Animal Housing
August 18, 2017, Vancouver, British Columbia – The governments of Canada and British Columbia are working under the AgriRecovery disaster framework to determine the type of assistance that may be required by British Columbia’s agriculture sector to recover from the impact of wildfires.

The announcement was made following the first meeting between Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay and B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham.

"The AgriRecovery response will help B.C. ranchers and farmers recover from their losses, and return to their land and their livelihoods. Our governments are working with producers, local officials and stakeholders, and the results and spirit of resilience is collective and clear, we will work together to respond to this emergency until the job is done," Lana Popham, B.C. Minister of Agriculture said. 

Government officials are working together to quickly assess the extraordinary costs farmers are incurring and what additional assistance may be required to recover and return to production following the wildfires.

The types of costs under consideration include:
  • Costs related to ensuring animal health and safety.
  • Feed, shelter and transportation costs.
  • Costs to re-establish perennial crop and pasture production damaged by fire.
"Our Government stands with producers in British Columbia who are facing challenges and hardships because of these wildfires. Together, with our provincial counterparts, we will work closely with affected producers to assess the full scope of their needs and help them get back in business as quickly as possible," Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food said.
Published in Farm Business
August 18, 2017 - Perches are a necessity in cage-free housing systems, but changing them may be necessary, too.

As cage-free egg farming is expanded around the world, some in the field are asking if the current round, metal tube perch design is the best for bird performance and welfare. On the welfare side, perches fulfill the hen’s natural desire to perch and give less dominant birds a way to escape more aggressive ones. From a management standpoint, including perches reduces aggressive behaviors and gives the farmer more usable space inside the layer house.

At the Egg Industry Center’s Egg Industry Issues Forum, the attendees asked whether the perch is as beneficial as it can be for the hen and the farmer, and discussed innovations that could improve the devices. The conference took place April 19 and 20, in Columbus, Ohio. READ MORE
Published in Layers
For as long as he can remember, Dan Kampen has been in poultry barns. “My mom introduced me to the barns before I was two years old,” the Abbotsford, B.C. turkey and egg farmer recalls.

After going to university to take teacher training and spending a year in Japan, Kampen returned to the family farm, taking over management of the egg farm with his brother in 1996. “My dad believed in education,” he says. “He even offered me flying lessons.”

Rough start

In 2000, Kampen bought his dad’s turkey farm. Four years later, he bought his present farm with the intent of moving both the turkey and egg production to the new location. It was not exactly the start he had imagined. “Four months later, I had a newborn child and Avian Influenza (AI) hit the Fraser Valley,” the producer says.

Although his flocks were not infected, he was in an AI hot zone and among the first wave of farms to be depopulated. Eventually, all commercial poultry farms in the Fraser Valley were depopulated, destroying about 18 million birds in the highest-density poultry production region in Canada. “I had a year of downtime,” Kampen states. AI has hit the Fraser Valley several times since but Kampen has not had to endure any further depopulations.

When he purchased his farm in 2004, he joined the Fraser Valley Egg Producers Association (FVEPA) and the BC Egg Producers Association boards, serving as FVEPA president for over eight years until stepping down in 2016. It was also when he started growing specialty turkeys for J.D. Specialty Poultry.

Specialty turkeys
“(J.D. owner) Jack (Froese) had talked to me about growing specialty birds for him when I bought my dad’s turkey farm in 2000, but I wasn’t ready and he found another grower. When I bought my new farm in 2004, he talked to me again and I agreed.”

Kampen now grows about 8,000 birds per year for J.D. Although not organic, they are raised without antibiotics and fed an all-vegetable diet. “The flocks are grown for the four main holidays: Easter, the Canadian and American Thanksgivings and Christmas.”

In 2009, he built a new 190-by-48-foot turkey barn. The facility is big enough to grow his quota in two flocks – one for Easter and the other in the fall. “I think RWA (raised without antibiotics) works because I have so much downtime between flocks,” Kampen states, adding the key to such production is to maintain good water and litter quality.

