Companies
September 28, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) has announced that Michael Laliberté has been selected as the incoming executive director, replacing Mike Dungate, who has held the role for over 20 years.

Laliberté will assume the position on October 2nd with Dungate remaining in an advisory capacity until the end of 2017.

With 26 years of experience at CFC, most recently as director of operations, Laliberté brings a wealth of corporate knowledge and experience.

In his most recent role, he managed the finance unit, the human resources and administration unit, and the information systems within the market information and systems unit.

He has been serving as the second in command to the executive director and has provided leadership and strategy on the financial affairs to support the executive management team, the finance committee and the board of directors.

A graduate of the Queen's University Executive Management Program, who also holds a management certificate from the Sprott School of Business, Laliberté will be the chief staff person reporting to the board of directors, and serve the same role with the executive committee and the governance committee.

In addition, he will oversee a 25-member staff complement that promotes the consumption of chicken, develops and audits on-farm food safety, animal care and specialty production programs on 2,800 farms across Canada, and has an active government and public relations program.

"The board of directors undertook a robust, external recruitment process to find the right candidate," chair Benoît Fontaine explained in a press release. "We are pleased that Michael Laliberté will be bringing his vast experience to the role and we look forward to working with him."
As poultry sectors continue substantial transformation to align with new reduced antibiotics demands and other key trends shaping the future of food, bio-based feed additives company Canadian Bio-Systems (CBS Inc.) is expanding its North America based poultry team to help infuse advanced new science-based solutions across the supply chain.

Paul Garvey, based in Hanover, Ont., joins CBS Inc. as sales manager, poultry, with a key focus on helping to service dramatically rising demand for bio-based feed additives that support RWA (raised without antibiotics) production. This includes a major emphasis on facilitating aligned programs and strategies among producers, feed mills, processors and retailers.

Critical time of evolution

“It’s a critical time of evolution in the poultry industry,” Mark Peters, CBS's director of sales and marketing, said in a press release. “Paul brings valuable experience and expertise, including a strong track record building relationships and delivering solutions across all components of the poultry supply chain. We are very pleased to have Paul on board to help drive our expanding North American poultry team focused on innovative, sustainable, high performance poultry production.”

Garvey comes from a farm background and farms himself in the Hanover area, where he resides with his wife and two daughters. His education includes a Bachelor of Science (BSc), Animal Sciences, from the University of Guelph, in a program that included a year as a visiting student completing poultry studies at the University of Alberta under renowned poultry researcher Dr. Frank Robinson. Garvey held several senior sales and procurement roles with poultry-focused feed and food companies before joining CBS Inc.

Expanding the poultry toolbox

“I’m delighted to join the Canadian Bio-Systems team and look forward to working with the industry in this new role,” Garvey said in a press release. “In my previous positions I came to see the value of the CBS Inc. approach and product portfolio first hand. I’m excited to be part of the company’s continued direction of innovation, science and advancing industry success. It’s a great opportunity to be involved at a time when CBS tools have arguably never been a better fit with the toolbox the poultry industry needs today.”

The CBS Inc. portfolio includes a range of bio-based feed additives (multi-carbohydrase enzymes, enhanced yeast technology, probiotics and more) that support everything from higher nutrition capture and related performance to reduced waste and optimized health and welfare.

“Because all CBS Inc. products are bio-based they are an excellent fit with what consumers and branded retail programs are increasingly demanding,” says Garvey. “With benefits such as supporting gut health and optimal productivity without reliance on antibiotics, they offer unique advantages balancing production and market needs.”
July 19, 2017, Swaziland - The Project Canaan egg farm in Swaziland has been up and running for more than a year and a half, providing a high-quality protein to children and supplying eggs to the local community, but that does not mean its supporters’ work is done.

The initiative continues to grow and expand, supplying eggs and expertise to an ever-wider area, transferring skills to allow people in need to help themselves, and setting its sights on expanding horizons.

