James and Cammy Lockwood of Lockwood Farms on Vancouver Island share a deep concern about the future of the planet. This inspired the couple to become the first commercial layer farm in Canada to include black soldier fly (BSF) larvae in their poultry diet. That innovation has led to the millennials being named B.C.’s Outstanding Young Farmers in March.
U.K. broiler farmer David Speller is the proud owner of a ‘smart’ barn that takes technology to the next level.
You’ll notice this issue has an international feel to it. While Canada is a global poultry leader, we thought it’d be interesting to look abroad for ideas and innovations.
The Skinner family is spending Family Day planning a trip to Kenya. The Perth County pork producers are trying to start a poultry co-op in a village in the African nation, after starting a dairy co-op during their last visit.Why cattle and chicken, and not pigs? | READ MORE
Tommy Bagwell, former chairman & CEO of American Proteins, was honored by U.S. Poultry & Egg Association during the 2019 International Production & Processing Expo, where he received the Harold E. Ford Lifetime Achievement Award. This prestigious honor was presented to Bagwell by Tom Hensley, president of Fieldale Farms and outgoing USPOULTRY chairman.The Harold E. Ford Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual whose dedication and leadership over the years have far exceeded the ordinary and impacted both the poultry industry and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association in an exemplary manner. The award is presented non-annually and when the Awards and Recognition Committee unanimously recognizes and endorses the need for occasional, unique recognition for exceptional contributions.“The connecting ties and friendship between Tommy, American Proteins and USPOULTRY are long and deep. In fact, it was Tommy’s father, Leland, who hired Harold Ford, for whom this award is named. It is a privilege to work with Tommy, and we are honored to present this award,” remarked John Starkey, president of USPOULTRYA native of North Georgia, Bagwell earned a degree in economics from Clemson University with a minor in Spanish. He also completed graduate studies in industrial management, business administration and economics at Clemson and the University of Georgia.In 1969, Bagwell began his professional career at North Georgia Rendering Co, now known as American Proteins, Inc. In 1972, upon the death of his father Leland, Bagwell became president. Today, American Proteins services the poultry industry from plants in Georgia and Alabama and supplies feed ingredients throughout the world. American Proteins was sold to Tyson Foods last year.Bagwell has been an active member of the Republican Regents and Republican Governors Association for the past several years. He was appointed a member of the Governor’s Energy Policy Council. He has also served as election observer for the Carter Center in Venezuela and Peru.Bagwell is involved in numerous local organizations. He has been a board member of the NE Georgia Council of Boy Scouts, charter president of the Forsyth County Rotary Club, and served as a trustee of Kennesaw State University, Lanier Technical College and Brenau University. He also serves on the U.S. Poultry & Egg Harold E. Ford Foundation board of directors. In 2014, Bagwell received the Philanthropist of the Year Award from the North Georgia Community Foundation.