With that in mind, he reduces the pH in his water to reduce challenges, adds Gallinet+ (an organic acid) to the feed and often top-dresses the litter to keep it dry.

Between flocks, the barn gets a full floor wash. When Kampen built the barn, he put a three-inch drop on the floor to the side doors so the rinse water automatically flows to the side. “I am so happy I did that because it reduces the work,” he says.

If turkey quota increases in future, Kampen hopes to grow a third flock in the summer rather than build a brand new barn.



High tech convention
Unlike the turkeys, his egg farm is a conventional caged layer operation. When he built a new egg barn in 2009, it was 15 per cent larger than he needed. However, with all the quota increases egg producers have since received, he has already expanded it to accommodate about 25,000 layers.

The new layer barn has tunnel ventilation, which Kampen says has made a huge difference. “On hot July days, birds were panting in the old barn but I’ve never seen an open mouth in this barn.”

It is also fully metered, with real-time data available on his smartphone. “I was at a meeting in Calgary and noticed lower feed consumption so I asked my worker to check the feed bin. It was plugged. Having that information available makes leaving the farm less stressful.”

He has not decided how and when, or even if, he will transition out of conventional cages but notes he did build an “adaptable” barn. “It was designed so the beams can be removed to create a floor system. It can also be divided into four zones so I can have an aviary in one or more zones.”

Supply management praise
Kampen is a fierce proponent of supply management, saying the future is bright for the Canadian poultry industry if the system is continued and producers can convince consumers of its benefits. He feels that is easier than many believe. “I was involved in a focus group with adult consumers a few months ago. They liked the camaraderie between growers and that we don’t have to compete with each other. They didn’t fully understand supply management but grasped that with it I wouldn’t be forced out of business by a bigger farm.”

He believes one way to sell supply management is to compare it to fair trade in coffee. “People understand the concept of fair trade and if we can associate that with supply management they will support us.”
Published in Producers
July 28, 2017, Shakespeare, Ont. - Faromor Ltd and Faromor CNG Corporation have announced the recent commissioning of one of the first energy independent poultry facilities in Canada.

In affiliation with Toyota Bushoko and YANMAR Micro Combined Heat and Power Systems of Adairsville Georgia, Faromor Ltd and Faromor CNG Corporation have completed the new facility for Steeple High Farms of Tavistock, Ontario Canada.

“This is a timely and welcomed development, distributed generation micro CHP systems deliver high onsite efficiency. They are able to generate the correct amount of power at the right time, making them much more efficient than the electrical grid," said Nicholas Hendry, President of Faromor CNG Corporation.

YANMAR has been perfecting its products and business practices for over 100 years. With units in service in Europe for more than 15 years, YANMAR micro CHP systems have been recognized globally. By utilizing a highly efficient engine and capturing nearly all the remaining energy as heat, the YANMAR micro CHP system is up to 2.6 times as efficient as your current centralized power.

With ease of installation, high reliability and functionality, a reduction in C02 emissions and low operation noise, the YANMAR micro CHP system delivers an energy balance by constantly monitoring power demand and output.

As electrical prices continue to increase, you can gain significant utility bill cost savings by switching to propane or abundant natural gas micro CHP electrical generation for your farm.
Published in Company News
July 20, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - A new poll conducted by NRG Research Group shows nine out of 10 Canadians want food companies to commit to greatly reducing the suffering of chickens in their supply chains, even if it results in higher prices.

To view the poll results, visit bit.ly/CanadaChickenSurvey.

The poll surveyed consumers on improving each step of a broiler chicken's life, from genetic selection to slaughter. Key findings include the following:
  • 90% oppose using chickens bred to grow so fast they often become crippled under their own weight and support switching to breeds with higher welfare outcomes
  • 88% support ending live-shackle slaughter in favor of less cruel systems that eliminate the suffering caused by shackling, shocking, and slitting the throats of conscious animals
  • 88% oppose extreme crowding by which each chicken is provided with less than a square foot of floor space
  • 86% support banning these conditions even if per-pound cost of chicken meat increases
Respondents also strongly support measures such as keeping chicken litter clean enough to prevent eye sores, flesh burns, and respiratory distress; providing environmental enrichment, such as straw bales and pecking objects, so chickens can engage in natural behaviors; improving lighting standards, including at least six hours of darkness each day to avoid further accelerating the chickens' growth; and implementing third-party auditing programs to ensure laws and commitments are not violated.