The farm itself was the first step of the project, said Julian Madeley, managing director of the International Egg Foundation (IEF), which is supporting lead partners Heart for Africa and Egg Farmers of Canada.

Capacity at the farm has doubled through construction of a second house, and this means that, in addition to supplying the orphanage, 4,000 children can now be supplied with an egg, which is done via 31 church feeding stations. READ MORE
July 14, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - The Canadian Federation of Human Societies (CFHS) held its 60th anniversary event at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa this past April.

The CFHS was attended by nearly 200 individuals, mainly those associated with animal shelters across Canada, as well as members of various animal welfare and animal rights groups (CFHS, SPCA, US Humane Societies, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Mercy for Animals).

Morgan Ellis, farm animal care co-ordinator with Farm & Food Care Ontario, attended. On the first evening of the conference, there was a 60th Anniversary Awards Gala with guest of honour David Suzuki.

The two-day conference was extremely worthwhile. A sincere thank you to the Canada Mink Breeders Association for giving Morgan the opportunity to attend. It was a reminder of how extreme some animal rights activists can be and what the differences are between animals rights and animal welfare.

Sentiments from Catherine Moores of CMBA who also attended the conference summed it up best when she stated, “I realized that even though they may not always have the loudest voice, there are other animal welfare advocates around the table with views that are not that different than ours. The majority are likely somewhere in the middle”.

Reducing the “us-vs-them” notion is important to find common ground with like-minded organizations as agriculture continues to strive to promote animal welfare.
June 29, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - Yorkshire Valley Farms is pleased to launch its organic pasture-raised egg program for the 2017 season.

In addition to following organic practices, farmers in the pasture-raised program provide an enhanced pasture area for hens to forage outdoors. As with all Yorkshire Valley Farms laying hens, the pasture birds enjoy organic non-GMO feed and a cage-free environment in which to lay their eggs.

Since ‘pasture-raised’ is not a defined labelling term in Canada, Yorkshire Valley Farms set about to create a set of standards to which all participating pasture farmers must adhere.

These pasture-raised criteria incorporate the organic standards, while also requiring that hens spend a minimum of 6 hours outdoors per day, weather permitting, in an organically-managed pasture that offers at least 20 ft2 (1.85m2) per hen.

The realities of the Ontario climate mean that this enhanced pasture access can only be ensured for a limited period each year. The pasture program generally runs from late May to October and the eggs are offered as a special seasonal offering.

When consumers buy a Yorkshire Valley Farms product labelled ‘pasture’, they are getting a product that comes from animals that have truly spent time outdoors, foraging on pasture.

In 2016, CBC Marketplace conducted nutritional analysis of a range of eggs and found that eggs from hens that spend time on pasture have higher concentrations of fat-soluble vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. In particular, eggs from Yorkshire Valley Farms growers had more than double the amount of vitamin D, 3.5 times more vitamin E, and were the lowest in saturated fat compared to other eggs included in the sample set.
May 29, 2017, Toronto, ON  The CBC says it gave Subway plenty of opportunity to refute the findings of an investigation into the sandwich chain's chicken products before airing reports that prompted a defamation lawsuit from the company.

In a statement of defence filed earlier this month, the broadcaster says it diligently conducted a ''fair and thorough'' investigation into several fast-food chicken products, including Subway's oven-roasted chicken and chicken strip items.

The CBC says it confirmed with food scientists that DNA testing was an appropriate method of analysing the products' contents, and it had laboratory staff interpret the results.

The broadcaster says it also turned over the results and the interpretation to Subway representatives and gave them several weeks to respond on or off camera before going to air.

CBC ''Marketplace'' reported in February that DNA test results showed high levels of soy DNA in Subway's chicken products, suggesting potentially high levels of soy content in Subway's chicken products. The TV report was followed by an online story and several tweets that included similar content.