As a celebration of exceptional performance and dedication to poultry breeding, Cobb-Vantress recently presented its annual Flock Awards to North American poultry customers who demonstrated remarkable results in 2018.Launched in 2004, the awards program recognizes top-performing facilities in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Central America that are maximizing the genetic potential of Cobb breeding stock. Each year, the Cobb technical services team conducts an annual Sold Flock Breeder Survey to determine the award recipients based on egg production, hatchability, chicks per hen housed and life of flock hen mortality.Cobb representatives announced the winners in January and will host individual ceremonies to present winners with plaques to commemorate their achievements.“With the support of our dedicated technical service team, our customers continue to exceed the possibilities of Cobb breeder performance each year,” said Ken Semon, senior director of technical service for Cobb North America. “Their commitment to excellence is unparalleled, which is evident in the high level of performance these winners achieved last year. All of the winners should be proud of their accomplishments, and our top performers will continue to serve as motivation, driving the North American poultry breeding industry to newfound levels of success.”The full list of 2018 North American winners include: Award                  Cobb-Vantress Customer Location Country Co-National Best, Cobb500 George’s Inc. Harrisonburg, Va. United States Co-National Best, Cobb500 Pilgrim’s Harrisonburg, Va. United States Co-National Best, Cobb700 Tyson Foods, Inc. Noel, Mo. United States Co-National Best, Cobb700 Tyson Foods, Inc. Oglethorpe, Ga. United States Cobb500 Fast Feather Top Flock Producer Pilgrim’s Moorefield, W.Va. United States Cobb500 Slow Feather Top Flock Producer Pitman Family Farms Sanger, Calif. United States Cobb700 Top Flock Producer Peco Foods, Inc. Sebastopol, Miss. United States Cobb500 Package Top Flock Producer Tyson Foods, Inc. Snead, Ala. United States National Best Synergy Agri Group Inc. Port Williams, Nova Scotia Canada Cobb500 Fast Feather Synergy Agri Group Inc. Port Williams, Nova Scotia Canada Cobb500 Slow Feather Cooperative Fédérée De Quebec Victoriaville, Quebec Canada Total Eggs Per Hen Hatched (Mx x 500F) Synergy Agri Group Inc. Port Williams, Nova Scotia Canada Regional Best, Cobb500 CMI-IP – Avicola Villalobos Guatemala City Guatemala Cobb500 Fast Feather CMI-IP – Avicola Pollo Rey San Jose Costa Rica Cobb500 Slow Feather CMI-IP – Avicola Villalobos Guatemala City Guatemala Mexico Best, Cobb500 Buenaventura Villaflores, Chiapas Mexico  “It is a great privilege to be receive the Best Cobb Package award,” said David Pruitt, breeder hatchery manager at the Tyson Foods, Inc. facility in Snead, Alabama, and winner of the Cobb500 Package Top Flock Producer award. “It was a team effort – and one that would not have been possible without the family of one of our dedicated growers coming together after losing their father midway through the flock.”
KFC Canada recently announced its partnership with Chicken Farmers of Canada by featuring the Raised by a Canadian Farmer seal on its products, which demonstrates the commitment of restaurants and grocery retailers who source chicken raised to the highest standards of quality and care by Canadian farmers, of which 100 per cent of KFC Canada's system supports.The Raised by a Canadian Farmer seal not only represents where the chicken comes from, but also stands for a three-fold set of exacting standards: Animal Care, ensuring chicken health and welfare on farms; On-Farm Food Safety, emphasizing cleanliness, safety and biosecurity on farms; and Sustainability, committing to sustainability efforts and farm land preservation."KFC Canada stands behind its chicken quality and taste credentials and we're proud to serve chicken that Canadians trust and love, from our classic Original Recipe buckets to our boneless Tenders," said Nivera Wallani, President and General Manager, KFC Canada, in a press release. "Featuring the Chicken Farmers of Canada Raised by a Canadian Farmer seal on our products demonstrates and reinforces not only our support for Canadian chicken farmers, but our commitment to serving chicken raised with industry-leading animal welfare, food safety and sustainability practices."Canadians will begin to see the Raised by a Canadian Farmer seal on in-store packaging and signage at KFC locations across the country, as well as on KFC Canada's social media pages and website."The Raised by a Canadian Farmer brand is synonymous with origin and quality and is a symbol for the innovation, pride, and hard work that Canadian chicken farmers put in every day," said Benoît Fontaine, Chair, Chicken Farmers of Canada. "For years, KFC Canada has demonstrated to the world that chicken partners throughout the Canadian value chain are committed to delivering on consumer expectations for food safety, animal care, and sustainability excellence.