The poll was conducted just days after the release of an undercover investigation exposing sadistic animal abuse at more than a dozen Lilydale chicken supplier farms. The investigation revealed workers ripping chickens' legs off, hitting and kicking chickens, and performing crude sex acts with the birds.

Many leading food companies, including Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Boston Pizza, have already adopted meaningful welfare standards to address these issues. But the nation's largest restaurant conglomerate, Cara Foods, which operates brands such as Harvey's, Milestones, and Kelsey's, has yet to commit to a comprehensive broiler welfare policy like its competitors.

The online survey of 500 Canadian consumers was commissioned by Mercy For Animals and conducted by NRG Research Group June 15–20, 2017.
Published in Consumer
July 13, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - Some Toronto residents with a hankering for their own fresh eggs could soon be in luck if city council approves a pilot project that would lift a ban on backyard hens.

Four Toronto wards would be part of the project and comes as part of a motion to review the city's list of prohibited animals, which currently includes chickens.

A survey included in a city staff report filed in May suggested that lifting the ban on chickens could be a popular move.

''There's a lot of benefits, for sure,'' said Coun. Justin Di Ciano, whose west-end ward will be part of the pilot project. Home-raised chickens are a healthier alternative to store-bought eggs, he said, and they keep away pests.

He also characterized them as a ''cruelty-free'' alternative to factory-farmed eggs.

Toronto resident Andrew Patel, who has raised hens in his backyard since 2011 despite the ban, said he's pleased at news.

''I think a pilot project is probably the best way to pass a safe and effective bylaw,'' Patel said, adding that such a bylaw wouldn't be difficult to implement.

''We're talking about a couple of people raising a few hens, for non-commercial purposes on private property,'' he said.

Meanwhile, several municipalities in Ontario, including Kingston, Brampton, Niagara Falls and Caledon, all allow residents to keep chickens in backyard coops.

In Brampton, for example, current bylaws surrounding chickens state that coops must be no less than eight metres from any dwelling, store or adjacent property, and at least two metres from the side boundary of the property where it's kept. Bramptonians also can't keep chickens inside their home, and must keep any chicken waste in airtight containers ''in a manner that will not create a public nuisance or health hazard.''

But chickens in Toronto could attract, and be at the mercy of, other critters known to haunt Toronto, a local expert said.

Dan Frankian, a bird and animal control specialist, said that leaving chickens to roam free in a backyard during the day could attract the attention of scavengers.

''Once the chickens are running around, the food is, too,'' Frankian said, which could attract raccoons and coyotes.

Raccoons in particular love eggs, he said, and can break into locked boxes or cages with ease.

''Standard chicken wire is not strong enough to hold those guys,'' Frankian said.

But Patel said he has never had a problem with urban wildlife.

''Raccoons aren't brain surgeons, they can't pick a lock or open a hackproof door,'' he said. ''So I don't think it's an issue that can't be navigated.''

He said his six hens are stored in a coop protected by hardwire, which has smaller holes than a chicken-wire coop.

A survey from a recent city staff report says chickens are among the most complained-about animals on Toronto's prohibited list, alongside sheep, snakes and birds. Objections range from noise to smell.

But Patel said when hens are cared for properly and their bedding is changed, there is not smell. And he added that roosters, not hens, crow.

The pilot project was originally supposed to have been proposed at City Hall on Friday, but was deferred after news came of deputy mayor Pam McConnell's death.

It will be re-introduced at council's next meeting in October.
Published in Business & Policy
July 10, 2017, Langham, Sask. - Farmers who want to check out the newest technology, explore unique crop test plots or improve their dairy and cattle know-how will find all that and more at the Ag in Motion Western Canada's outdoor farm expo July 18 to 20.

