn is cleaned each year so that the water runs away from under the housing. Also, floor drains were put in place on the far end of the barn.A few days of curing occurred for the pads, and we were eager to get the construction of the Farmer Automatic Enriched Housing started.We had a couple different work stations—constructing frames, assembling plastic housing doors, and all of the webbing inside the frames was put together.We have lead man, Dennis and another employee, Josh from Clark Ag Systems.Nick has been the general contractor for the building of the barn and has good knowledge of the conventional housing that is in our present barn. He has been an asset with his experience. We also have the rest of the family to help when available and some other workers.The construction of the housing is a huge job and there are many layers to the process. Frames are constructed and assembled with vertical braces that end up being the skeleton of the row. The dividers between each colony are put place and the floor clips and perch holders.The wires for the cage doors, middle divider, and thicker cage floor support wire are fitted out next. Our nephew Jason was wired for these tasks. We decided to use stainless steel wire instead of the galvanized that was supplied, as Nick found that this was a weak area in our present conventional housing.The cage floors, white PVC perches, white PVC waterlines, water cups, re-plastic scratch pads, and nesting boxes with curtains are installed a systematic order. I nicknamed our daughter Stephanie, “Scratch Pad Steffy” as she efficiently put in all the red plastic scratch pads in the first and second levels of rows one and two.Farmerette can proudly say that she put all the perches in for the first and second levels, with some help from daughter Stephanie and Jake, and glued the joints and caps for the ends. I prefer to leave the third and fourth level work to others!We were able to get lots of work done on the Saturday and Easter Monday with it being a school holiday.I hung red nest curtains around the next boxes. There are four nest boxes back-to-back as the nest areas have no lights. The hens prefer to lay their eggs in a dark, sheltered area. View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/index.php?option=com_k2&Itemid=73&lang=en&layout=latest&view=latest#sigProGalleria28185ca18e Manure ends are of course extremely important as the removal of manure keeps the air quality good for the hens and ourselves, keeps the eggs clean, and provides a good environment for the hens. The Clark guys handle these areas.Another area that is a little more complicated is the egg elevators that will take the eggs from the egg belts and transfer them to a conveyor that will go into the egg packing room.There were still a few skids of equipment outside and these would have to be brought in the barn when needed. Also, there is room in the barn for a fourth row of housing, but this is not being done now, and is there for any future growth of the egg business. This area has actually turned out to be very beneficial for storage and assembly of parts before they are installed on the housing.Construction of parts also occurs as many of these parts come in pieces that need to be put together. For example, the cage doors have a white plastic centre, then a red left and red right hinge that must be hammered in with a mallet. We need approximately 1,800 of these. Our daughters Nicole and Charlotte did many of these. I also put together the 24 egg belt rollers that go at the far end of the barn.We took black plastic waterline connectors to the house and put a clamp on each end in the evening with the TV to break up the monotony of the job. The warmth of the house made the plastic more pliable when putting the clamps on.March turned out to be a very busy month. We were relieved and happy to see the construction team finish off a back area beyond the main barn that is manure storage as they were here since November. Yippee!!!We have made it to Easter with the hen housing well underway and will hop into April being able to see the finish line for this stage of the process.CLICK HERE to read more about Cindy's experience transitioning from a conventional to an enriched layer barn.