Cobb-Vantress recently added two experts to its poultry team – Benoît Lanthier and Marlon Garcia Andrade. Both Lanthier and Andrade join the North American Technical Service Team as technical advisors with Lanthier serving Canada and Andrade serving Central America.In his new role, Lanthier will provide technical service to customers in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Prior to joining Cobb, Lanthier worked as a poultry veterinary consultant gaining experience in hatcheries, feed mills and product development, including knowledge in reducing antibiotic use in broilers.“I’m thrilled to have Dr. Lanthier join our team,” says Ken Semon, senior director of North American technical service at Cobb-Vantress. “At Cobb, we aim to provide customers with a broad array of technical support. Benoît’s veterinary background combined with his extensive knowledge of antibiotic-free programs will add value to our customers throughout Canada.”Customers in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and Belize will have the opportunity to work with Andrade, who will be responsible for providing technical support to Cobb customers across the region. Andrade is a poultry veteran, bringing an extensive background in feed formulation, feed manufacturing and broiler management to the Cobb team.“Marlon’s background in nutrition and broiler management adds value to the level of support we have in Central America,” said Semon.“I’m delighted to have Marlon join our team, and I know his expertise will further our commitment to serving our customers.”Lanthier and Andrade join a team of experienced technical advisors who provide support to customers across North America. The team blends expertise in a broad range of poultry segments to give Cobb customers unmatched customer service.
Auburn University’s National Poultry Technology Center (NPTC), a leader in poultry housing and associated technologies for more than a decade, and Tyson Foods Inc. recently announced the opening of the largest stand-alone solar powered poultry house to be operated completely off the grid. The 54-foot by 500-foot poultry house is located in Cullman County, Ala., and capable of housing 36,000 broilers.The poultry house will be one of two identical houses on Tim and Selena Butts’ farm where 5.50-pound broilers will be grown. One house will be the control house while the other will be operated exclusively by solar power, also known as Stand-Alone Solar for Poultry (SASP).“Auburn University’s NPTC will work closely with Tyson Foods and Southern Solar Systems to provide leadership in the application of solar power technology to broiler production houses,” said Paul Patterson, dean of Auburn’s College of Agriculture. “The research will provide important, new information on how solar power technology can improve environmental sustainability and profits for farmers.”The house’s power will derive from three components: the photovoltaic (PV) panel or solar cell, a battery set and a generator. On-site researchers will compare its energy use regularly with the normal operation of the twin house located next door over a 12-month cycle.The data and insights gleaned from this project will be an important next step in identifying sustainable practices and new forms of energy for the poultry industry at large.“Ultimately, this project will allow us to identify how solar houses might improve farmer profitability and bring increased efficiency to the poultry industry,” said Chip Miller, vice president of poultry live operations for Tyson Foods. “Through our partnership with Auburn University’s NPTC, we are creating a model for the future of the industry—one that is more sustainable and brings critical value and insights, previously unavailable, to poultry farmers.”“The combination of solar and batteries along with the other technologies are converting power to usable alternating current (AC) that’s identical to grid power,” said Dennis Brothers, extension specialist with NPTC. “Electricity drives all functions in poultry houses and is the largest variable cost for poultry farmers. We believe this new system may reduce costs for farmers while increasing efficiency.”The rising cost of electricity coupled with the unpredictability of long-term grid power has created an opportunity for Tyson Foods to explore solutions to help alleviate the effect of climbing prices.“Looking ahead, we are eager to evaluate the efficacy of the solar house and its impact on farmer profitability,” concluded Miller. “We expect this pilot to be the first of many, as we continue to leverage the power of collaboration to drive progress in the poultry industry.”