Subway alleges in its lawsuit that the CBC acted ''recklessly and maliciously'' in airing a report that suggested some chicken products served by the chain could contain only 50 per cent chicken or less. The sandwich chain further alleges the tests ''lacked scientific rigour.''

The sandwich chain is seeking $210 million in damages, saying its reputation and brand have taken a hit as a result of the CBC reports. It is also seeking recovery of out-of-pocket expenses it says were incurred as part of efforts to mitigate its losses.

The lawsuit also targets a reporter and two producers who worked on the program.

The CBC says it took steps to verify the facts included in the reports, including sharing the results with independent experts, who ''confirmed they were reasonable or probable.''

''Despite being provided by the CBC defendants with numerous opportunities to do so, the plaintiffs provided no independent scientific evidence that would undermine or refute the results of the tests,'' the statement of defence says.

The broadcaster says the statements that Subway objects to are ''substantially true'' and were made ''in good faith and without malice on matters of public interest.''

''They relate to matters of public interest, including the fact that Subway restaurants market and represent to the public that their oven roasted product and chicken strip product are 'chicken.'''

The CBC also questions Subway's claim that its revenue and reputation have suffered, and says any damage the chain has experienced is unrelated to the report.
In the November 2016 issue of Canadian Poultry magazine, we published a story on building inclusive businesses: “Growing bottom lines with social impact.” The story was based on a talk given by Markus Dietrich, co-founder and director of Asian Social Enterprise Incubator Inc., at the International Egg Conference in Warsaw, Poland.
April 11, 2017, Calgary, Alta. - A mother-daughter duo from Alberta is capitalizing on the growing popularity of backyard farming by launching a rent-a-chicken business.

Megan Wylie works alongside her mother on their Millarville family farm to run, The Urban Chicks, a company aimed at providing customers with everything necessary to operate a backyard chicken coop.

Customers are given two chickens, a coop, organic feed, grit and oyster shells, feed dishes and cleaning supplies. In October, the chickens are picked up and returned to the Millarville farm. Wylie says this allows customers to acquire fresh eggs while avoiding caring for the chickens in the more tedious winter months.

The Urban Chicks even provide their customers with a ‘laying guarantee,’ where they will replace a hen if it stops laying eggs. READ MORE
March 1, 2017, Dublin, OH – The Wendy's Company recently announced the expansion of its Supplier Code of Conduct, which now includes all U.S. and Canadian contracts managed by Quality Supply Chain Cooperative (QSCC) and suppliers that provide a significant stream of goods or services to Wendy’s on an annual basis.

"We expect all of our suppliers to comply with the law and use best practices in all aspects of their operations, and to conduct business in a way that is consistent with the values of Wendy's and our franchisees,” said Todd Penegor, president and CEO of the Wendy's Company. “Further, it's important to us to reaffirm our past commitments and aspire to even greater accomplishments in the areas of environmental and social responsibility."

The code focuses on topics important to the Wendy's brand and its customers, including food safety and food ingredients, farm animal health and well-being, human rights and labour practices, environmentally sustainable business practices, and business ethics and integrity.

The company will now add approximately 100 additional suppliers to be covered by the code, including all U.S. and Canadian contracts managed by QSCC, and suppliers that provide a significant stream of goods or services to the Wendy's Company on an annual basis.

The code will also require third party reviews related to the human rights and labour practices of certain produce suppliers. The decision to add third party reviews was due in part to the nature of agricultural work, its workforce, and an evaluation of various risk factors.

The code's provisions apply to all suppliers. However certain sections may be inapplicable to certain suppliers.

Wendy's Supplier Code of Conduct is accessible under the Responsibility tab in Supply Chain Practices section of its website.

February 24, 2017, Mississauga, Ont – Maple Leaf Foods Inc. recently reported net earnings of $181.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2016.

This is up from $41.6 million in net earnings reported at year-end 2015.

