Poultry Production
Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) is providing a second Ontario chicken processor with a new and unique opportunity to supply smaller-sized chickens, ‘Small Whole Birds’, aimed at meeting the demands of distinct Ontario consumer markets, including the increasingly popular Portuguese barbecue restaurants or ‘churrasqueiras’.

“Earlier this year, CFO strengthened its growing suite of processing programs, which are designed to meet new and emerging markets and satisfy the complex demands of today’s consumers,” said Ed Benjamins, chair, Chicken Farmers of Ontario. “With the introduction of CFO’s Small Whole Bird Supply Program, Ontarians can look forward to even more chicken choices on retail shelves, in restaurants and foodservice establishments across the province,” stated Benjamins.

The announcement welcomes a second Ontario processor into this new program. Sure Fresh Foods Inc., of Bradford, Ont., is planning to start processing ‘Small Whole Birds’ for the Portuguese barbeque market in early fall of 2018.

“CFO is pleased to announce that Sure Fresh Foods will target the needs of a specific market which is intended to further enhance the ability of our industry to meet consumer demand for Premium Ontario Chicken,” said Rob Dougans, president & CEO of CFO. “All of our processor programs are designed with the consumer in mind and are developed through strategic consultation across the chicken industry value chain.”

CFO’s Small Whole Bird Supply Program was established with the purpose of meeting the demands of consumer markets requiring chickens that are smaller than what is traditionally grown and processed in Ontario (approximately 1.7 kg versus 2.2 kg). Serving these distinct markets may also require different processing equipment than is used in the mainstream chicken industry to accommodate the smaller size of the bird.

To learn more about how the chicken industry is committed to providing Ontarians with even more choice, check out some of the other Chicken Farmers of Ontario Programs for Ontario Processors by clicking here.
Published in Processing
It seems like every second conversation about installing new equipment in barns eventually leads to boilers. Now I’ll grant, it may be because I have a tender spot in my heart for boilers due to my plumbing and gasfitting background. They have become so much more technical over the past few years.
Published in Barn Management
Sustainability has been a topic of discussion globally for quite some time now. It is a term that we have all heard, but what exactly does it mean? How can we responsibly apply this concept to the poultry industry from the ground up?
Published in Barn Management
Why is Salmonella such an important topic for the poultry industry and what can producers due to prevent it? Tom Inglis, CEO of Poultry Health Services, discuses this issue in our first Ask the Vet podcast.
Published in Podcasts
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…
Published in Barn Management
Broiler litter is a mixture of poultry manure, bedding, feathers, and spilled feed. The actual nutrient content of a manure sample varies. Nutrient concentration of broiler litter is variable due to age of bird, composition of the diet, how the manure is handled, and the number of batches of birds raised since the last house clean out.

The average nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) content of broiler litter is 62, 59, and 40 lbs/ton, respectively. Having your manure analyzed for its actual plant nutrient content is recommended. Armed with this and appropriate soil test information you can decide on the best plan of action to use poultry litter for specific cropping needs. | READ MORE
Published in Manure Management
In a chicken industry that is minimizing the use of antibiotics, our ability to provide an optimal clean environment is paramount. This can be achieved through cleaning and disinfection (C&D) and strict biosecurity.
Published in Ask the Vet
Sustainability is not a buzzword in farming. It’s a day-to-day reality. If you don’t sustain the soil and greater environment on a farm, you won’t have a future. And if you don’t efficiently use – and maybe re-use – energy, water and other resources, you won’t sustain your farm business financially either, again jeopardizing your future.
Published in Layers
AgSafe has launched a new free safety self-assessment web tool for B.C.’s agriculture organizations and other naturally aligned industries.

The Safety Ready Certificate of Recognition (COR) Self-Assessment website is designed to assist organizations in assessing their readiness for a COR program audit.

The self-assessment tool begins with a questionnaire to be completed by the person responsible for overseeing the Safety Management System in your organization. Once that is done, the tool provides feedback on your readiness for a COR review. The web tool will also help you calculate your organization’s potential WorkSafeBC incentive.

“There are three levels of readiness and depending on your organization’s situation you may need assistance from an AgSafe advisor or consultant to become audit ready,” explained Wendy Bennett, executive director of AgSafe. “This is a resource designed to streamline the process and help employers become more familiar with what they need to do to reduce safety risks in their organization.”