“Everything old is new again.” That phrase by American author Stephen King captures the sentiment behind Aviagen’s reviving of a decommissioned hatchery in Albertville, a rural community in northeast Alabama, U.S. Aviagen has transformed the historic hatchery into the new Research and Training Center. In a ceremony on May 22, Aviagen CEO Jan Henriksen hosted the grand opening of the newly refurbished center.“Aviagen is committed to investing in research and development to bring ongoing bird performance improvement to our customers and to the industry as a whole,” said Henriksen. “The Albertville Research and Training Center plays an important role in our overall mission to provide quality broiler breeding stock to our customers that ultimately help provide local communities with a healthy, affordable source of protein.”Aviagen has instilled the new center with state-of-the-art technology and a rustic modern look, while preserving much of the original natural materials and charm. The newly restored building will offer multiple spaces where Aviagen teams can meet and learn with their valued customers and industry colleagues.The new Research and Training Center is part of a larger campus known as the Aviagen Product Development Center, which also includes a research hatchery, processing plant and breeder and broiler farm. The complete operation is integral to Aviagen’s global research and development efforts.Fusion of historic and cutting edgeWhile endowing the new space with leading-edge technology Aviagen went to great lengths to preserve its history. Much of the original building’s wood ceiling was reclaimed and repurposed to create a custom conference table, accent walls and a floating ceiling. The Aviagen core values are displayed on a wall of reclaimed brick from the original building, illustrating that the corporate principles form the foundation of all decisions and actions of Aviagen staff.Ample meeting, research and training spaceThe Derek Emmerson Education Center will serve as the training hub. This 1,350-square-foot classroom will be home to the Aviagen Production Management School – a four week, international customer learning experience – as well as many other education events. The center was named after the former Vice President of Research and Development, who supervised the U.S. broiler breeding program.Carrying the name of a former Aviagen Head of Research and Development and Deputy CEO who worked for the company for almost 40 years, the Nigel Barton Executive Conference Room will see much collaboration and idea sharing. This space will host internal collaborations, as well as meetings with customers, industry colleagues and academia.And, from a state-of-the-art Farm Operations Center, staff and visitors may observe and monitor flock behavior and house conditions via streaming video of each of the poultry houses on the campus. The new space also includes a necropsy training room, which will lead to improved approaches to disease diagnosis and prevention.“Out of our extensive R&D comes a wealth of knowledge on breeding advancements and best practices for improving performance and efficiencies for our customers,” said Eduardo Souza, vice president of Research and Development. “The new center provides a modern, inviting space to further our R&D and share these latest developments.”
Signify, a large global lighting company, has acquired Once Inc., based in Plymouth, Minn., and iLox, based in Vechta, Germany. Once and iLox are market leaders in the design and manufacturing of animal-centric lighting.“With this acquisition, we add know-how, technology and expertise in animal lighting that complements ours in horticulture lighting. We are very pleased to partner with the teams of Once and iLox to combine our innovations to capture growth,” said Bill Bien, Business Leader Agriculture at Signify, in a press release. “This next step in the development of our Agriculture Business addresses the global need for feeding the world's growing population, further unlocking the potential of light for brighter lives and a better world.”“We are excited to become part of Signify. The potential market is young and growing and we look forward to working together to further improve animal welfare and farmers' production,” added Zdenko Grajcar, CEO and founder of Once.Once Inc. was founded in 2009 and signed an agreement to acquire Germany-based iLox in 2018, adding sales and service capabilities outside the U.S.The transactions are expected to close in the second quarter of 2019. No financial details about the transactions were disclosed.
Aging facilities and business consolidation are being cited by Federated Co-operative Limited as reasons for its decision to close three of its six livestock feed production plants on the Prairies.FCL says its Co-op Feeds operations in Melfort, Sask., and Brandon, Man., will shut down in August and October respectively, while production at a facility in Edmonton will be moved south to Wetaskiwin.Manufacturing will continue at plants in Calgary , Saskatoon and Moosomin, Sask.The plants produce cattle, horse, sheep and poultry feed in bags and bulk orders.Ten jobs will be lost through the Brandon and Melfort closures, but FCL associate vice-president Patrick Bergermann hopes the employees can find work in the company's retailing system.He says the company will do its best to ensure that livestock producers affected by the closures will continue to get the products they need from the three remaining plants.Bergermann said there has been consolidation on both the producer side and manufacturing side of the feed business. He also said the plants slated for closure have ''a lot of age.''''They were going to require a lot of capital investment ... we needed to look at what was going to be sustainable.''Bergermann also said the shutdown of the Melfort facility is not an indictment of the quality of work done by its employees.''We've got a lot of great people there that have been doing a good job in serving local producers for a long time,'' he said.
The Barred Plymouth Rock is Teryn Girard’s favourite kind of chicken.
Tina Widowski has had a long and distinguished career studying farm animal welfare.