“We finished 2016 with a strong quarter sustained by solid commercial performance,” said Michael H. McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods. “With the combination of our increasingly competitive cost structure, and commercial strategies that intersect with important consumer needs and trends, we are well positioned for future profitable growth.”

The company’s Meat Products Group, which includes value-added fresh poultry products, reported a 1.2 per cent increase in sales, earning $3,316.5 million for 2016. Fourth quarter sales alone were $824.4 million, a decrease of 5.1 per cent from the previous year.
 
Margins in prepared meats improved due to lower operating costs across the network. Earnings in fresh poultry declined slightly as industry processor margins receded from record levels in the fourth quarter of 2015.  

Prepared meats sales declined slightly in response to a price increase in the first quarter but strengthened as the year progressed. Fresh poultry sales increased due to stronger volume and an improved sales mix.
Jan. 26, 2017 - Poultry genetics company Aviagen has reported that its new hatchery in Watertown, N.Y. is now fully operational and began shipping chicks to customers in early November.

Located in upstate New York just south of the Ontario border, the Watertown hatchery is strategically situated to efficiently supply Canadian customers with broiler breeding stock.

“Aviagen continually makes investments that result in better service to customers,” says Kevin McDaniel, president, Aviagen North America. “The new hatchery enables us to keep up with the region’s expanding demand for our products, while at the same time promoting the success of our customers by offering them the highest quality of chicks possible.”

The Watertown facility has become Aviagen’s seventh commercial breeding stock hatchery in the U.S.

With a hatching capacity of up to 135,000 high-quality chicks per week (7 million per year), the new hatchery is able to effectively keep up a growing demand in the region. It is equipped with advanced technology equipment such as Jamesway Platinum incubators and hatchers, which are designed for heightened biosecurity and energy efficiency. Sophisticated environmental controls ensure consistently exceptional hatch results and provide the highest level of care available for our eggs and chicks.

The new hatchery boasts a favorable strategic location. Its nearness to Aviagen customer farms translates to minimal transport times, which safeguards the safety, health and welfare of day-old chicks. And, the close proximity to JFK airport in New York makes it a logical location to safely and securely export choice broiler breeding stock.

The new hatchery also contributes to the economy of the Watertown community, by employing 40 local people.
Hybrid Turkeys, a division of Hendrix Genetics, has built a new breeder facility between Berkeley and Markdale, Ont. The name of the farm, “Berkdale” is a mix of the two.

While construction of a new turkey breeder farm might not seem terribly newsworthy, this one is, firstly because of its location. The site was chosen at a significant distance from the company’s other operations in southern Ontario, mainly for biosecurity reasons.

“Five years ago we wouldn’t have even considered a location so far away from our other farms,” says Hybrid Turkeys’ farm division manager, Marek Mirda. “To ensure secure supply to our customers, especially during disease outbreaks and establishment of quarantine zones, we looked for an area with distance from our own and other poultry farms. During disease outbreaks there can be an impact on healthy farms due to restriction of movement within quarantine zones, so we want to minimize or eliminate this potential risk.”

Hybrid Turkeys began its search for a location by examining a Canadian Food Inspection Agency map of Ontario that pinpoints all types of livestock operations. “We evaluated this area on the map to choose a location with the least amount of poultry operations,” Mirda notes. “After working with real estate firms, we found this property between Berkeley and Markdale.”

New design
Location aside, Berkdale has other important biosecurity aspects, with the most significant being a farm design that connects the barns.

In the past, Hybrid Turkeys would have designed the farm so the egg house and lay barn (for example) were separate buildings, and staff would therefore have to change clothing and boots every time they would go between.

“A system of separate entry and exit not only adds risk of picking up outside organisms, but is also difficult during winter months in Canada,” Mirda explains. “The new system has staff go through biosecurity procedures once and then they have safe access to the entire barn system.” Hendrix Genetics is in the final stages of upgrading a layer breeder facility in Ontario that will have the same design, he adds.

