Nesting behaviour in laying hens is complex, and according to poultry scientists such as Dr. Michelle Hunniford of the department of animal biosciences at the University of Guelph in Ontario, there’s a lot left to discover.
Published in Eggs - Layers
Currently, more than 90 per cent of broiler chicken feeds contain enzyme supplements, which have a direct positive effect on animal performance.
Published in Nutrition and Feed
When it comes to disease diagnostics, time is of the essence. And yet there is currently no commercial, on-farm detection technique for poultry diseases like avian influenza (AI).
Published in Health
MSD Animal Health, known as Merck Animal Health in the United States and Canada, is proud to announce its sponsorship of the 2018 High Quality Poultry Science Award to be granted to three recently graduated students in veterinary or animal science in support of research in poultry health, production and welfare.

The award recipients will present their research to a number of industry specialists at upcoming MSD Animal Health High Quality Poultry meetings to be held in Asia, the Americas, and Europe in 2018.

"As a company committed to the Science of Healthier Animals, MSD Animal Health is proud to invest in the future of young researchers," said Taylor Barbosa, DVM, Ph.D., ACPV, executive director, Global Poultry Marketing, MSD Animal Health. "We believe this opportunity will help prepare students for their vital roles within the poultry industry and contribute to further innovation and advancements in poultry health and performance."

Eligible graduates must have completed, at minimum, a Master's or Doctoral degree in the past 12 months and have completed research for an applied project in either veterinary or animal science with an emphasis on poultry. Topics of interest include infectious diseases, vaccine development, Poultry Mite infestation control, gut health (Coccidiosis, Necrotic Enteritis), welfare, hatchery, antibiotic reduction, food safety (Salmonella, Campylobacter), and environmental impact.

To apply, candidates must submit a 300-word summary of their research project, resume and a brief letter, no longer than 300 words, describing why their work contributes to theimprovement of the poultry industry to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Applications must be submitted by April 27, 2018. The award recipients will be notified by June 1, 2018.

One student per region will be selected and must be available to travel and present their research in their respective regions in 3Q2018 (China), 3Q2018 (Argentina), and 4Q2018 (Europe). The company will assume responsibility for travel expenses incurred.
Published in News
Researchers at The Pirbright Institute have created a new method of genetically modifying the Marek’s disease vaccine so that it is able to protect against another destructive poultry virus called infectious bursal disease (IBD), and potentially others such as avian influenza and Newcastle disease. This approach could lead to a reduction in the number of vaccines that need to be administered to each bird.

For the first time, Pirbright scientists have been able to use a gene editing system called CRISPR/cas9 to add a gene of the IBD virus into a current Marek’s disease vaccine virus. The added genetic material protects poultry against IBD in addition to the protection already offered by the Marek’s disease vaccine, meaning that bird owners would only need to use one vaccine instead of two. For the full story, click here.
Published in News
Chicken is Canada's favorite protein, according to a recent survey conducted by Leger for Chicken Farmers of Canada. Eighty-four per cent of Canadians purchase fresh chicken on a regular basis, and 90 per cent place chicken among the top three meats they eat most often – consuming more Chicken than beef [72 per cent], pork [52 per cent] or other meats.

Among all respondents, 84 per cent report they have something that they like about chicken. The most common reasons Canadians like chicken products include flavour/taste, the versatility of chicken, and the fact that chicken is a healthy source of protein.

Despite their love of chicken products, the survey also reveals many Canadians don't have the full story when it comes to their knowledge of the Canadian chicken farming industry:
  • Only 43 per cent of respondents believe that Canadian chickens are raised without hormones or steroids, when in fact hormones and steroids have not been used in Canadian chicken production for more than 50 years.
  • On average, respondents who gave an answer, believed only 45 per cent of chicken farms in Canada are family owned and operated, when in reality Canada is home to 2,800 chicken farms and over 90 per cent are family owned and operated.
  • 57 per cent of respondents correctly believe there are animal welfare standards applicable to all chicken farms across Canada. These standards are consistent, mandatory and third-party audited.
  • 34 per cent of Canadians believe chicken is the most sustainable meat, and this checks out: Canadian chicken farms lead in sustainability with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions among all livestock commodities.
  • When you have access to the facts, it's clear: Canadian chicken farms lead the way in sustainability while providing affordable food to Canadians. The industry is a key economic driver, sustaining 87,000 jobs across the country while contributing $6.8 billion to GDP and $2.2 billion in tax revenue to all levels of government.
Survey completed by Leger: An online survey of 1,500 Canadians was completed between Nov 13 and 23, 2017, using Leger's online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.
Published in News
Begin with the end in mind. This simple leadership mantra captures the essence of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) research on understanding Canadians’ expectations regarding trust and transparency in our food and how it’s produced. Before investing millions in changing farm and food production practices or in efforts to communicate with the public, it’s important to have a solid understanding of public perceptions and concerns. To be most effective, this investment should be part of a long-term game plan with proactive, collaborative thinking.  
Published in Consumer Issues
In a new initiative, the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO) is launching a new public advisory panel.

