Poultry Production
Considering the average carbon footprint of chicken around the world, Canadian chicken has one of the lowest carbon footprint of all.

This is a key result coming from a recent Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) conducted by Groupe AGÉCO, a consultation firm specializing in corporate social responsibility and economic studies; the study was designed to measure the environmental and social performance of Canada's chicken sector, from hatching egg to processor.

The Environmental Footprint – Key findings
  • Since 1976, environmental performance significantly improved because of major productivity gains and significant improvements in feed conversion ratio.
  • Per kilogram of protein, the carbon footprint of Canadian chicken is lower than that of other livestock commodities produced in North America based on FAO's assessment of global livestock emissions.
  • In the last 40 years, the carbon footprint of the sector was reduced by 37 per cent.
  • Water consumption has been reduced by 45 per cent in the same timeframe.
  • 62% of the entire sector's total energy use comes from renewable sources, with chicken feed accounting for the bulk of renewable energy consumption.
The Social Performance
Canada's chicken farmers are committed to food safety & animal care: Canadian chicken farmers are certified on the mandatory Raised by a Canadian Farmer On-Farm Food Safety Program (OFFSP) and Animal Care Program (ACP), both of which are 3rd party audited.

After eliminating Category I antibiotics (the most important for human medicine) on the farm, Canada's farmers have committed to eliminating the preventive use of Category II antibiotics by the end of 2018 and a goal had been set to eliminate the preventive use of Category III antibiotics by the end of 2020.

Dedicated social license: Over 90 per cent of Canadian chicken farmers are engaged in their communities by providing free services to community members or by being engaged in municipal or regional organizations.

Competitive working conditions: Over 90 per cent of Canadian chicken farmers pay their workers a salary over the provincial minimum wage and about 70 per cent offer their employees benefits such as insurance and bonuses in addition to other benefits in kind.

A Pledge for Continual Improvement
For Canadian chicken farmers, sustainability means protecting animal health and welfare, ensuring worker and community wellbeing, preserving the health of the land and of Canadian farms and contributing to the Canadian economy by providing affordable food to Canadians.

Benoît Fontaine, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada affirms that, "Our sustainability journey is a process of continual improvement. We have come a long way with the implementation of on-farm programs, and with the growth in our industry which has contributed to the Canadian economy and helps support rural communities. But we'll always have more work to do and we will continually evolve to improve our practices and deliver on the expectations of Canadian consumers."

Background
An LCA is an internationally recognized approach to assess the impacts associated with all of the stages of a product's life – in this case chicken. There is a well-established protocol for LCA subject to an ISO standardized methodology. LCAs can help an industry determine which aspects of their production are most efficient, and where they can improve efficiencies, reduce environmental impacts, or improve social interactions along their entire value chains.

The LCA provides the chicken industry with benchmarks for its impact on climate change, natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem quality, and human health, while the social LCA provides a qualitative assessment of the industry's socioeconomic performance.

Conducting an LCA is part of our strategy to support our industry's work in maintaining consumer and buyer confidence that supply chain risks are adequately addressed. It can also improve industry's social licence and assurance to consumers that chicken is safe, and produced in an efficient and responsible way.

People care deeply about their food, about knowing where it comes from and that what they are serving to their family and friends is of the highest quality; our farmers and their families are no different. So when we say that the Canadian chicken industry is good for Canadians, it's because we know that we're raising our chickens to the highest standards: yours.

To find out more about our LCA results, check out this new infographic: https://www.chickenfarmers.ca/resources/sustainability-assessment-of-the-canadian-chicken-value-chain/

Published in Broilers
The Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) for Canada and OIE Delegate for Canada, Dr. Jaspinder Komal, welcomes the evaluation of Canada's veterinary services that was published recently by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the global standard-setting body for animal health and welfare.

The OIE has found Canada to be a top performing country and a leading example for meeting international veterinary service standards, with no major weaknesses. The full CVO's statement is available in its entirety on the CFIA's website.

The evaluation, conducted at Canada's request, was coordinated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and involved federal, provincial and territorial governments and representatives from the private veterinary sector, academia and veterinary regulators. The full Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) Evaluation Report is available on the OIE's website.

The CFIA will be working with federal, provincial and territorial partners as well as representatives from the veterinary sector and the animal industry to further strengthen veterinary services across the country.

The CFIA continues to lead on other initiatives to improve animal health, veterinary public health and animal welfare in Canada.

"With the majority of Canada's veterinary services getting the top five out of five rating based on the OIE's international standards, and with the implementation of the OIE's recommendations, Canada will further strengthen its position as a global leader in promoting the health of animals and protecting the public from animal disease. This will also help strengthen international trade and economic opportunities," says, Jaspinder Komal, Chief Veterinary Officer and OIE Delegate for Canada.
Published in Welfare
Raising broilers is much like building a house. A good deal of effort goes into planning and constructing the structure, but one also needs to be a bit of an artist to create the ideal end result. Experienced and knowledgeable growers are similar in that they follow recommended procedures while also being proactive in identifying issues before they can cause a problem.
Published in Broilers
Perdue Farms Inc., one of the world’s biggest producers of organic chicken, wants to bring the premium meat to the masses.