In addition, Berkdale (and a Hybrid Turkeys pedigree facility as well) have a dry shower and other additional measures to keep foreign organisms as far away from the barn as possible - on both the brood/grow side as well as lay barn side. Upon arrival at the farm, staff and any visitors must enter the dry shower facility, which requires individuals to change out of street clothes into farm clothing and footwear. Next, individuals exit the dry shower into a neutral air pressure zone before accessing the completely enclosed wet shower rooms. After using the shower facilities, individuals change again into new farm clothing and boots, ready to enter the clean zone of the farm.

Outside the buildings, there is complete separation of the clean and dirty zones. Dirty zone roads are for external suppliers to deliver fuel and other supplies without entering the farm area. Clean zone roads are only for internal clean vehicles that transfer staff or supplies between barns. All the buildings’ mechanical equipment can be accessed from the dirty zone so that contracted service technicians have quick access in case of urgent need. Hybrid Turkey employees have access to a storage garage in the clean zone with equipment only to be used within the clean zone, and one on the dirty side for use only in the dirty zone.

Additional biosecurity was gained through filling any saw cuts on concrete with caulking to prevent particulates from settling in. “One of the project members suggested we used ‘an entire truckload of caulking’ to ensure no cut was missed!” Mirda reports.

In addition, as part of the ventilation system, the farm features darkout hoods large enough for a person to fit inside, which makes it easier to ensure proper cleaning of these areas. There is also a wash station for vehicles on the ‘lay side’ of the farm.

Berkdale also features an innovative truck-loading dock for the egg cooler, complete with dock-levelling equipment and seal for the truck. This system allows for the use of trolleys to transfer eggs from the storage room into the trucks rather than the traditional moving of eggs by hand.

“Temperature shock is avoided,” explains Mirda, “and there is also no need for an outside connection, in that the delivery driver can stay in the cab while the eggs are loaded by internal staff. It’s a best-practices system that improves worker health and safety and minimize the handling of eggs.”

Results so far
Berkdale began operation in August and all systems are running smoothly with birds doing extremely well. Mirda says the winter season is when staff expects to see the new design of this facility to show its full benefits. This will be in part because use of the barns on the lay side (that are connected between egg house and laybarn) will begin then, and also, from a comfort and efficiency standpoint, workers will not have to go outside as much during the harsh weather.

When asked what factors other poultry operators should consider in building a similar facility isolated from all other farms in the company, the Berkdale staff had good input. They pointed to the decision of whether to try and relocate current employees or search for new employees close to the new facility who may need a lot of training and support. They also pointed out that you have to be ready for staff and equipment from other company facilities to be dispatched as needed for hands-on assistance at the ‘orphan’ facility.

Scott Rowland, general manager, Americas at Hybrid Turkeys says that although this facility came at a significant cost, the company leaders feel that the investment in Berkdale is the next step in biosecurity for both customers and staff.

“The features of this facility were designed to secure the supply to meet our customers’ needs, while ensuring excellent health and safety of our workers,” he says. “This investment signifies our dedication to continuous improvement. By spreading out our operations, we are working towards the next generation of biosecurity.”

Hybrid Turkeys also has production and research facilities in several other locations in Canada, as well as in the U.S., France, Poland and Hungary.
At a conference last month, I ran into a peer who I would dub an “agvocist” – someone very passionate about promoting agriculture to the point that it pours over into her personal Facebook posts.  This woman is, for lack of a more appropriate word, effervescent.

But, when I asked her what she thought of two on-farm animal welfare breaches that made the mainstream news last fall, her shoulders sagged slightly and a small sigh escaped from her lips.  I was taken aback.

“Sorry,” she said as she collected herself.  “It’s just that there’s so much good being done out there that doesn’t make the news but agriculture is a slave to its exceptions.”  We carried on chatting for a little while and by the end of the conversation, she was back to her usual bubbly self, but that one brief moment of resignation startled me – perhaps because it was so out-of-character.  