The College is currently seeking applications from members of the non-veterinary public to fill 10 positions on a panel. CVO says this is an opportunity for those who own animals or are involved in the animal sector, to contribute to the development of veterinary policy and support the College's mandate in serving the public interest in Ontario.

For more information, visit:

Published in News
The provincial government will invest up to $713 million toward a unique agreement between the University of Guelph and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) to further discovery and innovation and position Canada as a world leader in agri-food.

Through the renewed OMAFRA-U of G agreement, OMAFRA and U of G will build on world-class agri-food research, including new advances in artificial intelligence, big data analytics and precision agriculture.

“Scientific research is critical to developing innovations that benefit people, animals and the environment,” said U of G president Franco Vaccarino. Agri-food innovation also attracts investment and highly skilled talent, making the economy more robust, creating jobs and sustaining strong communities, he said.

The agreement brings together academia, government and industry to support and enhance Ontario’s agri-food sector through cutting-edge research and innovation.

The commitment to the agreement was renewed for another 10 years today during an event at U of G attended by leaders from industry, government, and academic institutions.

“The partnership has led to breakthrough discoveries and revolutionary advancements during the past two decades. It demonstrates the profound impact that government and universities can have when they work closely together with shared goals,” Vaccarino said.

“This novel partnership has positioned Ontario and Guelph as the epicentre of agricultural research and innovation in Canada, and supported industry development and growth – contributing billions to Ontario’s economy.”

Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Minister Responsible for Small Business, said, “Our government looks forward to continuing to partner with the University of Guelph to ensure Ontario’s agri-food sector is the most innovative and productive in the world, producing the highest quality and safest food for Canada and the world.”

Agri-food is a leading Ontario economic sector, contributing more than $37 billion to the province’s economy and employing more than 800,000 people.

As highlighted by Dominic Barton and the Advisory Council on Economic Growth, Canada can be a global leader in agri-food, with new value-added products, technologies, and solutions, said Malcolm Campbell, U of G’s vice-president (research).

He added that one of today’s great global challenges is safely feeding the world’s rising population while protecting the environment.

“It’s a hefty challenge, but U of G, as Canada’s food university, is up to the task. We have a 150-year legacy in agri-food and a reputation for innovation and discovery,” Campbell said.

The OMAFRA-U of G Agreement will provide the platform necessary to create new knowledge, and devise novel technologies and agricultural practices to produce safe, nutritious food while preserving biodiversity, animal welfare, and human health.

U of G is first in Canada and 14th in the world for agricultural science according to the U.S. News & World Report ranking of best global universities for agricultural sciences.

The Ontario Veterinary College is first in Canada, third in North America and sixth worldwide among veterinary colleges in a ranking by Quacquarelli Symonds, which names the world’s best universities in 46 academic subjects.

The University’s $77-million Food from Thought research project, funded by the federal government in 2016, is creating novel tools for producing more and safer food while also protecting the environment.

U of G and OMAFRA established an enhanced agreement in 1997; it was renewed for 10 years in 2008. The new agreement will take effect April 1, 2018.

Under the new agreement, the University receives up to $71.3 million a year to manage research and innovation programs and related facilities, including the Ridgetown Campus, the Agriculture and Food Laboratory program, the Animal Health Laboratory program, and 15 research stations and centres.

The Agreement also supports knowledge mobilization and commercialization.

