Jim McCune, Ivegill, Cumbria
When beef and sheep farmer Jim McCune decided to move into free range egg production, he left nothing to chance. Taking advice from equipment suppliers and house builders he did his homework and was diligent in his selection. The result is a 16,000 bird free range poultry unit with a Jansen Aviaview multi-tier system whose production figures speak for themselves. The birds are healthy, mite-free and well trained with system and floor eggs almost eliminated. Jim is rightly proud of his achievements and chose Jansen not just because they were the best value for money but also because of their after sales service.
Scott Janzen, Abbotsford, B.C.
Scott has run his own farm for about ten years, and for most of that time, his chickens – like the vast majority both in British Columbia and around North America – were confined to cages. In 2014, though, Scott decided to join an increasing number of egg producers and make the considerable investment to convert one of his two barns to housing free-range chickens.
It’s a move that came at a substantial cost, with the hope of profits down the line.
“I realised that’s the way of the future so I needed to personally change to meet the needs of our customers”, Scott said.
And with the announcement from fast food giant McDonald’s that it would source all its eggs from cage-free farms within a decade, Scott’s decision seems to have paid off.
Indeed, producers in Abbotsford – which is home to 67 egg farms, representing more than half of the B.C.’s total – are well-positioned to take advantage of an industry-wide move towards eggs generated by birds living outside cages. Those include free-run birds, which live in open barns, and free-range birds, which have access to the outside. A smaller subset of the latter category lays eggs that are certified as “organic”.
In 2014, a little more than 16 per cent of the eggs produced in British Columbia came from non-caged animals, up from nine per cent in 2007. Those numbers might be ticking up slowly, but with 840 million eggs produced in B.C. in 2014, they represent a huge quantity of food. Those “specialty eggs” are also sold for more money, and now represent around 22 per cent of all revenue. Driven largely by demand from grocery stores and their customers, B.C. already produces the highest proportion of specialty eggs in Canada.
Now, with McDonald’s and other companies seeking to differentiate themselves by emphasizing free-run eggs, the shift towards non-caged egg-layers will take “a quantum leap,” according to Brad Bond, the chair of the Abbotsford-based BC Egg Marketing Board.
The shift will only increase the incentive to produce more cage-free eggs, a move that will bring its own challenges and benefits.
John Lehman, Jonestown, USA
The hens of John Lehman lay their eggs in the Premium+ XXL nest. This nest complies with the principles of animal-friendly production as it is developed based on the needs of the animals. The nest provides a sanitary and comfortable environment to lay eggs. The result is the production of first class quality eggs.
John Lehman; ‘’I have very good experiences with the nests. The flat top roof makes maintenance and control easy. The percentage of outside nest eggs is also very low.”
G Napier, Masterton, NZ
“Any farmer with common sense knows you have to take good care of your animals. We want to provide our animals with a better living environment.” Henergy Cage-Free Eggs Ltd was granted the SPCA approval for animal-friendly production. SPCA is an international animal welfare organization.
Animal-friendly production is only possible with animal-friendly colony systems. This is one of the reasons Napier bought Jansen Poultry Equipment systems. Both share the vision that optimal poultry production is inextricably tied to animal welfare.
Napier choose the Premium+ nests with a configuration which includes slats and manure belts. Like all systems from Jansen Poultry Equipment, this system is developed based on the chicken’s natural behaviour. Napier: “Hens are able to socialize, take dust baths, scratch the floor and rest. Hens lay their eggs in partitioned, comfortable nests of the highest quality.”
Napier is delighted with the advisory service provided by Jansen Poultry Equipment. This service involves a poultry specialist visiting the location and doing a walk-through with the poultry farmer to see where improvements can be made. The poultry specialist investigates important factors such as ventilation, light, management and animal health. Napier: “We were extremely happy with the professional, expert advice from the Jansen Poultry Equipment poultry specialist. The advice concerns all levels of management, down to performing the actual tasks, and results in improved profitability. We would certainly recommend the service to other poultry farmers, because everyone should be made aware of where they can achieve financial gains. The returns are greater than the investment.”