Between 2013 and 2017, 641 agricultural workers were seriously injured and 7 killed in work-related incidents.[1]

AgSafe is committed to reducing the number of agriculture-related workplace deaths and injuries. They are doing this by offering health and safety programs, training and evaluation, consultation and guidance.

As a COR program certifying partner AgSafe offers a Certificate of Recognition (COR) program for large and small employers in British Columbia’s agriculture industry and ensures that WorkSafeBC is aware of all COR certified agriculture employers.

AgSafe’s COR Self-Assessment Tool is also available to companies that are not classified as agriculture, such as landscape professionals, tree services, or animal handling, but have been advised to work with AgSafe for their COR certification.

AgSafe does not charge for use of the assessment tool. Set up your account by going to the COR Self-Assessment website.

For more information about AgSafe services or agriculture workplace safety call 1-877-533-1789 or visit www.AgSafeBC.ca

Published in News
With farms, woods, wildlife and fresh air, rural residents cherish the charm and beauty of the countryside. Many people move from cities seeking peace and a pristine environment in the country.

Most people understand that a rural community includes farmers and that farming is a business. Ontario’s agriculture and food sector employs 760,000 people and contributes more than $35 billion to the province’s economy every year.

This means that certain activities take place according to a production schedule; and some affect residents living close to farms. In almost all cases, farmers and their rural neighbours get along well together. However, there are some exceptions.

For the year of 2015- 2016 the ministry received 107 complaints related to farm practices. Of these, 45 (40 per cent) were about odour, while the others were mainly about noise (26 per cent), flies (19 per cent) and municipal by-laws (nine per cent).

Odour complaints are generally related to:
  • Farmers spreading manure on fields
  • Fans ventilating livestock barns
  • Manure piles
  • Mushroom farms
To manage conflict about farm practices, the Ontario government enacted the Farming and Food Production Protection Act (FFPPA).

This act establishes the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board (NFPPB) to determine “normal farm practices”. When a person complains about odour or other nuisance from a particular farming practice, the board has the authority to hear the case and decide whether the practice is a “normal farm practice”. If it is, the farmer is protected from any legal action regarding that practice.

When people make complaints about farm practices, a regional agricultural engineer or environmental specialist from OMAFRA’s Environmental Management Branch works with all parties involved to resolve the conflict.

The board requires that any complaint go through this conflict resolution process before it comes to a hearing.

Each year, through the conflict resolution process, OMAFRA staff have resolved the vast majority of complaints. In 2015-16, only twelve of the 107 cases resulted in hearings before the board. Of these, only two were odour cases involving multiple nuisances such as noise, dust and flies. Thus, while odours remain the biggest cause of complaints about farm practices, OMAFRA staff working through the conflict resolution process has proved very effective in dealing with them.
Published in Consumer Issues
At a time of major change for livestock production a growing number of producers are making strides to stay ahead of the curve on everything from new medicated feed rules to animal care standards, by taking advantage of new integrated management strategies that include a stronger focus on advanced nutrition approaches.

"Cross-disciplinary approaches are the way of the future," says Darryl Lewis, president of Nutrition Partners, a nutrition company serving swine, poultry and dairy sectors across Canada.

"Our industries are evolving. When we need to make a change in one area, such as a shift away from medicated feed, there is no one solution. Health, nutrition and management are all inter-related and must work together. At the same time, nutrition is becoming a bigger focus in that mix representing strong innovations and opportunities for improvement."

Partnership mentality drives progress
Nutritions and veterinarians, for example, must work more closely together, he says. However the key to success is that producers themselves must also have a hands-on role in working with both groups.

"Every operation is different and there is no one-size-fits-all. The producer must be a direct partner in deciding what will work best. You can have the best health and nutrition strategies in the world but if they don't fit with management they won't work. The future is about teamwork and alignment among everything that goes into production."

Nutrition Partners has focused for many years on keeping one step ahead of industry needs and today its model stands as an example of where the trends are headed.

The company philosophy is that success requires partnership. That's how the Nutrition Partners team approaches customer relationships. Nutrition Partners is also a part of Poultry Partners, which is a collaborative effort between veterinarians, nutritionists and industry experts that provides cross-disciplinary strategies in partnership with customer operations.

Meeting today's challenges
The model Nutrition Partners has championed has proven particularly beneficial as a perfect storm of consumer, market and industry trends drive a wave of modernization and sophistication across all livestock production sectors.