Examples of innovations stemming from the OMAFRA-U of G Agreement:
  • New detection methods and management systems for diseases such as avian influenza and biocontainment facilities. Researchers study highly hazardous food and animal-to-human pathogens and viruses such as West Nile virus and tuberculosis, and lower-level pathogens, such as coli 0157:H7, Salmonella and Listeria, in a safe and secure environment
  • The world’s first compostable coffee pod, PurPod100, developed by a research team at U of G’s Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre working with Club Coffee and Competitive Green Technologies
  • Governor General’s Award for Innovation-winning technology to identify and breed cows with better immunity to diseases, reducing antibiotic use and saving livestock producers millions of dollars annually
  • A national research group studying cropping practices that mimic natural ecosystems and improve resiliency to climate change
  • The commercialization of discoveries and innovations via Gryphon’s LAAIR (Leading to the Accelerated Adoption of Innovative Research). Researchers pitch their ideas to a panel of industry experts and business managers; winners receive grants to turn ideas and discoveries into a marketable product or technology
  • Research on biocarbon and other unconventional fuels to improve efficiency and sustainability
  • A natural formula, hexanal, to prolong the shelf life of fresh produce
  • Smartphone applications that identify and control field pests
Published in News
A Japanese scientist and his team have cracked open a method to improve the production of carbon-free energy—by using proteins taken from egg white.

Yusuke Yamada, a professor at Osaka City University, said his team has managed to use protein from egg white as a "tool" for producing hydrogen, a powerful source of clean electricity. The new method "brings us closer to our ultimate goal of producing hydrogen from water," Yamada told AFP.

When it reacts with oxygen, hydrogen produces electricity, releasing only water and heat in the process. But hydrogen is currently mass-produced using natural gas or fossil fuels, which themselves result in harmful emissions. It can be produced in labs without fossil fuels and scientists have traditionally done this by creating a special interaction of the molecules in liquid, explained Yamada. For the full story, click here.
Published in News
Canadian Poultry Magazine strives to provide the industry with informative and timely information and innovations to help maximize profitability, efficiency and safety. As a reader, we are requesting your help with this goal.

Please lend us five minutes of your time to complete the CP Reader’s Survey. Through this survey our editorial team hopes to gather input from producers across the country in order to develop a more thorough understanding the issues readers want to see addressed by industry experts between our pages.

All responses to this survey are completely confidential. Thank-you in advance for your valuable opinions.

Take the survey now!

Take the survey before Feb. 9, 2018 and you will be entered into a draw to an iPad Mini!

Published in Company News
August 25, 2017 - For its latest World Mycotoxin Survey, Biomin conducted more than 33,000 analyses on 8,452 finished feed and raw commodity samples from 63 countries from January to June 2017.

These analyses covered common components used for feed such as corn, wheat, barley, rice, soybean meal, corn gluten meal, dried distillers grains (DDGS) and silage, among others.
Results of the analyses found that deoxynivalenol (DON) and fumonisins (FUM) are the most common mycotoxins found in feedstuffs.

The survey details the incidence of the main mycotoxins occurring in agricultural commodities, which include aflatoxins (Afla), zearalenone (ZEN), deoxynivalenol, T-2 toxin (T-2), fumonisins and ochratoxin A (OTA).

Overall, deoxynivalenol and fumonisins were detected in 81 per cent and 71 per cent of all samples at average levels of 798 parts per billion (ppb) and 1,840 ppb, respectively. Out of all samples, 52 per cent were contaminated by zearalenone. Aflatoxins, T-2 and OTA were present in 26 per cent, 19 per cent and 18 per cent of samples, respectively.

Ninety-four per cent of all samples contained at least one mycotoxin, and 76 per cent of all samples contained two or more mycotoxins. READ MORE
Published in Nutrition and Feed
Half of Canadians are unsure about whether our food system is going in the right direction. It’s with this as the backdrop that the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) launched last summer. Its goal is to help Canada’s food system earn trust through research, dialogue and forums.

Understanding consumer concerns and questions is the important base everyone in the food system needs to set benchmarks for success in communicating with Canadians about our food and how it’s produced.  

Success will only happen if there are shifts between consumer expectations and industry practices – the two must be more closely aligned.

New public trust research by CCFI aims to help bridge that gap. It shows the rising cost of food and access to healthy, affordable food as two top concerns for Canadians, above concerns for health care or the economy. But with 93 per cent of Canadians saying they know little or nothing about farming, determining fact from fiction about our food continues to be a growing issue.

