Video Library
As the due date approaches for the transition from conventional cages to either fully enriched or cage-free layer systems, we will discuss the differences between these systems. We also will explore the other question many farms are facing: build a new barn or retrofit an existing structure. Join us as we share on these important topics, and respond to your questions.
Published in Webinars
January 15, 2018, Sheffield Mills, N.S. - Dozens of eagles dot the branches of tall trees overlooking a snow-covered Nova Scotia farm field, a bitter wind cutting through their wings as they take turns leaving their perches to swoop through blue skies.

A photographer snaps a photo from the edge of the quiet country road in Sheffield Mills, where roughly 150 eagles and other birds of prey convene to take advantage of the region's chicken farms, of which there are dozens.

The rural farming community, located roughly 100 kilometres northwest of Halifax, has become a destination for shutterbugs, wildlife enthusiasts and tourists looking to take in the impressive sight.

``The birds are gigantic and beautiful,'' said Megan Hodges, a member of the Sheffield Mills Community Association and a local councillor.

``They really don't congregate like this in many other places, in Canada or the world, so it's very cool that they are here. They're so healthy and happy and inspiring.''

Michael Gautreau, a local resident and member of the organizing committee for an annual bird watching festival, says it's the largest eagle population in eastern North America.

Every day between late December and late March, resident Malcolm Lake picks up a bin full of chicken carcasses - left for him by area farmers - and brings the scraps to the field.

He then flings them across the ground, far enough away from the corner of Bains and Middle Dyke roads so that the eagles are not disturbed by humans during their meal.

The feedings - of which there are two or three per day - are one reason the eagles are drawn to the region, as well as the Annapolis Valley's slightly milder climate, which motivates birds from places like windswept Cape Breton to migrate there during the winter months.

``Many years ago, all the farmers used to just chuck out the chicken scraps on their property, so there was all sorts of availability. That stopped largely because of scares of bird flu,'' said Lake, who moved to Sheffield Mills about six years ago.

Feeding the eagles during the winter is a tradition that goes back decades, and one marked each year by the Sheffield Mills Eagles Watch, which throws the annual festival.

This year's event, the 27th annual, is being held over two weekends - on Jan. 27 and 28 and on Feb. 3 and 4.

More than 1,000 people from across Canada and the U.S. descend upon the sleepy countryside each year for the event, braving chilly temperatures to watch the majestic birds in flight, screeching as they snatch up the free food - sometimes clashing with each other over the scraps.

``We're always praying to the weather gods that they will send us clear, cold weekends. The eagles love it when it's cold and they're really active at that time,'' said Hodges on the edge of the field, as eagles floated through the air behind her.

Pancakes made with locally-sourced ingredients are served each morning of the event at the historic Sheffield Mills Community Hall, a century-old two-room schoolhouse.

New to this year's festival is a partnership between the community association and the Glooscap First Nation, located roughly 35 kilometres southeast of Sheffield Mills.

An eagle watch kickoff party dubbed ``Kitpu'' - the Mi'kmaq word for eagle - will be held at the community hall on the evening of Jan. 26, with local food, wine and entertainment, including the Eastern Eagle Drummers. Trevor Gould of Glooscap First Nation will be outdoors by a bonfire spouting Glooscap legends and lore.

The birds are fed around 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. each day of the event.

Gautreau noted that a common misconception is that chickens are being sacrificed to feed the eagles, but they're only fed the scraps that are leftover after processing.

``They would scavenge for that no matter what, so we're just feeding them when the ground is snow-covered so they don't have to hunt,'' said Gautreau. ``It's a tradition and the eagles love it.''
Published in Producers
December 6, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - The holidays are a time when the issue of hunger seems to hit home a little harder, and when an army of Food Bank volunteers continue to work, helping their neighbours.

This season, Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) has decided to celebrate those generous people with a delicious and nutritious surprise breakfast hosted by none other than Chef Lynn Crawford.

"I have been a partner of Egg Farmers of Canada for many years now and I know how deeply Canadian egg farmers are rooted in their communities," chef Lynn Crawford, EFC's national chef ambassador, said in a press release.

"Preparing this meal to say thank you to food banks volunteers was a very humbling experience."

EFC has been supporting Food Banks Canada for more than two decades, helping to deliver fresh, nutritious food items that help the issue of hunger in Canada.

"Every year, egg farmers donate more than a million eggs to community food banks," EFC chairman Roger Pelissero said.

"We're proud to partner with Food Banks Canada and Chef Lynn Crawford and are happy to celebrate the people who, by volunteering their time, contribute to the fabric of our communities."

Along with its affiliates, Food Banks Canada assists over 860,000 Canadians who turn to food banks each month.

Throughout the holiday season there is an increased demand for food banks services, creating a greater need for volunteers, support and donations.

"Sometimes an action as simple as making a cherished recipe or a meal can bring a lot of joy in someone's life," added Tania Little, director of development and partnerships at Food Banks Canada.

