Production
Sector
Layers, egg production

Location
Rivière-Héva, Que.
 
Production
Maurice Richard and his sons Jean-Philippe and Alexandre operate an enriched 70,000-bird layer operation over four barns.

Equipment specs
Three barns have enriched systems from Farmer Automatic, with the fourth being converted next year. All the barns are heated with pellet stoves, which heat water running through the barns’ concrete floors. Wood pellets are currently being used, but in the future the Richards plan to make pellets from the farm’s crop straw and fast-growing planted trees. The barns’ ventilation system is used to dry chicken manure, which is piled in grain silos between the barns. The dried manure is crushed and pelleted, then spread on the farm’s fields or sold.

On sustainability
“Sustainability is the key to the future,” Alexandre says. “There are so many ways to use everything we can. This not only makes us more sustainable, but we are also more autonomous and financially better off. My grandfather, although he passed on when I was young, was the founder of the farm and left to us the great legacy we have now. With my father always leaving a lot of room for me and my brother to try new things, we are trying to make the best of it.”

Published in Producers
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
Development of the avian embryo, or chick, can be categorized in to one of two strategies designed to meet two very different physiological and biological needs. The avian embryo will develop as either an altricial or precocial chick, each with their own specific set of needs necessary to survive after hatch.  
Published in Bird Management
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
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
Proposed service fee increases for veterinary drugs will create serious and unintended consequences, says a new report from Agri-Food Economic Systems.

The report, commissioned by the Canadian Animal Health Institute, finds that proposed service fees for the review and maintenance of veterinary drugs are to increase up to 500 per cent, effective April 1st, 2019.

Access to veterinary drugs would become more challenging as a result of these excessively high fees. This in turn will result in fewer veterinary drugs available in Canada leaving our food animal industries in a less competitive position, and leaving pet owners and horse enthusiasts with an increasingly difficult challenge to maintain their animals’ health and welfare.

Health Canada suggests that the proposed fees make Canada consistent with those applied in the United States (US), the European Union (EU) and Australia, “But Canada has a much smaller livestock population than the US, EU, or even Australia, and as such the animal health market
from which to recover these service fees is much smaller”, says Douglas Hedley, Agri-Food Economic Systems Associate and co-author of the report. “These service fees proposed for Canada will exceed those in competing regions, on a unit basis, by a considerable margin."

The report finds that the high fees being proposed for Canada would result in fewer veterinary drugs being registered in Canada. It says that some companies will cease to market drugs for minor species and for niche products in this country. Options such as not treating and culling an
animal, finding alternative therapies to licensed medicines, increased use of compounded drugs and other unapproved products will be used in the absence of licensed veterinary drugs. In other cases, firms may attempt to pass through increased costs in pricing, and many will find animal health products unaffordable.

Reduced access to veterinary drugs could harm the health status of food animals due to the substitution of unregistered product as a means of keeping animals healthy. This in turn threatens the phytosanitary standards of Canadian food animal exports.

“The proposed fees will have unintended consequences that will hurt the safety of our food supply, our trade with foreign countries and reduce pet owner access to health management tools for their pets”, says report co-author Al Mussell, Agri-Food Economic Systems research lead.
“This is an administrative decision made without the full understanding of the ramifications for Canada’s economic competitiveness and welfare of its animals; it also sets an alarming precedent for regulatory service fees that could apply elsewhere in the agri-food chain”.

The report can be accessed at www.agrifoodecon.ca. Agri-Food Economic Systems is an independent economic research organization dedicated to agri-food located in Guelph, Ontario.
Published in Farm Business
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
As it did for most livestock species, substantial genetic improvement in turkeys started in the 21st century. In the 1960s, hybridization of turkey varieties began, followed by the development of pedigree programs for large white turkeys in the 1970s.
Published in Genetics
Actium’s Compost Drums are based on a robust, simple design that is easy to operate and reliable. Our rotating insulated drums helps the composting “bugs” break down organic matter faster.