The study, which polled 2,510 Canadians, shows two-thirds want to know more about how their food is produced. Overall impressions of agriculture and trust in farmers and researchers are high.

However, when asked specific questions on topics like antibiotics, environmental stewardship or GMOs, the support shifts significantly from positive to close to half being unsure.   

When people are unsure, it’s easiest to be against something. Advocating for scientific advancements in general requires significant planning, strategy and resources to be effective. Advocating for scientific advancements related to food requires even more effort and investment.   

After studying lessons from losing social licence and public trust in other sectors like oil and gas and forestry and agri-food sectors in other countries, we clearly need to be proactive and transparent about how our food is produced in Canada. The CCFI research shows it’s an opportune time to open up more dialogue with Canadians. Let’s bridge the gap between farm gates and dinner plates!

Crystal Mackay is president of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, which represents a coalition of farmers and associated food and agri-businesses proactively working together to provide credible information on food and farming. She is a dynamic presenter who has delivered hundreds of presentations to a broad range of audiences from farmers to university students to CEOs across North America. Visit for more information on the organization’s work and a summary of key research findings. Look for new work on public trust in food and transparency to be released at the CCFI Public Trust Summit Sept. 18-20, 2017 in Calgary.
Published in Consumer
August 2, 2017, Alberta - As a child, poultry researcher Sasha van der Klein didn’t beg her parents for a puppy, but for pet chickens. By eventually fulfilling her request, her parents put her solidly on the path that has led to a Vanier Scholarship, Canada’s most prestigious award for PhD students.

Van der Klein’s award is one of 10 Vaniers earned by University of Alberta students for 2017, and the only one for the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, where she is studying under the supervision of Martin Zuidhof, an expert in poultry precision feeding.

Her thesis is investigating how day length during the rearing period of broiler breeders and controlling their body weight affects their reproductive success and nesting behaviour.

“When you give them too much light, it prevents the birds from becoming sexually mature and laying eggs in the year they are hatched,” said van der Klein.

Broiler breeders, the parents of the meat-type chicken, have to get short day lengths when they grow up, to mimic the winter season, just as most birds get in nature, she said.

“This helps the chances of survival of the offspring—it’s essential for the offspring to be hatched in favourable conditions. In nature, the parents sexually mature in spring, and that increases the chicks’ chance to survive. The cue is day length, as winter days are shorter than summer days.”

By answering such questions as how long the hens who had light controls during rearing look for a nest, how long they sit on the nest, and how many eggs they finally produce, she hopes to offer the poultry industry solutions for an array of concerns. These include the high percentage of unusable floor eggs broiler breeders are prone to lay, the poor overall productivity of broiler breeder hens, and also how producers can be most efficient with feed.

Vanier Scholarships are worth $50,000 per year for three years and are difficult to attain because selection criteria includes not just a student’s academic excellence and the research potential of their project, but also the leadership the students demonstrate in their community or academic life.

Although van der Klein is an international student who moved from the Netherlands to pursue her PhD at the University of Alberta, she quickly became immersed in assisting with complex student affairs on campus. For the past two years, she has been the vice-president of labour for the Graduate Students’ Association, assisting graduate students with compliance issues in their research or teaching assistant contracts. This year, she will be negotiating a new collective agreement for graduate students at the university.

The Vanier Scholarship definitely relieves some of the many challenges a PhD student must cope with, and that’s especially welcome when a thesis project involves responsibility for the welfare of more than 200 chickens, said van der Klein.

“I’m thankful to have a great team and many volunteers that helped me during my experiments, but even then the commitment to being a farmer at the same time as being a student is an intense responsibility,” she said.

Van der klein’s research will take advantage of a new feeding system developed at the University of Alberta that minimizes variation in broiler breeder body weights, said Zuidhof

“By controlling this variable, we have already had important new insights into sexual maturation that have not been possible previously,” he said. “Ultimately, commercial application of Sasha’s precision feeding research could decrease nitrogen, phosphorus and CO2 emissions by the broiler breeders by 25 per cent, which is transformational for the poultry industry.”
Published in Researchers
July 28, 2017, Qingdao, China – Experts from agricultural colleges and research institutions throughout China joined together to discuss agricultural and environmental challenges, including how to reduce waste and making farming operations more sustainable, at a recent Alltech China Research Alliance meeting, held in Qingdao.