The Salisbury, Maryland-based company will convert its Simply Smart prepared chicken brand to organic later this year, chief marketing officer Eric Christianson said in an interview.

The line, which includes frozen products such as nuggets, tenders and breasts, will be sold at about half the price of comparable organic products at retail, which often go for about $15 a pound, he said. | READ MORE
Published in News
High stocking densities significantly impact the health, welfare and performance of tom turkeys. That’s according to newly completed research by Dr. Karen Schwean-Lardner and master’s student Kailyn Beaulac at the University of Saskatchewan’s department of animal and poultry science.
Published in Turkeys
A Greener World (AGW) the independent, nonprofit certifier and home of North America's farm certifications--Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, Certified Grassfed by AGW and Certified Non-GMO by AGW--is recognized as an industry leader in a recent higher animal welfare comparison chart released by Compassion In World Farming, a global farm animal welfare nonprofit.

Compassion In World Farming (CIWF) compared 34 initiatives across 10 countries to assess which certifications meet CIWF's higher animal welfare criteria. CIWF analyzed each certification program on 15 metrics and animal welfare criteria--including access to pasture, spacing requirements for housing, animal breeds, ability for animals to exhibit natural behaviors, health and animal welfare monitoring programs, and more. The Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW label was the only program that met all of CIWF's higher animal welfare criteria--including recommendations and requirements--for laying hens.

Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW is the only food label in North America that ensures high-welfare on pasture from birth through slaughter for all species certified.

The label is free to farmers, ensuring certification is impartial, independent and accessible to all farms. Along with AGW's ISO/IEC Guide 17065 accreditation demonstrating excellence in auditing and certifying, AGW offers integrity and transparency in a market dominated by unverified claims. Demand for verified sustainability is growing globally: Currently available in the U.S. and Canada, AGW's certifications will soon launch in the UK and South Africa, with other countries following.

AGW executive director Andrew Gunther says, "We're honored to be recognized by Compassion in World Farming as an international leader in the field. While there is an ongoing industrial effort to rebrand conventional practices as high-welfare or sustainable, it's vital that organizations like CIWF evaluate labels from an objective, science-based perspective, and report back on which ones are really doing what they say. We're proud to lead the pack on that front--and with our certified farmers, demonstrate our commitment to transparency and verified, high-welfare, farming practices.

There are a lot of misleading labels out there, but there are also some very good ones. CIWF's charts help consumers, buyers, advocates and policymakers distinguish between meaningful labels--like those from A Greener World and our high-scoring peers--and meaningless greenwashing. If we're ever to achieve truly sustainable agriculture, we have to ensure the label on the package matches the practices on the farm. We're proud to be a label that delivers on its promise, and thank CIWF for keeping the market honest."

For more information about AGW's nonprofit work, including farm certification, educational resources, membership and volunteer opportunities, technical papers and a directory of certified products, visit agreenerworld.org.
Published in News
A team of investigators have isolated colistin-resistant Escherichia coli from a commercial poultry farm in China. Colistin is an antibiotic of last resort against certain bacteria. The research is published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

In the study, as part of ongoing surveillance, the researchers from Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Sichuan University collected rectal swabs from randomly selected chickens in multiple commercial chicken farms in China.

The researchers found that E. coli from the chickens often carried multiple resistance genes, including one copy of the colistin-resistance gene mcr-1, and one copy of the resistance gene, mcr-3. This is the first report of these two genes on a single plasmid. | READ MORE
Published in News
High ambient temperatures mean detrimental performance and reduced profits for producers. Extreme cases cause suffering and death in all poultry breeds. Phytogenic feed additives in poultry diets help alleviate the negative impacts of heat stress by exerting an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect in birds.

Poultry producers commonly face the challenge of heat stress either seasonally or year-round. Poultry farmed in hot and humid countries are genetically derived from strains originally bred in, and selected for, the cool climates of Europe and North America.

Rearing birds outside of their thermal comfort zone could mean failing to achieve full genetic potential. Producers in warmer climates or those in cooler zones who adjust their shed temperatures to their own comfort levels, not to that of their birds, should consider the impact of heat stress on flocks. | READ MORE 
Published in Bird Management
Residents in Crystal Lake, Sask., are upset about plans for a newly approved Hutterite-run chicken operation near Stenen.

“Both the farming community and the lake community are all very frustrated with this whole thing,” said Wilson Olive, a resident of Crystal Lake.

They are concerned about how the operation could impact the water supply, since the proposed site sits on top of an aquifer. | READ MORE
Published in News
A chicken farmer has been given a suspended jail sentence for falsely claiming that eggs produced in crowded henhouses were free-range.