Composting poultry mortalities creates a clean, pathogen and odor free compost. All that is required is a sufficient amount of a dry carbon source such as dry sawdust to be added to the drum with the mortalities.

Contact us for more information!
www.compostdrum.com (519) 527-2525

Video produced at the 2018 National Poutlry Show by Canadian Poultry magazine.
Published in Companies
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
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
May We Ever Be Finished? Come What May!!!

Since I last wrote, we were deeply entrenched in the construction of the Farmer Automatic Enriched Colony Housing for our next flock of pullets that will arrive later this month.

All of the kids helped with the housing at some point, but my son John put in the most hours. He has an eye for quality and spots if something was put together incorrectly. This can be anything from a missing perch cap to misaligned waterlines.

The feed trough clips, troughing sections, feed chain and feed pans at the ends all had to be assembled in a systematic order.

In addition to the various local neighbourhood young people we had working for us, we decided to take the advice of Clark Ag Systems and get a work crew of men from London to accelerate the building process. These fellows are experienced in putting hen housing together and had worked with the lead, Dennis before.

Nicole, Charlotte and I worked as a team putting the housing doors together, and then installing them on the top two levels.

We made this an enjoyable task by taking turns with who got to be on the scaffold installing them, and the person on the floor fetching doors and pushing the two on the scaffold.

Our barn has three rows of the enriched colony housing and is four levels high. We have space to put in one more row in the future.

Each side of each row must be “levelled” by adjusting the legs under each housing door. Ben worked on getting one side levelled, and Philip has had to do a lot of the rest of the rows.

This job is one of the more undesirable things to do. You have to be on your knees a lot and working just under the housing with an impact drill with a torque bit, wrenches and crowbar. A laser level is a great aid in doing this task.

The wire sections to cover up the top rows had to be installed and fastened securely with plastic zip ties.

More work on the manure ends, manure belts and egg elevators and conveyor was done as well.

The manure belts took 40 minutes to pull with the aid someone guiding them through by pulling a rope to the front and then mechanically pulled to the back with a motor.

Nick worked on making the opening for the conveyor that bring eggs into the pack room and a window for us to have a good view for monitoring the progression of the eggs when they advance into the packing room.

He enjoyed the company of anyone who would assist him (let’s be real, the guy likes having someone fetch things for him---right Charlotte and John!).

Preliminary work on the encasement for the scissor lift and was completed, and we expect to have in-floor heating installed this week and concrete floors poured in the ante room and egg packing room.

During most of April and May, the electricians have been doing the many electrical tasks to make the barn functional and safe. Our last build was many years ago and the rules, rates and safety measures needed to comply for electricians are many and inflated since that time.

I have never watched the weather so closely as I did this past winter and spring. The cold temperatures, snowfall, rain and wind all affect the particular task you are doing in or outside of the barn.

As spring seems to have finally arrived, getting on the land adds to the pressure to get the barn completed.

As a family, we have always wanted to have an open house to egg-ucate people about the direction that egg farming is going.

By 2035, conventional housing has been banned and all egg farmers must have progressed to another form of housing...be it the colony enriched, free run or free range.

We look forward to hosting the Open House together with Clark Ag Systems on Friday May 11. 

If my time permits and interest is expressed, Egg Farmerette might be persuaded to write another blog posting after our hens are settled, laying and happily clucking in their new habitat.

CLICK HERE  to read more about Cindy's experience transitioning from a conventional to an enriched layer barn.
Published in Blog
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
A team of Spanish scientists report the environmental cost of egg production in a typical farm in Spain.

Egg production has increased in recent decades, and has reached a volume of 68 million tons worldwide. The main reason is that chicken eggs are not only a valuable source of protein, but also inexpensive.

Currently, about 7 million tons of eggs are produced each year in the European Union. Spain is one of the largest producers with 1,260 farms and an average of 67,700 chickens each. | READ MORE
Published in News
Duck is succulent and rich. It’s also something a little different but not too different. What’s more, new, exciting and convenient products are making it more accessible all the time. Indeed, duck products now go far beyond whole roast duck.
Published in Companies
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