February turned out to begin very cold, more snow and windy. Any work that could be done inside the new barn building was done when temperatures were not frigid. Some days were too cold to get any work done.Electrical lines for lights got installed on the ceiling and the baffle on the west side. Any work that had to be done on the ceiling or high areas had to be done before the scissor lift got picked up.The arrangement with the scissor lift was that you pay a weekly rate, and when you have it for three weeks, you get the fourth week free. This is what worked for us.From February 4 - 6, the insulation got put in the attic. The first day was very mild with the snow melting on the roof causing a steady stream of dripping off the steel roof. This job had two fellows who were experienced in insulating attics completing the work.We had two overhead doors to be installed – one for the cooler for Burnbrae Farms to do their weekly pick-up of eggs, and the other as a big entrance to the main barn when the birds arrive and then depart after 51 weeks.Timing for this had to be when the interior was completed so that the doors could be fastened to completed walls and ceiling.Again, working in a freezing temperature environment had to be avoided.Both doors got installed February 11 and finishing these up occurred the next weekend.For the entire month, we were anticipating getting the concrete for the floor poured. View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/index.php?option=com_k2&Itemid=73&lang=en&layout=latest&view=latest#sigProGalleria2000b1d26d I have never watched the weather forecast so diligently, and part of frustrating February was that we wanted the concrete floor to get poured.Nick chose a warmer stretch of weather later in the month to start using propane to run the heater to begin thawing the ground.Preparation work to level the floor for concrete took place on February 23 and continued early in the next week. The weather forecast had sun and mild temperatures for that week.Once again, loads of stone were brought in, a bobcat brought stone inside, and a roller flattened out the floor to make it level with the help of laser level that was set up on a tripod in the corner of the barn.February 28 brought a 13-degree day, and the concrete floor was finally poured.There were a dozen guys doing the pour, running the concrete pumping truck, and spreading and levelling the concrete.The first concrete truck came by 8:00 A.M. and the last truck load was done by 12-noon. A truck came every half hour. All of this activity brought curious neighbors to sneak a peek at all the action going on.The next couple days were filled with finishing the concrete with power trowels to give it a smooth finish.March came in like a lion on the 1st with a snowstorm in Haldimand County, about 15 centimeters of snow, and the first snow day for school kids.... so, we were glad that this big job was done.Cindy Egg FarmeretteCLICK HEREto read more about Cindy's experience transitioning from a conventional to an enriched layer barn.
My fifth blog starts off at the New Year.Christmas gives those of us in agriculture time to enjoy faith, family, friends and farm. As holiday festivities took over between Christmas and New Year’s, we had minimal time to make any progress.Many businesses have limited holiday hours, and employees take time away from their jobs, including our construction crew. It ended up being too cold to work anyway.But we continued to care for our hens 24/7. Our kids, Charlotte and John, returned home for the holidays and they helped out as well.Back to our new enriched housing project.Last April, we met with Harold Meadows of Clark Ag Systems. Together, we decided to go with the Farmer Automatic Enriched Colony Housing system for our new layer barn.At that time, you must decide on a date to have the equipment arrive at your farm.It comes from Laer, Germany packed in Maersk containers, travels by ship to Montreal, by rail car to Brampton, Ont. and then goes through customs. Finally, it arrives at your farm via transport truck.We had originally (optimistically and probably naively!) picked a delivery date in December, but later changed that to January 2nd.In November, we realized that we would not need the layer housing equipment until perhaps February and wanted to postpone the date.This was impossible. The company in Germany is very organized in filling the order and the container had already been loaded and was en route on the high seas.Rarely are they wrong about timing, unless Mother Nature interferes!We received one day’s grace and the first container arrived January 3rd.Of course, this turned out to be one of the deep freeze weeks, with temperatures plummeting below -18°C.Our loader tractor was first used to take each box, which sits on a pallet, to flatbed trailers that Nick had arranged to temporarily put the various packages on.The loader tractor was having trouble working, and we started using the “Gradall” machine that B. Jorna Construction had on site to move lumber, etc. for the construction tasks.The second container arrived in the late afternoon. View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/index.php?option=com_k2&Itemid=73&lang=en&layout=latest&view=latest#sigProGalleriacd5774338b Between loads, the Masterfeeds truck brought feed and Nick came in for a break. I told him he was talking funny and asked him what was the matter. He said, “My face is frozen!” A hot chocolate helped to warm him up so he could smile again.Charlotte and John cleared out what will be the new cooler in order to make a temporary holding place for all of the parts. This also gave the equipment a place to be protected from winter weather.The various skids then got moved on January 4th to the cooler area.The week of January 8th brought many visual advances: the Tile Red steel getting put on the east and west sides; insulation and white plastic was put on pack room walls; the scissor lift arrived to be used for high jobs; a vapour barrier was put on the barn ceiling below trusses and walls; and hurricane clips