I think any farmer who strives to do what’s right grimaces when an undercover video surfaces. We cannot deny that Code of Practice violations will occur from time to time on Canadian farms – and yes, poultry operations too.   What we can do, is acknowledge and correct those breaches.  We can train personnel, instil respect for the animals in our care, reprimand and penalize as necessary and learn lessons from what happened.

But let us not forget that there’s another side to the coin.  As well as recognizing when things have gone wrong, it’s equally important to acknowledge things done right, and applaud the many shining examples we own in this industry of sustainable farming.  We congratulate not because they are exceptions, but because they are – happily – instances of the trending norm.  As an industry, it’s essential to remind ourselves of that.

So, on that note, in this issue we are delighted to tip our cap to Farmcrest Foods Ltd. (Farmcrest) of Salmon Arm, B.C., recipients of the 2016 Canadian Poultry Sustainability Award.  As you read on, you’ll discover how Farmcrest is dedicated to continual learning and improvement, takes responsibility as stewards of a sensitive land area and works to ensure that employees are treated like family.  The operation is a true model of sustainability in all of its forms.

Owners Richard Bell and Alan Bird will receive $2,000, and a farm gate sign as well as the award itself.  We congratulate them on their achievement.

In closing, I would also like to take the time to first acknowledge all of the applicants for the award.  Your dedication and commitment to your own longevity and that of the industry is commendable.

I would be remiss as well, if I didn’t acknowledge our Canadian Poultry Sustainability Award judges this year – former Canadian Poultry editor, Kristy Nudds; Valerie Carney, poultry research scientist and technology transfer coordinator with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry; and Al Dam, provincial poultry specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.  The quality of the applicants was exceptional and selecting our winner was no enviable task.  Your thorough review process and willingness to give time to the selection of our winner is appreciated.

Recognition, also, to would-be sponsors of the cancelled Canadian Poultry Sustainability Symposium: Big Dutchman, Clark Ag Systems Ltd., Chicken Farmers of Canada, Cobb-Vantress, Egg Farmers of Canada, Farm Credit Canada and Walbern Agri Ltd. Thank you for your support.
It’s been a year since Synergy Agri Group Ltd. (Synergy) in Port Williams, N.S. installed HatchCare – the first in Canada and the fourth company in the world to do so. And now, the company is currently producing 200,000 HatchCare broiler chicks a week.

HatchTech of the Netherlands developed its ‘HatchCare’ incubation and chick care system to better benefit chicks, the environment and poultry farmers. The company conducted years of testing on HatchCare before rolling it out to market in 2014. The total number of chicks now being reared under the system per year is over 680 million, in Australia, China, Europe, South America, the U.S. and Canada.

With HatchCare, the fertility of eggs is first checked using new lighting methods so that only 100 per cent viable embryos are incubated. Chicks are vaccinated while still in the egg.

In a standard hatchery, chicks are shipped after emergence and receive their first food and water after they settle in on the farm a day later. In the HatchCare system, chicks are immediately able to drink and feed, which  – several research studies have shown – results in higher body weight and breast meat yield. HatchTech also cites research findings showing HatchCare chicks to be 1 cm longer at hatch due to their incubation conditions.

HatchCare involves a unique and advanced handling system called HatchTraveller, where the chicks stay in small individual crates from hatching until delivery to the farm. The crates are then cleaned and disinfected for re-use. HatchTech representatives say this provides every chick with ongoing uniform conditions in terms of temperature, airflow and relative humidity. The highly energy-efficient HatchCare system also includes several features that enhance biosecurity, such as sealed incubators with filtered entry and exit air.