"We're very touched by the wonderful breakfast Egg Farmers of Canada and Chef Lynn Crawford prepared for our volunteers."

In the spirit of the holiday season, EFC and Food Banks Canada is calling on all Canadians to set aside some time for friends and neighbours who need them.

Bring joy to someone's life by sharing a cherished recipe or a meal on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #RecipesThatGive, or by supporting your local food bank.
Published in Companies
Blog number three follows what turned out to be a very busy November. I knew things were ramping up when I heard my husband Nick tell a salesman that he “wished there were two of him”.

First, I think I should elaborate on why we chose to convert to an enriched colony system. We looked at free-run and free-range, but our gut is telling us that the consumer will still want to purchase the cheapest eggs available in grocery stores.

Our son works at Food Basics and sees the specialty eggs passed over. Actually, they have to be shipped back as they are on the shelf to the expiry date.

As a family, including our children (all of whom are in their twenties), we decided we did not want to work in an environment where our hens would greet us openly upon entering the barn.

We also think an enriched system will give us more control with respect to animal care, our routine and the amount of time we spend in the barn.

In addition, we would probably have to have a bigger barn for free-run or free-range. That being the case, our present building site would have been compromised by size and perhaps would have had to be moved to a different location on the farm.

We decided to stay with Clark Ag Systems partly because they are only a half-hour away. Being nearby has aided in service calls for repairs to our conventional system.

What’s more, the Farmer Automatic system includes many interesting add-ons. I will discuss these more when we are at the housing installation phase of the build.

A busy month
In the last month, concrete work finally began. We built the forms for the concrete walls in the cooler, packing room and front area of the barn in a few days.

The first cement truck came on November 6th. This was exciting and relieved some stress for both of us, as we could see the barn build finally physically taking shape.

We had to bring in loads of stone. Also, the barn floor had to be levelled and packed with a roller to make a smooth floor for the concrete that would be poured on top in the future.

We used the services of Chris Best to haul in stone, move it, roll it and pack it. They also helped with excavating a new electrical line.

In the week of November 20th, three contractors were working on the same day.

Two were doing the concrete walls. Three were moving stone from the dump pile to a dump truck to the back of the barn site, spreading it on the floor and rolling/packing the stone to make a level floor.

And three men from Jorna Construction had started the preliminary work for building the first wall.

Nick is being the general contractor for the barn build project. He was overseeing all aspects, such as making sure the present water line from the deep well to our existing layer barn was buried beneath the floor, doing drawings for fan placement so the builder made the correct size of opening in the side walls and getting anything else that was needed.

Building a cistern under the cooler was a last minute decision. There was such a large hole under the cooler that it made more sense to use it as a cistern, instead of filling it in with gravel.

In that week, we also had the electricians come and install underground conduit for the electrical service. I think at least 10 truckloads of stone were brought in, and three loads made by the cement truck.

On Wednesday, November 22, the first west framed wall was up, and the size difference of the new barn compared to the present conventionally housed barn is quite impressive.

The opposite east wall was up two days later and we had the weekend to gaze upon all of the week’s efforts.

Saturday, Nick called upon a former worker to help him take down more of the existing pig barn so the carpenter has more working space at the south (far) end.

We are going to hold on to our hats for December, as it looks like we will need good weather to get everything enclosed before winter.

Even with all of this activity, barn chores still must get done. I find myself in the barn alone more, but know it is important for Nick to be present when building work is being done.

I can hear lots of extra banging, vehicles beeping, engines revving and hammering from inside the barn. I do think the chickens are getting used to this!
Published in Producers
July 12, 2017 - Biosecurity needs to be approached as a comprehensive process, not as a series of segregated actions, according to Jean Sander, DVM, senior technical services veterinarian for Zoetis.

For example, people about to enter a poultry house will put on their boots, coveralls, hair nets, but then remember they need a piece of equipment that’s in another house. They quickly retrieve it and bring it into another building without cleaning it first.

That’s a breach of biosecurity, Sander told Poultry Health Today.

The intent is to try and do the right thing, but too often biosecurity isn’t viewed holistically, continued the veterinarian, who primarily works with layer producers. READ MORE 
Published in Biosecurity
June 29, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - Yorkshire Valley Farms is pleased to launch its organic pasture-raised egg program for the 2017 season.

In addition to following organic practices, farmers in the pasture-raised program provide an enhanced pasture area for hens to forage outdoors. As with all Yorkshire Valley Farms laying hens, the pasture birds enjoy organic non-GMO feed and a cage-free environment in which to lay their eggs.

Since ‘pasture-raised’ is not a defined labelling term in Canada, Yorkshire Valley Farms set about to create a set of standards to which all participating pasture farmers must adhere.

These pasture-raised criteria incorporate the organic standards, while also requiring that hens spend a minimum of 6 hours outdoors per day, weather permitting, in an organically-managed pasture that offers at least 20 ft2 (1.85m2) per hen.