installed (did you know that each clip can withstand 1,100 pounds of uplift pressure?).Our daughter Nicole helped install them – at least eight nails each on the base of the barn, lots of squats and no blue fingers when she was done.During the rest of the month, insulation was placed on all walls, white vinyl planking was installed everywhere except the cooler and three to five lighting rows were installed.As I write this blog, the facia, soffit and some electrical are in the works.With insulation and walls of the large main barn almost completed, we moved all of the skids and boxes of housing equipment from the cooler to the back of said barn.This was done on a warm, sunny day before snow returned near the end of January. The cooler still needs to be insulated, and its walls finished.I repeat a previous comment that the animal care and egg gathering must still be carried out in the old barn.Additionally, yearend arrived and this brings extra bookwork. I got a good start on the last quarter at the beginning of December, but then had to finish in January. I also am keeping track of the new barn costs separately for our own records.I finished this on January 22nd and filed my HST rebate at 2:50 pm. This filing included the many barn build expenses thus far and was, of course, more work for me in a quarter than ever before. Our rebate was $17,000-plus higher than our usual filing with Revenue Canada.We were having afternoon break and at 3:20 a Canada Revenue HST office employee called to inquire about the large jump in our rebate filing.I explained what we were doing, and I believe initially he would have wanted me to forward some proof to him of our venture.However, I also told him about the coming changes in the egg industry with respect to the deletion of conventional housing by 2035.I told him he could read about what we were doing in my blog! He was very interested and was going to check it out. No further documentation was required of me. Yippee!So, with Jack Frost nipping at our noses, we hope February sees less of Old Man Winter – not holding my chilly breath!CLICK HERE to read more about Cindy's experience transitioning from a conventional to an enriched layer barn.
This is my fourth blog in regard to our journey from conventional housing to enriched housing.Of course, each week brought deadlines and we always had to keep an eye on the weather forecast. We were hampered once mid-December with lots of snow that stayed for a week, but that all disappeared until December 22.We completed the cooler and pack room concrete work and framed these areas. The vast size difference between the new barn and our present one is now obvious.The enriched colony system has a few unique features. First, there can be up to 35 hens in each living area. We will likely have around 30 due to our quota and leasing numbers, leaving us with room for future expansion.Second, the larger area allows for a few different things. The hens can roam about within their living quarters. There’s space for a curtained nesting area for privacy when the hen lays the egg. It also has two perches that run the entire length of all housing units and scratch pads to cater to a hen’s natural instincts.When explaining this system to consumers and urbanites, we tell them that this would be like you going from your average car to a limousine! Then and now Then and now The whole gang The whole gang Checking things out Checking things out View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/index.php?option=com_k2&Itemid=73&lang=en&layout=latest&view=latest#sigProGalleria203f4ea3c6 Because the space for the hens is so much larger, the barn is, thus, larger too.The barn needed more stone around it, and after we framed all the walls it was time for the trusses to go up.This occurred on December 12, and although it was not sunny, it was nicely above freezing and not cloudy or rainy.A crane operator from Vic Powell Welding proved to be an expert at moving the trusses and the main barn had three-quarters of them up before the workers’ lunch break.They did the remainder of the main barn quickly after lunch and then the smaller trusses for the cooler and pack room at the front.The shape of the barn structure was now easily visible to us, and I can better visualize what I will see from my kitchen window.Once all of the bracing was put in place, the steel went on the roof next. It took two days with no wind. All of the screws were put in place and the ridge cap was installed.We put particleboard on the front of the barn and installed the windows so that it was at least closed in for the winter weather over the Christmas holidays.In December, Nick sought more pricing and quotes. This included getting a price on a scissor lift for the packing room. This will be used in the pack room and will be level with the floor.That said it could be lowered below floor level to make it easier for taller people to place stacks of eggs. Nick is 6′1″ and I am 5′1 ½″ (sorry, but to me that extra half inch is important!) so this will come in handy.We wrestled a bit with whether we needed the scissor lift or not. In the end, this is a family egg business and we considered the next generation in making it more convenient to operate the packer.We know two other egg farmers in our immediate vicinity that want to order scissor lifts too.Therefore, we had a meeting at our place with a salesman from the Kitchener area to go over size and weight specifics, our needs and pressed for the best price with having a quantity of three in such close geographical proximity. This decision was still pending at blogging time.As the year-end approached, the deadline to pay invoices that came in came as well. We want to split the expenses between the two calendar years to spread this out for our tax situation.We’ll plod through and are aiming to have the entire barn insulated and concrete floor poured in January. Hopefully the weather cooperates!Till next time,Cindy Egg FarmeretteCLICK HERE to read more about Cindy's experience transitioning from a conventional to an enriched layer barn.