Dubbed the “chicken whisperer,” University of Guelph animal biosciences professor emeritus Ian Duncan has been named the recipient of the 2019 Frederic A. McGrand Lifetime Achievement Award from Humane Canada.Humane Canada brings together SPCAs and humane societies from across the country.The award “acknowledges outstanding contributions to animal welfare in Canada,” said Barbara Cartwright, CEO of Humane Canada, based in Nepean, Ont.“We are pleased to announce Dr. Duncan as the winner of this prestigious recognition for his long-time commitment to finding solutions to improve farm animal welfare.”A member of the former Department of Animal and Poultry Science for 21 years, Duncan was among the first researchers to develop a scientific approach to solving animal welfare problems. His work based on “asking” animals what matters to them has led to the development of similar techniques for other species.Considered a top expert in farm animal welfare, especially poultry welfare, he has worked with organizations worldwide to develop animal welfare certification programs.“Receiving this award is both a personal and professional achievement,” said Duncan, former director of the Colonel K.L. Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare at U of G. “My research on the suffering experienced by egg-laying hens in battery cages helped to push for more humane husbandry systems.”He will receive the award this weekend during Humane Canada’s sixth annual National Animal Welfare Conference in Montreal.In 2017, Duncan received the organization’s Leadership in Farm Animal Welfare Award for his work on the National Farm Animal Care Council’s code committee for layer hens.
Canadian student Midian Nascimento Dos Santos has been named as the first recipient of the Aviagen Poultry Genetics Scholarship. The scholarship is part of Aviagen’s contribution to the Canadian Poultry Research Council (CPRC). Aviagen has supported the CPRC since 2012, and now for the first time a portion of the company’s $25,000 (U.S. dollar) donation has been earmarked for the scholarship.Dos Santos is a 2014 graduate of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science, and in 2017 she earned her Master’s in Poultry Science at Mississippi State University. She will apply the $5,000 scholarship award toward expenses for her current doctoral study in Poultry Behavior and Welfare at the University of Guelph in Canada.A panel of Aviagen geneticists selected Dos Santos from multiple applicants due to the importance of her graduate research to the poultry sector. During her current doctoral project, she has been evaluating and comparing the health of different genotypes of broiler chickens. Her goal is to improve the welfare of birds, while furthering the sustainability of poultry production.She explains that she intends for her study results to lead to scientific-based recommendations on better genetic selection and management strategies in broiler production. “I’m very honored and grateful to be the recipient of the Aviagen/CPRC post-graduate scholarship. The opportunity and financial support provided through this scholarship inspires me to pursue my career as a poultry researcher, in order to provide the industry with valuable information to promote animal welfare, health and sustainability.”“Aviagen is committed to the education of future poultry industry professionals. Poultry offers a host of exciting career opportunities, and we hope to encourage and support students whose creativity and talent will someday greatly benefit the industry,” commented Scott Gillingham, Canadian regional business consultant for Aviagen. “Midian was chosen from a very strong group of applicants. However, her research and goals closely align with those of Aviagen, namely, to help feed the world’s growing population with a nutritious and sustainable source of protein through continuous improvements in the breeding program, while continually advancing bird health and welfare. We wish her every success in her studies and future endeavors.”
It’s here – Canadian Poultry’s first roundup of poultry research studies, from compounds in eggs that prevent human health issues to seaweed and insect meal as feed ingredients.
Canada’s poultry industry has complex research needs. Chicken, egg and turkey producers as well as breeders, hatcheries and processors all face their own challenges and demands.
Over the past year, I’ve been documenting my family’s journey converting from conventional housing to an enriched system on Thankfully, the new barn is up and running.
Since last September, Cindy Huitema, egg producer from Haldimand County, Ont., has been documenting her family’s journey transitioning to a new layer housing system with her blog, Cindy Egg Farmerette. In the final installment of her blog, Cindy discusses the process of placing her initial flock and how everyone on the farm is adapting to the new enriched barn and its added technology.
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: 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 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: 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: 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: 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.

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