The realities of the Ontario climate mean that this enhanced pasture access can only be ensured for a limited period each year. The pasture program generally runs from late May to October and the eggs are offered as a special seasonal offering.

When consumers buy a Yorkshire Valley Farms product labelled ‘pasture’, they are getting a product that comes from animals that have truly spent time outdoors, foraging on pasture.

In 2016, CBC Marketplace conducted nutritional analysis of a range of eggs and found that eggs from hens that spend time on pasture have higher concentrations of fat-soluble vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. In particular, eggs from Yorkshire Valley Farms growers had more than double the amount of vitamin D, 3.5 times more vitamin E, and were the lowest in saturated fat compared to other eggs included in the sample set.
Published in Companies
May 9, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. – Dr. Bonnie Mallard, professor at the University of Guelph (U of G) has been named a recipient of the 2017 Governor General’s Innovation Award.

Mallard created the High Immune Response Technology (HIR), which manages livestock health through genetic identification. This sustainable and efficient approach was designed to meet consumer expectations for healthy, non-GMO products while maintaining profitability and addressing global food demands.

Mallard was nominated for the award by Universities Canada.

The Governor General's Innovation Awards recognize and celebrate outstanding Canadian individuals, teams and organizations whose exceptional and transformative work help shape our future and positively impact our quality of life.

The Governor General will present the awards to the winners during a ceremony at Rideau Hall, in Ottawa, on May 23, 2017, at 6 p.m.

Listed below are the other winners and their citations:

David Brown
Island View, New Brunswick

David Brown founded MyCodev Group in order to resolve a lack of supply of chitosan, a valuable pharmaceutical ingredient that is essential in a wide variety of medical devices and drugs. Mr. Brown's innovative technology produces chitosan directly from a fungal fermentation, a process that uses very little energy or chemicals. Mycodev Group is only four years old and is selling its chitosan to major pharmaceutical and medical device companies around the world.
Nominated by Futurpreneur Canada

Marie-Odile Junker
Ottawa, Ontario

Marie-Odile Junker has been a pioneer with respect to endangered Aboriginal languages in Canada, exploring how information and communication technologies can be used to preserve these languages. She has also brought together numerous speaker communities by using a participatory-action research framework that has resulted in the creation of several collaborative websites, including the Algonquian Linguistic Atlas and its online dictionary.
Nominated by Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Patricia Lingley-Pottie and Patrick McGrath (Strongest Families Institute)
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Dr. Patricia Lingley-Pottie and Dr. Patrick McGrath are the creators of the Strongest Families Institute, a non-profit organization that delivers evidence-based programs to children, youth and families through a unique distance-delivery system. Using proprietary software technology, trained coaches are able to connect with users by phone or via the Internet, thus allowing families greater flexibility when accessing services. The programs address common mental health problems and other issues impacting overall health and well-being.
Nominated by Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation

Audra Renyi
Montréal, Quebec

Audra Renyi co-founded World Wide Hearing (WWH) Foundation, which uses affordable technology, market incentives and rapid training to help underprivileged people affected by hearing loss. Ms. Renyi is also the founder and CEO of earAccess, a for-profit social enterprise that aims to cut the price of hearing aids by 75 per cent. HAW uses innovative distribution models to ensure hearing aids and related services are available to those who need them the most.
Nominated by Grand Challenges Canada

Paul Santerre
Toronto, Ontario
Dr. Paul Santerre invented Endexo technology, a unique compound of surface-modifying macro molecules that are added to plastics during the manufacturing process of medical devices, like catheters. The special coating helps reduce clotting when the devices are used to treat patients, reducing the risk of adverse reactions and potentially deadly complications. Now being used in commercialized products in Canada, the U.S. and Europe, Endexo is helping to improve treatment outcomes for thousands of patients.
Nominated by Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation
Published in Researchers
April 28, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - Pecking Order, a new documentary film set at the 2015 New Zealand National Poultry Show, takes viewers into the world of competitive poultry pageantry and examines the politics in the Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club in its near 150-year history.

Competitive poultry pageantry is not only a highly entertaining hobby—it’s an obsession. For members of Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club in New Zealand, it’s also way of life.

Senior member, Beth Inwood, and president, Doug Bain, have tasted the glory of raising perfect rosecomb cockerels and rumpless pullets, while newbie teenagers Rhys Lilley and Sarah Bunton enjoy the good clean fun. But feathers start to fly when infighting breaks out in the club during the run-up to the 2015 National Poultry Show.

As energetic as any sport film and as comedic as you’d imagine Best in Show chicken pageantry to be, Pecking Order serves up an endearing look at poultry passion.

Pecking Order is set to premiere at the Hot Docs International Film Festival in Toronto, Ont., on April 29.

For more information, visit: Pecking Order - Hot Docs International Film Festival
Published in Producers

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