Alltech China has built long-term cooperative research relationships with 10 well-known universities, research institutes and leading feed and food enterprises.

“The Alltech China Research Alliance is focused on building toward a green agriculture future in China,” said Dr. Mark Lyons, global vice president and head of Greater China for Alltech. “The roadmap to this future requires practical solutions, which will be developed through advanced scientific research and technology and the powerful partnership of these leading agricultural minds.”

Defa Li, professor at China Agricultural University and academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and Kangsen Mai, professor at Ocean University of China and academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, along with more than 30 other professors from agricultural colleges and research institutions, attended and spoke at the meeting, sharing the results of their latest research.

“This meeting of the alliance explored how to reduce antibiotic residues in food, how to effectively use limited resources in the midst of population explosion, and how to reduce water and soil pollution,” said Karl Dawson, vice president and chief scientific officer at Alltech.

A new mycotoxin detection method

The Institute of Agriculture Quality Standards and Testing Technology for Agro-Products of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (IQSTAP) has established a method for the simultaneous detection of 21 mycotoxins, or their metabolite residues, in the plasma of animals. These include toxins such as aflatoxin B1. This testing is expected to become the agricultural industry standard for the detection of mycotoxins in China.

Recently, Alltech and IQSTAP published an article entitled "Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry for Simultaneous Determination of 21 Kinds of Mycotoxins or Their Metabolites in Animal Plasma." Dr. Ruiguo Wang of IQSTAP, who introduced the study, says that it established a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method that simultaneously detects animal plasma aflatoxin B1 and 21 other kinds of mycotoxins or their metabolite residue.

Existing mycotoxin detection methods have very complex sample treatment operations, and high detection costs make it generally difficult to do a variety of simultaneous determinations of mycotoxins. The QuEChERS method (Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged, Safe) is a fast, sample pre-treatment technology developed for agricultural products. It uses the interaction between adsorbent filler and the impurities in the matrix to adsorb impurities to achieve purification.

In this study, 21 samples of mycotoxins and their metabolites in animal plasma were developed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) based on the QuEChERS principle. The method is simple, rapid, low-cost and accurate. It can be used for combined mycotoxin animal exposure assessment and mycotoxin toxicokinetic study. Wang said this method has been submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China for review and is expected to pass as a fungal detector by agriculture industry standards.

Functional ingredients for better pork quality

Another breakthrough came from collaboration between Alltech and Jiangnan University to improve food safety and quality. A Jiangnan University research project showed that the addition of rapeseed selenium in the diet can improve the quality of pork, increasing its water-holding capacity and tenderness. An article published based on Alltech and Jiangnan University’s study confirmed that the additions of flaxseed oil and sesame selenium to the diet can improve pork quality, reducing drip loss by 58–74 percent. The organic selenium diets increased muscular selenium content up to 54 percent. Flaxseed oil and selenium can be used to alter the fatty acid structure of pork, increase omega-3 fatty acids and reduce the proportion of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids in meat, which can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in consumers.

Minerals matter: How trace minerals can impact pollution

Improper sewage treatment and greenhouse gas emissions are leading to heavy pollution of water, soil and air, and some small-scale farms have been closed because of this pollution.

"This will require improved feed conversion, which will reduce damage to the environment without affecting the performance of the animal," said Li.

Inorganic trace minerals in feeds have contributed to this environmental pollution. Due to their low absorption rates, 80–90 percent of inorganic zinc and copper will generally be excreted by the animal, contaminating water and soil.

Organic trace minerals, however, are absorbed more readily. Alltech’s Total Replacement Technology™ is a groundbreaking approach to organic trace mineral nutrition. It features products such as Bioplex®, which includes copper, iron, zinc and manganese, and Sel-Plex®, which includes selenium. Compared to conventional inorganic minerals, these formulations are better absorbed, stored and utilized by the animal and are thus able to meet the higher nutrient needs of modern livestock for rapid growth, maximum reproductive performance and animal health. Additionally, because they are absorbed more readily, less is excreted into the environment.

Some Chinese feed companies are already using Alltech’s Total Replacement Technology. In addition to aiding in animal performance and health, many customers have noted it improves the smell of pig farms.
Published in Environment
July 26, 2017. Madison, NJ - Recently, Merck Animal Health (known as MSD Animal Health outside the USA and Canada) hosted its High Quality Poultry Congress (HQPC) for Europe and the Middle East in Prague, Czech Republic.