Located 15 minutes northwest of Saskatoon, along Highway 16 near Langham, Ag in Motion features more than 350 exhibitors, 100 acres of test crops and the newest technological advances in farm equipment.

Ag in Motion is one of the only shows in Western Canada that allows farmers to watch equipment in action on the field, says Show Director Rob O'Connor.

"Farmers conduct their business outside in the field. Here's an opportunity to see equipment working, see it outdoors, see the crops growing. Decisions are made in the field and that's really what farmers do," says O'Connor.

Ag in Motion visitors will be among the first to see Dot Technology Corp.'s autonomous DOT Power Platform, which is expected to change farming as we know it.

"I don't think there's been anything that has the potential to change how we practise agriculture more since the GPS was introduced to farming," says O'Connor. "I really think that 20 years from now, how a farmer actually farms will be changed because of this technology."

Among the innovations on display at Ag in Motion are improvements in tires for high horsepower tractors, grain bin fall protection and increased fertilizer absorption.

Test crops by 25 companies will feature many varieties and highlight the effects of combinations of inputs.

Daily seminars in the Agri-Trend Knowledge Tent will feature financial and succession planning and precision ag.

Livestock Central will offer sessions on cattle handling, livestock and forage, a dairy day and fencing demonstrations.

Among the speakers at the expo are Glacier FarmMedia's Director of Markets and Weather Information Bruce Burnett, who will update farmers daily on the latest news, and Jolene Brown, presented by RBC, who will address mistakes that break up family businesses.

Now in its third year, Ag in Motion doubled in size last year and has expanded this year by over 50 new exhibitors. And new this year, onsite internet and cellphone service lets visitors and exhibitors stay connected.
Published in New Technology
July 7, 2017, Langley, B.C. – Approximately 2,000 wildfires occur each year in British Columbia. The effect of wildfires on the province’s agriculture community can be devastating and costly.

More than half of the wildfires in 2016 were caused by humans.

With the wildfire season upon on us in B.C., there are measures that ranchers, farmers, growers, and others who make their living in agriculture can do to protect their workers and their property. Addressing potential fire hazards will significantly reduce the chances of a large-scale fire affecting your operation.

Controlling the environment is important. Clear vegetation and wood debris to at least 10 metres from fences and structures; collect and remove generated wastes whether it is solid, semi-solid, or liquid; and reduce the timber fuel load elsewhere on your property and Crown or lease land to help mitigate the risk.

In the case that you have to address fire on your property, have a well-rehearsed Emergency Response Plan (ERP) in place. The ERP should also include an Evacuation Plan for workers and livestock.

“Having a map of your property, including Crown and lease lands, and a list of all of your workers and their locations is extremely helpful for evacuation and useful for first responders,” says Wendy Bennett, Executive Director of AgSafe. A list of materials and a safety data sheet of all liquid and spray chemicals and their locations should also be made available to attending firefighters.

Bennett suggests checking the Government of BC Wildfire Status website regularly to report or monitor the status of fires in your area.

For over twenty years AgSafe has been the expert on safety in the workplace for British Columbia’s agriculture industry and is committed to reducing the number of agriculture-related workplace deaths and injuries by offering health and safety programs, training, evaluation and consultation services.

For more information about agriculture workplace safety or AgSafe services call 1-877-533-1789 or visit www.AgSafeBC.ca
Published in Farmer Health/Safety
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.
Published in Companies
June 23, 2017, Indiana - The cage-free revolution has been driven by consumers, many of whom think the change is better for chickens (though many also may believe eggs from uncaged hens are better quality).

Animal protection groups argue it definitely is: Birds that are not confined to small wire cages can at least spread their wings and engage in natural behaviors like dust-bathing and perching, even if they never see the light of day.

But egg producers and researchers caution that the switch is not as simple as just opening those cage doors — and that mobility brings with it a new set of concerns for chickens’ welfare that most farmers have never confronted.

