Good morning everyone! I recently had the pleasure of joining some local media representatives from the CBC, The Western Producer and GrainNews, for a tour at River Bend Colony. This was a great opportunity to showcase a modern pullet rearing and egg laying facility. Walter Decker, the egg manager, spent several hours showing us around the barns, letting us handle the chicks and layers, and showing us the egg gathering system.
These chicks are 4 days old and are just starting to develop wing feathers. At this age, Walter keeps the temperature around 34oC. As they grow and feather out, the temperature is lowered to around 18-20oC.
Here we are in the layer barn, where Walter showed us his new housing system. There are 12,000 layers in his barn, which coincidentally is about the average number of hens that Alberta farmers raise. The hens have a separate nesting area to lay their eggs and perches to roost on during the day and night. These lovely hens were calm and even curious, despite all the extra commotion.
Every inch of his barns are clean, the air quality is exceptional, and his farm exemplifies our philosophy at Egg Farmers of Alberta of healthy birds, healthy eggs and healthy farms!
The reporters who spent the better part of a day with us peppered us with all kinds of questions, from farm protocol and how farms have evolved, to “how do we do this and that?”. So many people nowadays have no connection whatsoever to farms—maybe their grandparents had a farm, but agriculture like everything else is changing. I applaud these media outlets for showing the public what modern agriculture looks like!
Farmers like Walter love what they do every day, and want to share with the public how they care for the animals and produce the best quality eggs. I was really impressed with his barns and the extra touches, like the lights he has installed under his packer, so that he can pick out cracked eggs more easily.
We ended our tour with a fabulous lunch prepared by the ladies at the colony. Everything from the chicken and corn to the pickles (well, the cucumbers & dill) and potatoes was grown on the colony—truly a local feast!
Thanks again to the River Bend Colony for opening the barn doors and giving the public a glimpse into the life of another egg farmer!