The main theme of this HQPC was “Broiler Production in the face of the Changing Consumer Landscape.” The Congress brought together experts from all over the world, who spoke about antibiotic free (ABF) production, nutritional health, hatchery management, animal welfare, and intestinal and respiratory disease control.

Attendees also had the opportunity to hear about the role of INNOVAX-ILT and INNOVAX-ND vaccines for control of Marek’s, Newcastle disease and Infectious Laryngotracheitis, including a customer presentation about their experience with the products.

“We are very proud to have had this opportunity to serve the poultry industry and support our customers as they adapt to an evolving marketplace and new consumer demands,” said William Vaughn, Global Poultry Marketing Director at Merck Animal Health.

Speakers at the High Quality Poultry Congress included:
  • Pavel Mikoska (AHOLD Central Europe) – Consumer & Retailer Perspective
  • Jeff Courtney, DVM (Pilgrim’s Pride) –  Antibiotic Free Production: USA Industry Perspective
  • Dr. Atle Lovland (Nortura) – Managing Production and Broiler Health in the Norwegian ABF Programme
  • Ron Meijerhof (Poultry Performance Plus) – Managing for Chick Quality Using Management Techniques in Hatchery & Brooding
  • Ellen van Eerden (Schothorst Feed Research) – Nutritional Perspectives for ABF Programs
  • Daniel Dring (PD Hood Hatcheries) – Managing Antibiotic Free Production and Bird Welfare in a UK Integration
  • Florence Humbert (FlowBio-Veto) – Food Safety Implications of ABF
  • Richard Currie (x-OvO) – Next Generation Sequencing: Validating the Protectotype Concept
Merck Animal Health also introduced at this Congress, its first High Quality Poultry Science Award. This Award was established to offer students of poultry science the opportunity to share their research with a large global audience of poultry industry specialists.

The 2017 award was presented to Dr. Vishi Reddy, a post-doctoral scientist at The Pirbright Institute, who presented on “Novel Insights in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Laryngotracheitis and Bronchitis Viruses in Chickens.”

On behalf of the attendants of the High Quality Poultry Congress, Merck Animal Health also made a donation to the International Egg Foundation (IEF) in support of their mission to help famers in developing countries sustainably produce eggs to give more people access to a high-quality source of protein.
Published in Research
July 24, 2017, Lexington, KY - Connecting the farm to the lab through research is critical for agricultural innovation. Illustrating its commitment to encouraging student research, Alltech presented the 34th Alltech Student Research Manuscript Award to Matthew Aardsma of Purdue University during the 106th annual Poultry Science Association meeting, held in Orlando, Florida, July 17–20.

The Alltech Student Research Manuscript Award is given to a student who is the senior author of an outstanding research manuscript in Poultry Science or The Journal of Applied Poultry Research.

Aardsma’s winning paper titled, Relative metabolizable energy values for fats and oils in young broilers and adult roosters, focused on developing a bio-assay where feed-grade fats and oils were evaluated for their relative metabolizable energy content quickly and accurately. The paper showed results for several fats and oils that are commonly fed in the poultry industry, and that the results obtained for adult roosters are the same with young broiler chickens.

"Research is an integral part of Alltech and the poultry industry's success to date," said Dr. Ted Sefton, director of poultry for Alltech Canada. "Alltech is proud to sponsor the Alltech Student Research Manuscript Award to encourage students to publish their research in peer-reviewed journals and communicate new technologies and discoveries being made in the lab that can have a direct impact on the farm."

Aardsma grew up in Central Illinois, where his parents encouraged him to explore his interests in agriculture and animal production. He received his bachelor’s degree in animal sciences from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2013 and his master’s degree in animal sciences with an emphasis in poultry nutrition in 2015, working with Dr. Carl Parsons. After a summer internship at Southern Illinois University working in aquaculture nutrition, he began a Ph.D. program in animal nutrition at Purdue University.

Aardsma is currently studying with Jay Johnson and focusing on nutrition-based stress physiology in poultry and swine.