A major 2015 study of three different hen-housing systems found that mortality was highest among birds in cage-free aviaries and that they also had more keel bone problems. READ MORE 
Published in Eggs - Layers
June 16, Elmhurst, Ont. - Ongoing research at the University of Saskatchewan is examining how light cycles can affect a bird’s natural rhythm, health and growth rate.

“Turning the lights off can have a dramatic effect on how birds move around in their environment,” Dr. Karen Schwean-Lardner, assistant professor in the department of animal and poultry science at the University of Saskatchewan, said.

Schwean-Lardner recently discussed her research study at New-Life MillsTurkey Producers Academy held in Elmhurst, Ont., on June 1. The research project initially examined how light cycles affect broilers and is now performing the same research study on turkeys.

“It is really important that we look at turkey data for turkey producers, not just take assumptions from broiler data,” Schwean-Lardner said.

Research results are suggesting the ideal amount of light per 24 hours for turkeys to be at least four hours of darkness.

“One of the primary differences between turkeys and broilers is that turkeys benefit greatly from four hours of darkness – and few differences are noted with the addition of more darkness. The exceptions might be in body weight, and if a producer has an issue with mortality or lameness, that will also be impacted,” she added.

It is also noted it is ideal to establish distinct day and night times and to implement increases and decreases gradually.

“If flocks have mortality issues, periods of darkness can certainly help that. If you are considering making a change to your lighting program be sure to do make your adjustments in the evening, before the period of darkness, to avoid interrupting the bird’s feeding cycle,” Schwean-Lardner said.

The New-Life Mills event also featured William Alexander, technical representative from Hybrid Turkeys. Alexander discussed factors that contribute to consistent quality poult starts and Lisa Hodgins, monogastric nutritionist from New-Life Mills, spoke on the evolution of feeding programs.
Published in Bird Management
June 15, 2017, Vancouver, B.C. - A chicken-catching company at the centre of an animal cruelty investigation in British Columbia says it will require staff to wear body cameras after an animal advocacy group released video of alleged abuse.

Dwayne Dueck, president of Elite Services in Chilliwack, says it will be mandatory for one supervisor and two staff members in each barn to wear cameras on their vests, and the video will be reviewed at the end of each day.

The announcement comes after the SPCA in British Columbia launched an investigation following the release of undercover video by Mercy for Animals that shows workers allegedly hitting, kicking and throwing chickens.

A statement from Elite Services says six staff members have now been fired, including two who were let go prior to the video being released, three who were fired immediately after, and one more who was terminated after the company did a ''detailed forensic review'' of the video.

Investigators with the SPCA are working on a report that will be forwarded to Crown counsel and SPCA spokeswoman Marcie Moriarty says the organization will recommend multiple charges of animal cruelty under both the Criminal Code and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

The statement from Elite Services says the company hopes the ''senseless acts of violence'' in the footage will help implement new levels of animal care across the industry.

The company says it is updating its standards and procedures, undertook organization-wide retraining on Wednesday, and all employees will be asked to sign documents affirming they understand the company's care and concern procedures.

''It is our intent to share the experience of our new best practices with industry regulators, and adopt other best practices from cutting edge producers,'' the statement says.
Published in Company News
June 9, 2017, Vancouver, B.C. - A&W Canada has announced that it will support the University of Saskatchewan to expand an important research project that will examine lighting enhancements and related health and welfare outcomes for broiler chickens.

The project's broader research focus is to determine lighting effects on the mobility, behavior and physiological welfare of poultry by measuring the impact of the various wavelengths of barn lighting.

A&W is providing $45,000 in funding to the University of Saskatchewan's Dr. Karen Schwean-Lardner to expand the data collection on the impacts of energy efficient LED lighting on broiler chicken welfare and production this fall.

They will examine the differences LED lights make on poultry behavior, welfare and health outcomes. Incandescent lighting has been phased out and much less is known about the welfare and behavioral impacts of LED lighting.

