Last Tuesday, August 23rd, staff members of EFA alongside students and faculty from the University of Saskatchewan (U of S), Animal Science 301 – Animal Production Tour class, visited and toured Wild Rose Colony, a farm located 15 minutes outside of Vulcan, Alberta that has dairy, swine, and layer operations. It was great to be on farm again as we have not been for a long while due to the pandemic and Avian Influenza (AI). While active cases of AI have been decreasing across the province, AI protocols were in place, followed, and the necessary PPE was worn by those in attendance.
Dan Kleinsasser, egg manager at Wild Rose Colony, toured us through his barn where all things egg related happen. He began by giving our group background on the colony, and what the everyday process is before seeing where the hens are situated. Before he starts to gathers egg, he walks the barn every morning to make sure all birds are in good health. This farm uses furnished housing for hens, which gives more space and allows for more enrichments (like scratch pads, dust baths, and perches). Dan has a flock of bovans brown hens and currently has over 15,300 laying hens. These hens produce brown eggs and get their feed right on farm as the colony makes their own. On any given day, his farm produces over 14,000 eggs, which get picked up and transported to a grader once a week. It is always busy at Wild Rose Colony and Dan enjoys the work and challenges that arise.
The students from U of S were very keen and asked many questions throughout the tour. You could see how much egg farming means to Dan as he encouraged more conversation and always had a smile on his face. We thank Dan for taking time out of his day to show us around!
The next day, Wednesday, August 24th, EFA and U of S met at EPIC (breaking plant) in Lethbridge, Alberta to see what happens to eggs that don’t get sent to restaurants or retailers, known as Grade B eggs. Brendan Bassendowski, General Manager at EPIC, greeted us and lead us on a tour of the building. We were shown the steps it takes once eggs have been graded to when the liquid yolks/whites are packaged and ready to ship out for industrial use. A team of about 16 people work 12-hour shifts and deal with 150,000 eggs a day! It is important to note that there are many food safety precautions that are in place to ensure the eggs stay clean and fresh from leaving the farm to arriving at the end user. The end users could be bakeries, food manufacturers, or pet food companies. It was amazing to see the egg cracking station and technology used to wash and clean the eggs, and the machine that cracks each egg to release the yolk and white. A time saver indeed! Video of the machine: Egg breaking
Over the 2 days, the U of S students learned a wealth of information and wrote many notes in their books. It was a fun trip and EFA is pleased and appreciative of both Dan and Brendan for allowing us to see both of their operations. Opportunities like this to tell our story would not be possible without partners like you!
Thank you to the following individuals for making this trip happen: