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.”
CBC News has published a comprehensive update on the Polar Egg initiative in Hay River, N.W.T. Click here for Canadian Poultry's origional report on this project. | READ MORE
Water is one of the keys to maximizing the performing of your flock. This being the case, some producers go the extra mile to ensure their birds have access to a top quality drinking source. Here, we look at three producers and their unique approaches to water management.
At November’s EuroTier trade fair in Hanover, German, Big Dutchman CEO Bernd Meerpohl spoke about the future of poultry houses. A Canadian Poultry correspondent interviewed him at the event about that topic, as well as about challenges and opportunities facing the industry and his thoughts on the perfect poultry barn.How do you see the poultry barn of the future?There’s no doubt that the entire world is going to look at more animal welfare questions and it will also look at more sustainability. These are words that are often overused, but there is no doubt that it will move towards that.This will, of course, also mean we need to look more at sensor technology to better understand where the problem points in the poultry barn are. That’s true for broilers as well as for layers.We need to better understand what’s happening in the barn so we can adapt better than we are already. I think we are already pretty good, but there’s still a ways to go.How about in terms of sustainability?Yes, what I also see in the poultry barn of the future is that we will need to look at sustainability and economic points, as we have to feed maybe nine to 10 billion people in the future. We can’t gain on the one hand through animal welfare and environmental improvements, and lose on effectiveness. And that’s exactly why I believe we will need more measuring and more sensors.Are there specific technologies that you think will be disruptors?I think there are a few robotic solutions that could certainly be game changers. One thing that is already here today – not in the finally stages, but in the beginnings – is the in-egg chicken sexing. I think that is a game changer if we can use it. It’s being done, but the question is, it good enough yet? None of them are yet where they should be, but I tip my hat at what they are doing, for sure.Which regulations present a challenge for poultry producers?What I’m a bit afraid of, to be honest, is that very small minorities are influencing politics, particularly in building permits. We have already seen this in Germany. It is already close to a point where we can’t do anything anymore. On the one hand, people are saying we need more animal welfare. And if I say, ‘Okay, I need a hole in the wall to let the chickens out,’ then I need completely new permits. That’s really a difficult subject.What does the perfect poultry barn look like?It would not be a free-range barn – for the purposes of influenza and so on. It would be an in-house barn, and it would be an aviary system – a real aviary system. It would be, depending on the location, solar powered. It would be pretty transparent with a lot of glass, and it would try to turn manure into electricity as well, so essentially a closed system regarding electricity and waste control. That’s what I would dream of.
JRS VirtualStudio Inc., a leading developer of web-based applications and data solutions with a focus on the global agriculture sector, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Beaven as vice-president, sales and marketing.Beaven brings nearly three decades of senior management experience leading a variety of initiatives in Ontario’s agri-food sector, including over 10 years as executive director of the Canadian Animal Health Coalition (CAHC). In his new position, he will oversee business development and engagement activities for all of JRS VirtualStudio’s agri-tech enterprises, including Transport Genie and Trespass Tracker.“I’ve known Mark for a long time and over the years we’ve developed a great working relationship. We’re very pleased to welcome him to the team,” said Joel Sotomayor, founder and Principal of JRS VirtualStudio. “We have a very talented group of programmers and developers working on a lot of exciting projects, and Mark brings the real-world business savvy and connections that we need to commercialize those ideas and grow the business.”Beaven, who grew up in the rural community of Mitchell, Ont., said the JRS VirtualStudio team is poised to have a major impact on the agricultural sector through an innovative suite of products being developed by its affiliated companies, including: Transport Genie: a sensor-based, real-time tracking system that monitors microclimate conditions inside livestock transportation trailers to ensure that animals arrive at their destination healthy and safe. Mpowered: a novel blockchain-based ecosystem designed to help people take control of and monetize their data on a cryptographically secure, transparent and tamper-proof platform. Farm Health Monitor: a smartphone app for regional syndromic reporting that gives producers and veterinarians real-time surveillance, reporting and mapping of livestock and poultry disease outbreaks. Trespass Tracker: the world’s first smart security system that puts real-time communications and smart technology at farmers’ fingertips. Trespass Tracker uses geofencing technology and machine vision intelligence to distinguish between legitimate visitors and intruders. “The JRS VirtualStudio team is extremely bright and forward thinking with a continual stream of innovations that are going to impact the industry,” said Beaven. “My role will be advance these initiatives and look for new opportunities, and to act as the interface between these very smart people and forward-thinking producers and agricultural organizations across Canada and around the world.”
McDonald’s Corp.’s mission to use only cage-free eggs is rippling across the market.The world’s largest restaurant company is about a third of the way to meeting its goal of being entirely cage-free in the U.S. by 2025 – a target it shares with a broad array of retailers and food producers.The expected surge in demand has sparked barn upgrades across the country over the last several years, with producers building facilities that give hens a bit more space.This increase in supply is reducing cage-free eggs’ market premium over regular eggs.For the full story, click here.
After over 10 years of serving the agri-food sector in Ontario, the Agri-Food Management Institute (AMI) will be transferring its resources to industry allies and winding down its operations as a result of changes to its funding structure.Farm Management Canada will take over the hosting of AMI’s online business management tools, resources and workshops so they can continue to provide value to farmers. Food Processing Skills Canada will be the new host of the online management tools for processors.“We are extremely proud of AMI’s efforts to promote business management and develop tools and resources to help farmers and processors with business planning, management and strategic thinking,” says AMI Vice Chair Laurie Nicol. “I’m proud of the work our past and current board members have put into this organization; this was not an easy decision to make.”Farm Management Canada has partnered with AMI on various projects in the past, making them an ideal host for the farm-related reports, online training tools and other resources that AMI has developed. Food Processing Skills Canada has effectively grown their training platform over the past several years and AMI’s online materials will complement their existing resources.A 2016 study by AMI in partnership with Farm Management Canada established the first-ever link between farm business management and profitability, and identified the top seven habits of Canada’s most successful farmers. Other successful initiatives included the popular Advanced Farm Management Program, a series of regional food business-focused conferences, and a widely used program that supported the inclusion of business management topics and speakers on the agendas of industry events.AMI had its start as a funding program dedicated to farm business management and administered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council. After becoming a stand-alone organization with support from the provincial and federal governments, AMI focused its activities on farm business management training and awareness, and eventually saw its mandate expand to include food and beverage processing businesses as well.The Agri-food Management Institute will cease operations effective April 30, 2019 and encourages interested parties to contact Farm Management Canada or Food Processing Skills Canada for program or training information.
As of Feb. 11, Jessica Hockaday has been named the new director of quality assurance for Aviagen North America. Based in Aviagen's corporate office in Huntsville, she now reports directly to vice president of veterinary services Eric Jensen.As director of quality assurance, Hockaday oversees all areas of quality control, from GP farms to customer deliveries, in addition to working with sales and service teams to ensure that North American customers are satisfied with healthy, high-quality parent stock.She holds a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from California’s Western University of Health Sciences, a Master of Science in Veterinary Medicine from Mississippi State University and a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from California Polytechnic State University. Additionally, she has acquired extensive research and work experience in poultry diagnostics, disease prevention and biosecurity.She joined Aviagen as a member of the Veterinary Services department in Elkmont, Ala., where she was employed as an associate veterinarian until her recent appointment.She has achieved a host of honors and awards from respected industry organizations, such as a preceptorship from the American Association of Avian Pathologists and a lifelong learning award from the California Veterinary Medical Association. Her depth of research and knowledge base has led to multiple speaking invitations from industry organizations.“Quality Assurance works to continuously improve the methods and parameters involved with our production process," said Jensen in a press release. "Jessica’s deep commitment to quality and to our customers, coupled with her leadership abilities and expertise, will be of great value in helping us meet this goal."I’m pleased to welcome Jessica as our director of quality assurance, and I am confident that she will find success in this new role.” Hockaday added, “I am looking forward to having an active role in providing our customers with healthy high-quality chicks that are synonymous with the Aviagen name. "Being new to this role will be challenging, but I feel that will give me the opportunity to improve upon an already strong system to support our company by ensuring each step in the value chain leads the delivery of the highest product quality. "As our company grows the demand put on our team will grow as well, but we are up for the challenge and all looking forward to the opportunity.”
Maple Leaf Foods today announced the promotion of Kathleen Long to vice president of animal care. In her new role, she will lead the company’s animal care policies and programs in all livestock and poultry production and processing operations.Long joined Maple Leaf Foods in 2013 and supported the company’s animal care strategy in her previous role. “Ensuring animal care is essential to achieving our goal of becoming the most sustainable protein company on earth,” said Randall Huffman, chief food safety and sustainability officer at Maple Leaf Foods, in a press release. “Dr. Long has played a key role in our poultry welfare programs and will continue to advance our world-class animal care program throughout all livestock and poultry operations. Her specialized knowledge, expertise and leadership are highly recognized within Maple Leaf Foods and across the animal health industry.”Long holds a bachelor of science in agriculture with a major in animal science from the University of Alberta and a doctor of veterinary medicine from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, where she completed advanced coursework in both poultry and swine management, nutrition, reproduction, and health. She also completed a master of avian health and medicine through the University of Georgia and is a Diplomate of the American College of Poultry Veterinarians.
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.
A barn at the University of Alberta Poultry Research Centre in south Edmonton is home to more than 1,600 healthy, clucking chickens.But these fowl aren't ordinary, these are heritage chickens.The classic breeds include the 1957 random-bred Broiler line and the Barred Plymouth Rock, a breed that dates back to 1910.Frank Robinson, a professor of Agricultural Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta, said commercial farming has made these breeds extremely rare, and some might be extinct without the program.For the full story, CLICK HERE
One of the greatest pioneering poultry breeders, Donald McQeen Shaver, passed away in late July, a few days before his 98th birthday.
Canadian Bio-Systems (CBS) Inc., a Calgary-based feed additive and enzyme maker, has added a new member to its team.The company announced this week it has hired Anhao “Tony” Wang as its nutrition and technical service coordinator.His scope will include contributing to solutions supporting both domestic and international markets.In the final stage of completing his PhD in Animal Science at the University of Saskatchewan, Wang has had a strong research focus on feed and mycotoxin throughout his studies.“Tony brings a strong combination of passion, knowledge and skills that will support our technology platforms and customers across the board,” says Rob Patterson, CBS Inc. technical director.“His academic and research background that is an excellent fit with our continued dedication to optimizing feeding strategies and mitigating mycotoxin risk.”Wang, originally from Fuzhou in southern China’s Fujian province, has been studying in Canada since 2009.He began as an undergraduate at Dalhousie University then completed graduate work at University of Saskatchewan.A key aspect of his graduate research has been uncovering new knowledge of how to improve feeding strategies, including understanding mycotoxin impacts and how to mitigate them.His PhD research focuses specifically on tackling the challenge of fusarium-related mycotoxins in poultry feed.This includes groundbreaking knowledge on timeframes when impacts are more pronounced and when targeted solutions can have the greatest impact.“I am very happy to become a part of the CBS Inc. team,” says Wang. “Since I was young I have always been interested in science and working with animals and the agriculture and food industry. This is the perfect situation for me to start my career.”
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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