Eggs from James Gigg’s farm in Dorset were sold to shops and delicatessens that marketed them to customers as free-range. He was sentenced to 12 months in jail but suspended it for 18 months because he accepted the farmer had not acted out of greed. | READ MORE
Published in News
Capturing at least some of the heat from stale or “old” air being exhausted from poultry and hog barns is one more step in developing intensive livestock operations with net zero energy barns. The net zero term means a barn is producing as much energy as it is using.

Two poultry barns in Alberta, for example, have installed heat recovery systems that capture heat from air being exhausted from broiler and layer barns and use it to warm cold fresh air that’s being vented into the barn.

The heat recovery ventilators (HRV), used primarily in winter months, take some of the cold edge off the fresh incoming air, helping to reduce heating costs inside the barn. It’s not so dramatic as being able to feel hot air going out, and then being replaced inside the heat exchanger with hot fresh air coming in, but the system can warm up cold winter air by 15 to 20 degrees. | For the full story, CLICK HERE
Published in Barn Management
Maple Leaf Foods recently announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire two poultry plants and associated supply from Cericola Farms, a privately held company.

Located in Bradford, Ontario and Drummondville, Quebec, collectively the two plants process approximately 32 million kg of chicken annually.

Maple Leaf has also entered into an agreement to secure 100 per cent of the processed chicken volume from Cericola's primary processing plant located in Schomberg, Ont., and holds an option to acquire this asset and associated plant supply in three years.

"Cericola is a leader in raised without antibiotics and organic chicken. This acquisition will build Maple Leaf's market leadership in these value-added categories and enable us to meet growing consumer demand," said Michael McCain, president and CEO. Founder of Cericola Farms, Mary Cericola said, "Our vision over the past 60 years has been to provide wholesome and natural poultry products to our customers. It is this tradition of excellence that aligns Maple Leaf and Cericola."

This acquisition will provide Maple Leaf with additional supply and value-added processing capability to advance its leadership in higher value categories.

Maple Leaf Foods has transitioned most of its flagship Maple Leaf Prime chicken brand to Prime RWA, where the Canadian market is growing at approximately 25% annually.

Chicken is the most consumed and fastest growing meat protein segment in North America. Cericola specializes in air-chilled processing of antibiotic free and animal by-product free and organic poultry products.

The transaction will be financed through a combination of cash-on-hand and drawings under the existing credit facility and is expected to close in August, subject to normal closing requirements including Competition Bureau review.
Published in News
Canada's system of supply management has been the target of heated political debate for the better part of half a century — but very few Canadians outside of the affected farm sectors actually understand how it works, or who foots the bill for stabilizing farmers' incomes.

Supply management is a system that allows specific commodity sectors — dairy, poultry and eggs — to limit the supply of their products to what Canadians are expected to consume in order to ensure predictable, stable prices.

While the federal government has played a role in supporting agricultural pricing policies for more than a century, the current system of supply management traces its origins to the 1960s — a period of overproduction due to technological advances that resulted in low prices for farmers. | READ MORE
Published in Farm Business
Lilydale, one of Canada's leading poultry brands is celebrating an important milestone. Lilydale is amongst Canada's most remarkable business success stories with innovative products such as fully cooked, ready to eat carved poultry or Ancient Grains breaded turkey strips.

It's early 1940s and a group of Alberta farmers join together to create a co-operative. At first, the co-operative focuses on eggs but in 1941, the group acquires a processing plant and becomes known as Alberta Poultry Producers Limited. The plant processes both eggs and poultry.

Over the years, the Alberta Poultry Producers Limited business grows and the organization expands its production capabilities in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. The name Lilydale first appears in 1976 when the group becomes known as Lilydale Co-operative Limited. In 2005, the company renames itself Lilydale Inc. and in 2012 is acquired by Sofina Foods Inc.

"Lilydale has become and remains one of Canada's favourite fresh and further processed poultry product manufacturers because of the dedication, passion and hard work of all the employees, past and present, who tirelessly worked to grow its presence and provide high quality and delicious poultry products," said Wendy Harris, director, marketing for the Lilydale brand at Sofina Foods Inc.

"Giving back to the communities is an integral part of our company's values. With the support of the Sofina Foundation, our employees volunteered their time at the Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern Alberta to clean, paint and redesign the kitchen which was not meeting the needs of the families that this charity serves. In addition, each year, our employees participate in our Dream Builders' Campaign aiming at collecting funds for local children's charities. During the 2017 festive season, over 10,000 families were able to enjoy a turkey dinner through our support of various charities and shelters across the country," added Harris.

To mark this special anniversary year, Lilydale revamped its website (www.lilydale.com) and packaging, and is launching several initiatives including a contest: "75 Years, 75 Winners." The contest opened June 4th in key markets in Canada and closes August 5th. 
Published in Companies
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
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