"Through our research, we are always looking for ways to improve food quality and production while maintaining high animal care and welfare standards. Partnerships in research like this allow us to find the sustainable caring solutions we need to feed a growing world," says Mary Buhr, dean of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources.

Dr. Karen Schwean-Lardner is a global leader in poultry barn lighting. Her work is internationally cited and has helped to establish international standards of practice for lighting.

She served as the Chair of the Scientific Committee for the Canadian Poultry Code of Practice, as well as being a member of the Poultry Code Development Committee through the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). NFACC's Code of Practice development process ensures credibility through scientific rigor, stakeholder collaboration and a consistent approach.

"At A&W we are constantly impressed with the leadership work Karen Schwean-Lardner and the University of Saskatchewan are doing in poultry welfare. We are proud to make a financial contribution to this research to allow the research team to further their understanding of LED barn lighting," says Trish Sahlstrom, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, A&W Canada.

Dr. Schwean-Lardner says, "The University of Saskatchewan is committed to research that will continue to reinforce Canada's leadership in poultry welfare. Partners like A&W share a commitment to new research that can contribute to the development of new best practices."
Published in Health
June 8, 2017, Abbotsford, B.C. - Tens of thousands of chickens have died in an Abbotsford, B.C., barnfire.

Firefighters were called to the property in the Ross Road area around 1 p.m Tuesday. They arrived to find the two-storey barn fully engulfed by "flames from one end to the other."

Assistant fire chief said there were around 25,000 chickens inside. READ MORE
Published in News
June 5, 2017, Canada - Egg Farmers of Canada is holding a special call for research proposals, for submission as part of the Poultry Research Cluster.

The Cluster, administered by the Canadian Poultry Research Council (CPRC), provides an opportunity for eligible projects to receive federal funding in addition to industry funding.

Researchers are invited to complete and submit our full proposal funding application form during this special call for proposals.

To be considered for funding, research projects must align with the outlined research priorities (see below) and the principal investigator must also work full-time in a Canadian institution or organization.

Deadline for proposals is June 30, 2017. For further information and to apply, please email Elyse Germain, Program and Policy Analyst at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Details:
  • Full project proposals will be reviewed and funding decisions made by July 31, 2017
  • Projects that receive a positive funding decision will be included in the Poultry Research Cluster submission to Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada (AAFC) in the Fall of 2017
  • Projects approved by AAFC will begin no earlier than April 1, 2018
  • Eligible projects must fall under the research priorities listed below in order to be considered
  • Research priorities
Hen welfare:
  • Hen behaviour and health in alternative housing systems, including housing system design, management and production practices, and pullet rearing
  • End of flock management, including catching, loading and transport, and on-farm depopulation
  • Hen health
  • Disease
  • Gut health
  • Dietary ingredients
  • Environment and sustainability
  • Production practices and technologies that decrease environmental impact and increase sustainability
NOTE: Research should focus on alternative housing systems to align with the industry-wide transition away from conventional housing systems.
Published in Housing
May 30, 2017 - Steve Parsons has been a part of the chicken industry throughout his entire life, and his company, Greengage Lighting Ltd, is using LED systems to help poultry and swine farmers further improve the efficiency and productivity of their operations.

Parsons sat down with Jamie Johansen during ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, where he gave a presentation on his company through his participation in the Pearse Lyons Accelerator Program.

Greengage supplies an induction-powered system that makes LED lights and sensors for poultry and swine.

It uses patented inductive technology, a magnetic conductive system that converts energy into LED lights on a wave spectrum that has been aligned to the requirements of a chicken. READ MORE
Published in New Technology
May 18, 2017, Adelaide, Aus. - People choose to buy free-range or cage-free eggs because they believe they taste better and are better quality than eggs from caged hens, new research published today suggests.

In a study, conducted by researchers at the University of Adelaide and published in Anthrozoös, the journal of the International Society for Anthrozoology, the most often reported motivations for buying free-range eggs included reasons such as the eggs were of better quality, more nutritious, and safer to eat, and that they allowed purchasers to avoid “industrialized” food.

