Daniel Kleinsasser from Wild Rose Colony has been an avid egg ambassador for Egg Farmers of Alberta and the table egg industry. On August 28th, 2019 Daniel graciously hosted his first farm tour for twenty-one bright-eyed and eager third and fourth-year Animal Science/Animal Bioscience students. These students had travelled from the University of Saskatchewan to Alberta as part of their enrolment in the Animal Production Tour course and entered the farm full of enthusiasm and willingness to learn.

The Animal Production Tour course takes students on a week-long journey across Western Canada to visit various production facilities. The objective of the course is to familiarize students with different livestock production units and agribusiness enterprises to help them understand the diversity of animal agriculture and the environmental and economic conditions under which it operates. The out of classroom experience allows students to gain first-hand experience and begin to understand the basics of each production facility, providing a great opportunity to have a positive influence on the perceptions of the next generation of the various agriculture industries.

When examining the egg laying industry, it is not uncommon to find that enriched laying hen facilities are the least known and understood by the general public. By allowing students to experience an enriched commercial laying hen facility in production provides them insight into what they have been taught in other courses through school and gains a cohesive understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of an enriched production system.

Daniel covered every aspect of his production facility from the moment you walked in the barn. Being a frontrunner in biosecurity, Daniel’s Danish entry worked as a physical boundary students had to cross to enter into the barn. The tour started in the egg collection room, where Daniel demonstrated egg collection, showed the advanced technological controls for the barn, and the cooler system for storage of eggs prior to being picked up. He covered some of the various programs Alberta egg farmers are very proud to incorporate into their daily routines including the Start-Clean, Stay-Clean guide which allows facilities to stay in pristine condition and meet all Codes of Practice requirements. The tour progressed to where the hens are housed, and students could see that enriched cages included features such as nest boxes, perches, and scratch pads, which was different than the conventional cages often talked about in social media. Daniel covered the cycle of a hen from day one up to seventy-two weeks of age.  Showing the students both his pullet rearing facility as well as his composting pile. Throughout the entire duration of the tour, students and accompanying professors complimented the cleanliness of the facility, the good condition of the hens, and Daniel’s willingness to share his knowledge.

It was safe to say from the tour that all parties were pleased with the outcome. Students were thrilled to see an enriched commercial laying hen facility, professors were actively engaged about learning more to incorporate into their other courses, and Daniel found it rewarding to interact with people who are interested in learning more about where their eggs come from. It was a wonderful experience and hopefully a start to a new relationship which can be fostered in the future.