Synergy's Experience
Doug Kaizer, Synergy’s chief financial officer, is very positive about their decision to go with HatchCare. “We were expecting improvements in chick health, mortality, weight gains and feed conversion, but we did not expect the large improvement in early farm brooding,” he notes. “The chicks arrive ready to grow. We use lower initial temperatures, put less feed out on paper and generally treat the chicks as if they are a couple of days older than their age. This has shown to be a tremendous help in the older barns, where it was harder to get the proper conditions for the day-old chicks.”

Kaizer says the system has also helped the company’s less-experienced barn managers. “The chicks aren’t as demanding, arrive with no hatchery infections and already have a built-in pattern for eating, drinking and resting,” he explains. “It has really levelled the playing field among different-aged facilities and experience levels of the farm operator.”

With HatchCare, Synergy has also been able to significantly lower antibiotic use. Before the installation, an average of over 20 per cent of flocks had to be treated due to issues from the breeder flock/hatchery. With HatchCare, to date that’s less than five per cent, and in most cases, Kaizer says, the reason for the treatment has been identified and the issue removed at the hatchery level. He adds that their HatchCare hatchery will be the key component in their move to RWA (raised without antibiotics) broiler production.

Biosecurity
In terms of biosecurity, Kaizer describes the system as “very” biosecure, partially because the entire setup - from egg delivery to chick delivery - takes place in areas isolated from each other, and because every process has built-in biosecurity aspects. “One of the best features is the ability to clean and disinfect after each batch of eggs and chicks are processed,” he says.

With respect to fluff filtering, Kaizer notes that within the HatchCare setup, their processing room (take-off room) is extremely clean and by using a special storage area, they have reduced the size of the hatchery. Kaizer says they are adding to HatchTraveller by designing their own transport trailer, which will enable chicks to have feed throughout delivery, regardless of time or distance to the farm. “All chicks stay in the same box where they are hatched and do not undergo any of the stresses in traditional hatcheries related to handling by humans or machines,” he says. “The goal is to have an almost seamless transition for the chick from hatch to barn under perfect conditions.”

On the energy efficiency front, Kaizer says it’s hard to make comparisons with their previous setup, as HatchCare systems are very automated and also require a lot of fresh air to maintain the perfect environment for the hatchlings. He believes they are just beginning to understand all the benefits of the system.

Continuous improvement
“Every aspect of the hatchery will see continued improvements over the next few months and years,” he notes. “We are working on specific incubation parameters for young and old breeder flocks as well as specific setups to enhance the hatchability and health of eggs kept over longer periods of time. Our hatching egg farms saw an immediate gain of four per cent hatchability, but we know that this can be improved by another two to three per cent with flock-specific incubation.”

“We are continuing to experiment and adjust growing procedures in the barn as well the feed inputs for the broiler rations,” Kaizer adds. “Basically, we are examining every single aspect from the hatching egg farm to live transport to the processing plant to see how things can be improved for the chicks with the HatchCare system. The possibilities are almost endless.”

Besides the initial cost of the system and needing to keep a good inventory of spare parts, the biggest drawback of the system in Kaizer’s view, is digesting the amount of information that’s becoming available and almost being overwhelmed by the number of future trials they want to do.

Facility tours
In the past year, Synergy has hosted a lot of interested people who want to look at HatchCare in action. This has included staff from hatchery companies all over North America, South America, Europe and Australia. “As we say to all who have toured our facility,” Kaizer notes, “This is not an easy or cheap hatchery, but it produces the best chicks for the broiler farmer. If your organization’s goals are focused on health, animal welfare and broiler performance, this system is for you. But if your goal is least-cost hatching, you are better to look at the traditional hatchery systems.” However, he believes anyone thinking of building a new hatchery has to consider animal welfare and be concerned with traditional hatchers that don’t allow newly-hatched chicks access to food and water for many hours or days. He says all personnel at Synergy firmly believe HatchCare is the future of hatching for both animal health and animal welfare reasons. “When this system was unveiled,” concludes Kaizer, “we actually stopped our hatchery construction and redesigned the entire project to allow for the HatchCare system. Looking back, this was the best decision our company has ever made.”