Despite participants describing caged-egg production as “cruel”, they did not tend to emphasize welfare reasons as critical for their purchases of free-range eggs. Instead, participants felt that the free-range chickens were “happier” and thus produced a better quality of product.

This finding suggests that consumers are more likely to purchase a food product if it is both “ethical” and viewed as being of better quality, rather than for ethical reasons alone.

The study also revealed that there were high levels of awareness among participants of caged-egg production when compared to other types of animal farming.

In addition, participants who bought free-range or cage-free eggs did not necessarily tend to buy meat with ethical claims, in part because the price difference is much smaller in eggs in comparison to different types of meat products. Some people produced their own free-range eggs by keeping a few hens.

To collect the data for the study, the researchers conducted focus groups and shopping mall interviews with 73 participants (of mixed age and gender) and asked about their food purchasing habits.

Then they categorized the different reasons that people gave for their decisions to understand why people choose the food they do, especially when there are ethical issues and competing values involved.

Lead author Dr. Heather J. Bray from the School of Humanities and the Food Values Research Group at the University of Adelaide commented, “Taste and quality are strong motivations for purchasing and may be part of the reason why people are prepared to pay a higher price. More importantly these findings suggest that consumers think about animal welfare in a much broader way than we previously thought, and in particular they believe that better welfare is connected to a better quality product.”

The authors recommend that more research is needed including studies to further understand consumer motivations behind purchasing products with ethical production claims, in order to explore whether changes in production methods or labelling would be supported by consumers.

This work was funded by the Australian Research Council.

Read the full article online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08927936.2017.1310986
Published in Consumer
May 12, 2017, London, Ont. - Researchers are delving deeper into the nesting motivations of birds and finding them as finicky about nesting as humans are about their comfort.

They are also finding more research needs to be done.

Michelle Hunniford, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph, is researching the nesting behaviour of laying hens.

She has found that new ways of evaluating nesting behaviour are needed.

She told a session at the London Poultry Show that settling behavior, the process hens go through to find and get themselves comfortable to lay an egg, along with egg location should drive cage design evaluation. The speed that a hen gets to that comfort level is correlated to how much pecking it does to establish its space and how long it occupies nesting space.

The University of Guelph re-searchers observed hens through their waking period — lights came on at 5 a.m. — and recorded their behaviour.

They then created graphs that showed a “settled” laying hen moved through its settling phases in more defined periods compared to an “unsettled” layer hen.

In most enhanced systems, the layers have a nesting area, with flooring and a scratch area.
Hunniford and her colleagues looked at what nests would motivate hens to settle in the desired nesting areas.
They found it was difficult to predict which hens would lay where and some hens preferred one system while others chose another.

As a result, one of Hunniford’s recommendations include that providing two smaller nests is more important that providing one large, fully furnished nest. READ MORE
Published in Housing
April 25, 2017, Columbus, OH - Keel bone health is increasingly seen as an animal welfare metric in alternative housing systems.

A new research study shows the majority of keel bone damage originates from collisions with perches inside the layer house.

Dr. Maja Makagon, assistant professor of applied animal behavior at University of California, Davis’ Department of Animal Science, discussed the results of a study conducted to analyze keel bone damage in a layer environment. Makagon, who spoke on April 19 as part of the Egg Industry Center Egg Industry Issues Forum in Columbus, Ohio, said the study utilized accelerometers and 3D imaging technology to study the force of the collisions and measure their effects on the keel bone.

The keel is an extension of the sternum that provides an anchor for the bird’s wing muscles and provides leverage for flight. As laying hens are being removed from a conventional cage environment, Makagon said, keel integrity is increasingly seen as an indicator of animal welfare. Damaged keels are associated with increased mortality, reduced egg production and egg quality, and keel damage is likely associated with pain for the animal. READ MORE
Published in Layers
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
Published in Companies
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Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show
Tue Sep 12, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Farm & Food Care Ontario's Breakfast on the Farm
Sat Sep 16, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
100th International Plowing Match and Rural Expo
Tue Sep 19, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM