Nutrition expert says producers need to focus on better livestock management to make them stronger and healthier to avoid the need for antibiotics.  |  File photo

Scientists ponder what will replace animal antibiotics

Prebiotics, probiotics, organic acid and essential oils are not perfect substitutes for antibiotics now being used

A combination of products may be needed to replace the antibiotics that are used to treat livestock. Research into essential oils, probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes and short chain fatty acids shows these compounds might work to some degree, but none are likely as effective as a good antibiotic, said a group of scientists during an international […] Read more

Giles Hinse of Edmonton loads boxes of day-old chicks in the back of a van for transport.  |  Mary MacArthur photo

Backyard flocks spur interest in heritage breeds

University initiative preserves old genetics and distributes rare birds to small flock owners throughout Alberta

EDMONTON — Who knew people cared so much about chickens. Workers recently loaded 5,500 day-old chicks from five rare, heritage breeds into a truck and sent them to their new homes across Alberta. They will be raised for meat and laying eggs and help preserve the genetics of the rare birds. The idea of raising […] Read more

Provinces are on alert for bird flu but so far there hasn’t been a return to roadblocks as seen in the 2004 British Columbia flu outbreak. |  File photo

Canadian industry on guard as avian flu spreads in U.S.

With avian influenza in two bordering jurisdictions, Manitoba turkey producers are on high alert. “We are very concerned because the outbreaks are just south of the Manitoba border, the bulk of them in Minnesota,” said Bill Uruski, chair of the Manitoba Turkey Producers. “We’ve tried to alert producers and so far everybody seems to be […] Read more


There are two models of movable Cackellac shelters for pastured poultry: an eight-by-10 foot shelter, pictured above, and a larger 13-by-16 foot unit.  |  Jeffrey Carter photo

Movable shelters help producers manage birds

Pasturing poultry Ontario-based manufacturer says units have been sold to western Canadian producers

ARTHUR, Ont. — Most farmers pasturing poultry have cobbled together their own movable shelters. Now there’s a commercial option, thanks to a business launched by a farm family in Ontario. David and Ellen Weber displayed their smaller shelter unit at a recent event sponsored by Practical Farmers of Ontario. As far as the couple knows, […] Read more

Shawn Harman, a third generation producer at Section 7 Farms near Humboldt, said not many people have the chance to see inside a barn because of biosecurity measures. | YouTube image

Sask. egg producers tell stories through videos

Inside agriculture | Producer group hopes to engage customers with series of YouTube videos

Saskatchewan egg producers want consumers to know more about how they operate. Several of the province’s 67 registered producers have participated in videos that take viewers inside barns and grading facilities. Shawn Harman, a third generation producer at Section 7 Farms near Humboldt, said not many people have the chance to see inside a barn […] Read more


Shannon and Danny Ruzicka of Nature’s Green Acres in Viking talk about their animals. |  Mary MacArthur photo

Pasture raised birds problematic for producers

Old-fashioned farming | Couple refocuses efforts on grass-fed pigs and cattle

VIKING, Alta. — The tour could have been called Confessions of a Farmer. Instead of painting a bucolic picture of contented animals happily grazing and frolicking in the fields, Shannon and Danny Ruzicka told about dead stock, poor choices and the pitfalls of raising livestock the old-fashioned way. Visitors may like to see chickens clucking […] Read more

Chicken Farmers of Saskatchewan has identified enterococcus bacteria as an emerging health concern.  |  File photo

Bacteria challenge a growing concern for producers

Enterococcus | Cases of bacterial lameness linked to the bacteria have risen

Incidents of lameness caused by bacteria normally carried by chickens have challenged prairie poultry producers in recent years. Officials aren’t sure why. Enterococcus cecorum is one species of a bacteria normally found in the animal’s intestine. It’s not typically a concern for growers, but it can result in a bacterial infection in the animal’s spine […] Read more

Birds get TLC from chicken man

Treated like pets | Bill Bryan raises heritage varieties and markets the meat and eggs

NEVILLE, Sask. — Bill Bryan dreamed of owning a pool surrounded by a bunch of chicks. As an adult, the chicken farmer found his Shangri-la in a 25 acre parcel of heavily treed land in southwestern Saskatchewan. Today, his free-range chickens peck at bugs and grasses in a fenced area with a filled-in pool when […] Read more


Education is a big part of Canadian Western Agribition and as a result more than the four-legged livestock are on the ground of the annual show and sales event. Poultry from O&T Poultry in Regina were present along with pigs and turkeys in the AgriEd Showcase. In its 20th year the program attracts more than 8,000 students and teachers to Agribition(WP photo by Michael Raine)

B.C. chickens will soon be on video

A short movie about chicken production in British Columbia will be supported by the provincial Buy Local campaign. The B.C. Chicken Growers Association will use $15,500 from the campaign to give consumers information on how chicken is produced on family-run chicken farms. B.C. has more than 300 chicken producers. A B.C. government news release said […] Read more

Sask. resumes poultry exports to Taiwan

Sask. resumes poultry exports to Taiwan

Saskatchewan poultry producers have regained access to the Taiwanese market after a five-year trade ban. Federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz announced Feb. 1 that Taiwan had lifted the ban imposed after avian influenza was found in a Sask-atchewan barn in September 2007. No further cases of the reportable disease were found, and the province has […] Read more