Alltech has sponsored the Alltech Student Research Manuscript Award since 2000, recognizing young leaders in scientific innovation for their commitment to publishing and sharing their work within the poultry sector.
Published in Researchers
Smart agriculture is one of several terms used to refer to the expansion of precision agriculture. Poultry producers have adopted some precision agriculture tools, particularly as they relate to the in-barn environment and monitoring barn conditions.

Smart agriculture is the combination of precision agriculture and big data to provide livestock producers with online, continuous and automatic monitoring of animals and their environment to support optimal management.

It uses a broad range of components – big data, robotics, drones, sensors, etc. – that have to be harmonized to provide real-time measurement or estimation. This allows farm managers to immediately react to data and information.

Livestock processing and input sectors are also adopting smart management features in their businesses. However, the poultry sector has been slower than other livestock industries to adopt them. Part of this delay is because very little research and innovation needed to develop poultry sector-specific technologies has been conducted in Canada.

Also, poultry producers may not fully recognize how these tools could enable their sector to generate higher efficiency and productivity. Applying smart agriculture tools to a cow or sow is easier to understand than how they might apply to a chicken or turkey. It is easier to apply monitoring and decision-making systems to large animals that have significant value and that can be fitted with individual monitoring devices.

Yet, there are a few Canadian universities conducting research on smart agriculture applications for poultry. Dr. Martin Zuidhof of the University of Alberta is developing a precision feeder system for broiler breeders to ensure more consistency in bird condition when egg laying begins in order to improve flock production.

What’s more, the University of Guelph’s Dr. Suresh Neethirajan is developing rapid diagnostic tools for use at the point of care, such as within the poultry barn, to identify disease outbreaks without the delay required for laboratory analysis.  

The Canadian Poultry Research Centre (CPRC) recently added smart agriculture tools to the list of categories for its annual call for Letters of Intent (LOI). It is also investigating methods to identify potential industry issues that might be addressed using this comprehensive approach to management information and decision-making systems.

CPRC 2017 Board of Directors

CPRC’s full board returned for 2017 and has been busy working on the 2017 call for LOIs. It has also been hard at work preparing for the expected Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s call for proposals for a new Science Cluster program under the 2018 to 2023 Agricultural Policy Framework and issues that arise from the ongoing administration of the 38 active research projects.

CPRC is grateful to its member organizations for their continued support of its operations and its appointees to the board of directors. Board members include: Tim Keet, chair and Chicken Farmers of Canada representative; Helen Anne Hudson, vice-chair and Egg Farmers of Canada representative; Erica Charlton, representing Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council and the third member of CPRC’s executive committee; Murray Klassen, representing Canadian Hatching Egg Producers; and Brian Ricker, who represents Turkey Farmers of Canada.

CPRC also appreciates the ongoing support and input from staff appointed by member organizations to support their representatives on the board of directors.

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

The membership of the CPRC 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. CPRC’s mission is to address its members’ needs through dynamic leadership in the creation and implementation of programs for poultry research in Canada, which may also include societal concerns.
Published in New Technology
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

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 11, 2017 - Significant economic losses are attributed to immunosuppression in the poultry industry worldwide.

Exposure to stressors in the poultry production environment, along with infectious diseases (viral or bacterial) that impair immunity, contribute to an overall reduction in flock health, causing a decrease in productivity.

Among the different viral diseases, infectious bursal disease (IBD), Marek’s and chicken infectious anemia (CIA), are the mainly recognized and implicated viruses, causing direct negative effects on the immune system, thereby increasing susceptibility to other diseases and interfering with vaccinal immunity.

In immunosuppressed birds, vaccine take can be decreased or post-vaccine reactions can be excessive, allowing secondary bacterial infections, like E. coli, to enter and manifest, thus requiring antibiotic treatment.

It is therefore imperative, to reduce immunosuppression to enhance the immune system, and to establish barriers to the most common routes of infection by avian pathogens. And this can only be done by building a good and solid immune foundation.

How to establish a good foundation? A solid immune foundation not only enhances the immune system, but also prevents entry of other pathogens by establishing barriers. This can be done by passively protecting the progeny through breeder vaccination programs and by protecting growing chickens against immunosuppressive diseases, and their economic consequences.

Many of the vaccinations performed in the field are being moved to the hatchery, which can be done either in ovo, as early as 18 days of embryonation, and at day-old of newly hatched birds. READ MORE
Published in Health
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