Return on investment
Asked about the return-on-investment timeline, Kaizer says that as an integrated system, when they add the profitability of the hatching egg farms and broiler farms to the hatchery profits, they are very satisfied with the rate of return. “Our customers [farmers and shareholders] not only benefit financially, but take great pride in knowing that the chicks they grow are the healthiest and most humanely-hatched chicks in North America,” he says. “There is no better return as a farmer than when you go home each day and can tell your ten year-old daughter that we hatch the healthiest, happiest chicks in the
entire world.”
Consumers want to know where their food comes from and the vast majority of Canadians believe that it is important that domestic chicken be labelled as such.  

Solid values
Based on that feedback, Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) has made it easier for consumers to choose Canadian chicken with its new “Raised by a Canadian Farmer” logo, which will be applied to chicken products at the grocery
store level.

By buying chicken with this brand, not only are consumers getting quality Canadian chicken, but they are also supporting farmers they trust – farmers who effectively manage bird health and raise their birds with welfare top-of-mind, who produce safe chicken for Canadians, who preserve the health of the land and their farms and who provide value to Canada, and affordable food to Canadians through supply management.

These are the key values of CFC’s new sustainability program. The first sustainability report will be published online in early 2017.  

These concepts are what make  the Canadian chicken industry sustainable – the hard work, and the good work, of all chicken farmers.  

The sustainability journey is a process of continual improvement. Chicken farmers have come a long way with the implementation of on-farm programs, responsible antibiotic use and growth in the industry which has contributed to the Canadian economy and helped support rural communities.

There will always be more work to do, however. Chicken farmers are striving to continually evolve and work to improve policies and practices that will deliver on the expectations of Canadian consumers.     Read on for a summary of projects and initiatives.


Protecting bird health and welfare
CFC is implementing a national, mandatory Animal Care Program that is enforced and includes third party audits.

The Canadian chicken industry is implementing a comprehensive “Antimicrobial Use Strategy” which involves surveillance, education, research and reduction.

Innovation is the foundation that provides farmers with the information and tools to be able to effectively  manage bird health and welfare.

CFC is a founding member of the Canadian Poultry Research Council (CPRC), the organization through which the majority of research funds are allocated.

The CPRC is dedicated to supporting and enhancing Canada’s poultry sector through research and related activities.

Producing safe chicken for Canadians
  • CFC is implementing a national, mandatory On-Farm Food Safety Assurance Program which has received full recognition from the federal, provincial, and territorial governments.
  • The Canadian chicken industry has an effective and responsive traceability system in place, as well as well as communication and operational plans for dealing with potential disease outbreaks.
Preserving the health of our land
  • Canadian chicken farmers have adopted practices on the farm to reduce environmental impact. Examples include renewable geothermal heating, high efficiency lighting, and improved manure storage to prevent groundwater contamination.
  • The chicken industry’s environmental footprint has the lowest greenhouse gas intensity among all major livestock and poultry sectors in Canada [1].
  • Canadian chicken farms are healthy and vibrant, welcoming new entrants each year to a strong community of family farms.
Providing value through supply management
Supply management allows for the implementation of on-farm programs, for farmers to invest confidently in their operations and for the industry to contribute positively to the Canadian economy.  It also allows chicken farmers to  give back to local communities and for consumers to be assured of a steady supply of fresh, high-quality chicken at a reasonable price.

J. A. Dyer, X. P. C. Vergé, R. L. Desjardins and D. E. Worth, “The Protein-based GHG Emission Intensity for Livestock Products in Canada,” Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, vol. 34, pp. 618-629, 2010.

Note: Adapted from the presentation CFC prepared for the 2016 Canadian Poultry Sustainability Symposium.
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Ontario Poultry Breeders
Sat Oct 21, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
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