Blog number three follows what turned out to be a very busy November. I knew things were ramping up when I heard my husband Nick tell a salesman that he “wished there were two of him”.First, I think I should elaborate on why we chose to convert to an enriched colony system. We looked at free-run and free-range, but our gut is telling us that the consumer will still want to purchase the cheapest eggs available in grocery stores.Our son works at Food Basics and sees the specialty eggs passed over. Actually, they have to be shipped back as they are on the shelf to the expiry date.As a family, including our children (all of whom are in their twenties), we decided we did not want to work in an environment where our hens would greet us openly upon entering the barn.We also think an enriched system will give us more control with respect to animal care, our routine and the amount of time we spend in the barn.In addition, we would probably have to have a bigger barn for free-run or free-range. That being the case, our present building site would have been compromised by size and perhaps would have had to be moved to a different location on the farm.We decided to stay with Clark Ag Systems partly because they are only a half-hour away. Being nearby has aided in service calls for repairs to our conventional system.What’s more, the Farmer Automatic system includes many interesting add-ons. I will discuss these more when we are at the housing installation phase of the build.A busy monthIn the last month, concrete work finally began. We built the forms for the concrete walls in the cooler, packing room and front area of the barn in a few days.The first cement truck came on November 6th. This was exciting and relieved some stress for both of us, as we could see the barn build finally physically taking shape.We had to bring in loads of stone. Also, the barn floor had to be levelled and packed with a roller to make a smooth floor for the concrete that would be poured on top in the future.We used the services of Chris Best to haul in stone, move it, roll it and pack it. They also helped with excavating a new electrical line.In the week of November 20th, three contractors were working on the same day.Two were doing the concrete walls. Three were moving stone from the dump pile to a dump truck to the back of the barn site, spreading it on the floor and rolling/packing the stone to make a level floor.And three men from Jorna Construction had started the preliminary work for building the first wall.Nick is being the general contractor for the barn build project. He was overseeing all aspects, such as making sure the present water line from the deep well to our existing layer barn was buried beneath the floor, doing drawings for fan placement so the builder made the correct size of opening in the side walls and getting anything else that was needed.Building a cistern under the cooler was a last minute decision. There was such a large hole under the cooler that it made more sense to use it as a cistern, instead of filling it in with gravel.In that week, we also had the electricians come and install underground conduit for the electrical service. I think at least 10 truckloads of stone were brought in, and three loads made by the cement truck.On Wednesday, November 22, the first west framed wall was up, and the size difference of the new barn compared to the present conventionally housed barn is quite impressive.The opposite east wall was up two days later and we had the weekend to gaze upon all of the week’s efforts.Saturday, Nick called upon a former worker to help him take down more of the existing pig barn so the carpenter has more working space at the south (far) end.We are going to hold on to our hats for December, as it looks like we will need good weather to get everything enclosed before winter.Even with all of this activity, barn chores still must get done. I find myself in the barn alone more, but know it is important for Nick to be present when building work is being done.I can hear lots of extra banging, vehicles beeping, engines revving and hammering from inside the barn. I do think the chickens are getting used to this!CLICK HERE to read more about Cindy's experience transitioning from a conventional to an enriched layer barn.
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National Chicken Month KickoffSat Sep 01, 2018
PIC’s Fundraiser Golf TournamentWed Sep 05, 2018
IEC Global Leadership Conference Kyoto 2018Sun Sep 09, 2018
Canada's Outdoor Farm ShowTue Sep 11, 2018