Nutrition Partners offers vitamin and mineral knowledge and support while also providing leading premix options. But the key to its approach is working across disciplines to help operations design the best use of these options as part of broader strategies that optimize production in alignment with marketplace demands.

"Consumers have moved past the grocery store and have become increasingly interested in food production," says Lewis. "At the same time industry continues to find better ways of doing things. We have better knowledge and options than ever to meet what the marketplace wants and that's to our advantage. It’s important we as an industry show consumers how we do what we do and why we do it. We have to accept incoming changes and market indicators instead of putting on the blinders."

Strong advances in nutrition are an example that industry has the power to innovate and meet today's challenges, he says.

Feed and nutrient formulations are increasingly tailored to meet antibiotic-free, ionophore-free, elite level quality control standards.

Nutrition strategies are increasingly sophisticated to support animals in all situations at all stages of life, incorporating benefits beyond basic nutrition.

Bio-based feed additives ranging from prebiotics and probiotics to functional fatty acids, enzymes and yeast technologies are opening new doors to health, performance and profitability. All are providing fresh ways to benefit both the animals and producers while also fitting what consumers want.

Pulling in the same direction
"As farm nutritionists, veterinarians and producers themselves continue to collaborate more closely, the producer’s livestock programs should become that much more focused and successful," says Lewis. "The healthier the animals are, the better they eat, the healthier they grow. It’s really that simple. I always say about 80 per cent of what goes on at a farm is related to proper management. Now, as we seek overall improvement we as an industry are also tasked with bringing the remaining 20 per cent up to a new standard. Nutrition has certainly emerged as a big area of opportunity, but we need multi disciplines pulling in the same direction to reach our full potential."

The Nutrition Partners poultry team is a partnership between Nutrition Partners and Poultry Health Services. Led by poultry nutritionist Shawn Fairbairn, the partnership provides a comprehensive health and nutrition offering for Canadian poultry producers.

Preparing for the new rules on antimicrobials
Arguably no change looms larger at the moment than the shift away from medicated feed and preventative antimicrobial use.

New rules as part of the now fully implemented Veterinary Feed Directive in the U.S. are having widespread impact.

In Canada, the major phase of new rules on antimicrobials, including increased veterinary oversight and prescription-only antimicrobial use, come into effect Dec. 1, 2018.

"This has been something producers have been preparing for, but we are rapidly approaching that deadline," says Lewis. "With many of our customers this has been something we have been working on for more than five years. All changes -- whether they are industry changes such as regulations to housing setups, bio-security, reduced antibiotic use and greater animal welfare -- to a certain degree each come with a price tag. But with the right strategies this price can become a good investment rather than just a cost. Today we have the capability to make the necessary changes while also improving overall efficiency and production results."

More about the trends is available in a feature article: "Fresh pathways to livestock innovation and profitability," and a related Q&A: "Advancing the Industry." Learn more at www.nutritionpartners.ca.
Published in Bird Management
Turkey Farmers of Canada (TFC) received full government recognition for the TFC On-Farm Food Safety Program under the Food Safety Recognition Program (FSRP) in mid-April.

The recognition process is led by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), with the participation of federal, provincial and territorial governments.

“This recognition represents the culmination of the work or the TFC board of directors, the boards of directors in the TFC eight-member provinces across the country, and Canadian turkey farmers,” said TFC chair Darren Ference. “Consumers can trust that our high quality Canadian turkey is produced through stringent standards. Our systemic and preventive approach to food safety is based on internationally accepted standards and conforms to federal, provincial and territorial legislation, policy and protocols.”

“In completing the recognition process, the Turkey Farmers of Canada have demonstrated a strong ongoing commitment to working with federal and provincial governments to produce the safest, highest quality turkey products possible,” stated CFIA’s letter of recognition.

The recognition serves as a formal declaration that the TFC On-Farm Food Safety Program:
  • Meets the requirements of the FSRP;
  • Is technically sound in that it promotes the production of safe food at the farm level and adheres to Hazard Analysis Critical Point principles;
  • Supports the effective implementation, administration, delivery and maintenance of this technically sound food safety program.

“This recognition is important to turkey farmers, because more than ever, consumers want to know how their food is produced,” said Ference. “We’re proud to demonstrate our high standards.”

"The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is proud to be working side-by-side with industry partners to enhance food safety for Canadian families from farm to fork,” said Lyzette Lamondin, CFIA’s Executive Director, Food Safety and Consumer Protection. “Thank you to the Turkey Farmers of Canada for their commitment to this process.”

