Getting the flock off to the right start can help positively impact health and performance throughout the flock’s life. Issues such as the environment and management of the bird, barn, feed and water are just a few factors that need to be addressed and monitored during brooding.
Chanelle Taylor had always wanted to be a veterinarian from the time she could talk. She worked for a small animal clinic in Oakville, Ont., when she was 14 to see what that would be like. As a university student, she’d pass many farms on her way to Guelph and dabbled with a few job opportunities to get some farm experience. Somewhere along the way she discovered that she really loved working with birds of all kinds.
As Canadian egg producers move towards alternative housing, they will need to prepare for new challenges. In Switzerland, where battery-caged production was banned outright in 1992, a group of researchers works to address those challenges, including nest box behaviour, piling and smothering issues, depopulation, ranging behaviour and keel bone damage.
As ‘Raised Without Antibiotics’ (RWA) chicken production grows – and the elimination of antibiotics for growth promotion and health protection continues within Canada’s broiler industry – the need for alternatives also grows.
By the end of 2018, Canadian chicken farming will reach two significant milestones related to the use of antibiotics.
The broiler housing and equipment industry continues to develop, introducing new technologies in line with trends in modern management, communication and ventilation systems. As you might expect, early adoption in markets such as Europe and North America, which have high labour and utility costs, easily justifies investment in these modern technologies.
Feeding young broiler breeders around the world generally involves restriction starting when the chicks are one week or a few weeks of age. This is done so that they grow at a rate that supports their health and welfare – one that prevents obesity, lameness and reproductive problems.
The laying hen industry in Canada is at the beginning of a 20-year transition. Following the lead of worldwide efforts to improve laying hen welfare, in February 2016 the Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) announced that a move away from conventional egg production to alternative production methods would begin.
Jared de Dood is a third-generation farmer in Grindrod, near Salmon Arm. He produces around 3,100 organic eggs each day on his farm, Okanagan Riverbend Poultry. He loves what he gets to do each day — help put fresh, wholesome and locally produced food on the plates of British Columbians.
Over the past year, I’ve been documenting my family’s journey converting from conventional housing to an enriched system on canadianpoultrymag.com. Thankfully, the new barn is up and running.
Chefs Plate celebrated Thanksgiving 2018 with the official announcement of an ongoing national partnership with Turkey Farmers of Canada that will see Canada’s number one meal kit company exclusively use Canadian turkey year-round. In addition, Chefs Plate will donate a meal to its charitable partner, Second Harvest, for every order placed at www.chefsplate.com that will deliver between September 30th – October 13th.
Chicken farmers across Canada are rolling out the latest changes to the Raised by a Canadian Farmer Animal Care Program (ACP).
More poultry producers are switching to LED lights in their layer barns for the power savings, versatility, durability and brightness they offer in comparison to all other options. Lighting is important in broiler, turkey, pullet and layer production, but especially important in egg production these days because of the new systems hens are being housed in. It’s all about making sure, in these new housing set-ups, that egg laying in the nest boxes is maximized.
Undercover video. Two words that will send shivers up the spine of anyone who works in agriculture and food. There have been well over 200 undercover videos in the U.S. and 16 in Canada since 2012 targeting agriculture from farms through to processing. While it’s human nature to hope one never focuses on you, your company, suppliers or customers – it’s always better to be prepared.
Bill Van Heyst grew up on a mixed farm near Grand Bend, Ont. He remembers looking after 500 laying hens – that was the maximum amount allowed under quota at the time. He also remembers switching over the old tunnel ventilated 1960s vintage poultry barn to battery cages from free-range. If he’d only known then that free-range would be fashionable once again…
Once producers make a final decision between whether they want to build cage-free or enriched housing for their flock, what next? Every farm is unique and every barn is custom designed, so decisions of all kinds still lie ahead.
Research shows that under natural conditions, domestic fowl spend 70 per cent of their active time foraging by walking on the ground because their flight abilities are limited. When threatened or roosting, domestic hens seek elevated refuges. For roosting, birds fly up to the lowest branch of a tree and seek higher elevation by flying branch-to-branch, whereas they descend by flying directly to the ground. Hens use their wings only for brief escape flights.
Across the country, egg producers looking to comply with the phase-out of conventional layer housing are facing a big decision of whether to invest in aviary or enriched housing. For many producers, the choice is challenging: not only do both systems provide management benefits and drawbacks, the single most critical factor – future consumer demand – remains a huge wildcard.
Growing interest in the concept and practice of sustainable sourcing is redefining relationships and expectations in the agri-food landscape. Sustainable sourcing, simply put, refers to procurement of goods or services subject to their meeting a specified set of socio-economic, animal welfare and environmental sustainability criteria.
While the vast majority of Canadian egg producers still use conventional housing, some have had enriched colony or free-run housing systems in place for several years. These farmers have, therefore, had the time to get to know these systems and learn how to best manage flocks within them.
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