Funding for this project was provided through the Assurance stream of the AgriMarketing program under Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

Published in News
Avian influenza is sweeping the world this year, and there’s information you need to know to protect your flock.

Check out the Ontario Animal Health Network Veterinary Podcast, featuring Dr. Tom Baker, the Incident Commander at the Feather Board Command Centre, discusses the new strain of avian influenza, reviews the recent cases in the U.S., and go over what commercial producers in Ontario need to know.

Listen now, click HERE!
Published in Disease watch
Although research into the effects of LED lighting for poultry is ongoing, data often appears inconsistent. In addition, experts have focused less on behavioural and welfare aspects as compared to production.
Published in Welfare
Currently, more than 90 per cent of broiler chicken feeds contain enzyme supplements, which have a direct positive effect on animal performance. However, new generation enzyme supplements have been developed for specific use in the feed industry.

Yeast products are rich sources of mannan polysaccharides, ß1,3- and ß1,6-glucans and nucleotides, which can function as prebiotics and have been shown to stimulate the immune system and gastrointestinal tract development. This provides favorable conditions for beneficial intestinal bacteria and results in decreased attachment of pathogens such as Salmonella.

Dr. Bogdan Slominski from the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Manitoba aimed to develop a product that would contain a combination of a multi-carbohydrase preparation fortified with a yeast cell wall lytic activity with the yeast-derived product(s) as an effective and inexpensive alternative to antibiotic growth promoters.

The experiments
Slominski and his research team conducted a series of experiments to first optimize the depolymerisation of yeast cell wall polysaccharides using varying enzyme activities to explore the potential for the release of bioactive components from various yeast products.

They demonstrated that the use of a specific yeast cell lytic enzyme could significantly depolymerize yeast cell wall polysaccharides so they become water-soluble and, thus, more bioactive. Additionally, yeast cell lysis resulted in the release of a variety of nutrients, including nucleotides, known to play a role in immune system development.

In addition to investigating the effects of enzyme/yeast-based prebiotic supplements on growth performance of broiler chickens and turkeys under commercial field conditions, the researchers also produced different enzyme-pretreated yeast products as dietary enzyme/yeast-based prebiotic supplements. They performed feeding trials with Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens challenged poultry as well.

The findings
The enzyme/yeast-based prebiotic supplements the team developed significantly decreased the incidence of Salmonella shedding and reduced Salmonella cecal counts in broiler chickens and laying hens. In the laying hen, the enzyme/yeast-based prebiotic supplements also reduced Salmonella colonization/numbers in different internal organs.

The Clostridium perfringens challenge study with broiler chickens demonstrated that enzyme/yeast-based prebiotic supplements were as effective as antibiotics in birds post challenge recovery. Other findings of the feeding trials show that enzyme/yeast-based prebiotic supplements fed to broiler chickens suggests a shift in microbial population of the lower gut towards beneficial microbes and a more diversified microbial community, resulting in less susceptibility to pathogenic invasion.

In the broiler chicken study performed under field conditions, researchers observed improvements in body weight gain and feed conversion ratio for diets containing the enzyme/yeast-based prebiotic supplements. In addition, the team observed a significant effect of the enzyme/yeast-based prebiotic supplements on body weight gain and feed conversion ratio in turkeys. Dr. Slominski and his associates have clearly demonstrated the benefits of enzyme/yeast-based prebiotics supplements, which may serve as alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters.

The next steps
The researchers plan to develop yeast products with further enhanced biological activity. Additionally, they aim to investigate the configuration of yeast products required for the bioactive components to exert their activity in protecting the gut from pathogens.

This research is funded by CPRC/AAFC under the Poultry Science Cluster Program. This is in addition to funding from Canola Council of Canada and Canadian Bio-Systems.

CPRC, its board of directors and member organizations are committed to supporting and enhancing Canada’s poultry sector through research and related activities. For more details on these or any other CPRC activities, please contact The Canadian Poultry Research Council, 350 Sparks Street, Suite 1007, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 7S8, phone: (613) 566-5916, fax: (613) 241-5999, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit us at www.cp-rc.ca.

CPRC membership consists of Chicken Farmers of Canada, Canadian Hatching Egg Producers, Turkey Farmers of Canada, Egg Farmers of Canada and the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors’ Council. 
Published in Nutrition and Feed
Proper diagnosis and application of vaccines can reduce the frequency and quantity of antimicrobials used on your farm. Here are a few examples related to immunosuppressive diseases and viral infections that can leave birds more susceptible to secondary bacterial infections.
Published in Bird Management
Multinational feed additives producer Nutriad participated in the 11th Asia Pacific Poultry Congress (APPC) organized by the World Poultry Science Association, which was held in Bangkok recently.

Belgium-headquartered Nutriad works with poultry producers around the world to support them with feed additives solutions that have effectively proven to promote gut health, even in an environment where the use of antibiotics is increasingly being restricted.

In recent years 'Gut health' has been gaining an increasing attention from veterinarians. It is understood that it refers to multiple positive aspects of the gastrointestinal tract, such as the effective digestion by absorption of food, absence of GI illness, normal and stable intestinal microbiota, effective immune status and a state of well-being.

Any disturbance or imbalance in these matters could potentially impact the gut health of animals. It is therefore necessary to maintain the balance of all possible associated factors related to gut health.

Poultry producers used to achieve this by using of Antibiotic Growth Promoters (AGPs). The use of AGPs however is being increasingly restricted. That resulted in the development of natural additives that became part of alternative feed strategies.

Nutriad has been pioneering research and product development that support producers around the world in achieving gut health and notices an increasing attention in Asia Pacific for its’ innovative solutions.

At the APPC, business development manager of digestive performance Daniel Ramirez presented on “Utilizing Feed Additives to Maximize Broiler Gut Health,” where he emphasized on the improvements that can be made by optimizing single-molecule feed additives and by investigating their optimal use in specific programs, focusing on the application of butyrate (ADIMIX Precision) and phytogenic compounds (APEX 5).

“Gut health is important for maximizing the health, welfare, and performance of poultry. For optimum intestinal support, ADIMIX Precision utilizes a unique precision delivery matrix that delivers the butyrate into the intestines where it has the greatest benefit,” Ramirez said.

For more information, visit: www.nutriad.com.
Published in Broilers
Paul Leatherbarrow grew up on a mixed farm and began helping his parents with broiler chickens and other farm chores about 50 years ago when he was a teen. “Obviously, so much has changed,” he says. “It was nine weeks for a production cycle and now it’s five weeks.
Published in Broilers
Avian influenza (AI) can infect domesticated and wild birds, including chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quails, ducks, geese, and guinea fowl.

Birds become infected when they have direct contact with the ocular or nasal discharge or feces from infected birds or from contact with contaminated surfaces, food or water supply.

There is an increased risk of AI infection to poultry flocks during spring and fall wild bird migration.

AI can be brought into a barn as a result of lapses in biosecurity, and it is most often transmitted from one infected commercial flock to another by movement of infected birds, contaminated equipment or people.

All poultry farmers should monitor bird mortality, and track flock feed and water consumption. Monitor for clinical signs of AI infection, such as depression, decreased feed consumption, a drop-in egg production, swollen wattles, sneezing, gasping, discharge from the nose or eyes, diarrhea or sudden death.

If you have any concerns regarding the health status of your flock, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Key steps to reduce the risk of AI infection in your flock include:
  • Adequate training of farm and company personnel in biosecurity and disease prevention measures.
  • All people entering poultry barns, including farmers, employees and service providers must put on clean footwear, protective clothing and follow all biosecurity protocols each time a barn is entered.
  • Minimize visits to other poultry production sites and avoid co‐mingling of birds from multiple sources as well as contact with outside/wild birds.
  • Avoid exchanging and sharing equipment with other poultry production sites or farms.
  • Ensure all vehicles and farm equipment that access the barn vicinity are properly washed, disinfected and thoroughly dried before use.
  • Ensure that laneways are secured and have restricted access.
  • Prevent wild bird and rodent entry to poultry barns and related facilities.
  • Ensure that bedding is free of contaminants including feces from wild animals.
  • If possible, “heat treat” the barn/litter ahead of chick or poult placement (to 30°C for at least 3 days).
Published in Disease watch
As I’m writing this it’s a balmy -28°C in Alberta and we’ve just had a major dump of snow. It’s a little difficult to start thinking about spring and summer in this kind of weather. By the time this issue comes out, the sun will be warmer, the fields will be worked over, and the birds will be singing.
Published in Barn Management
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