let's talk farm animals

Where is the transparency at Burger King?

By: Leslie Ballentine, Farming and Food Commentator

I was as surprised as anyone to hear the news last week that Burger King in the U.S. is making an exclusive move to purchase “cage-free” eggs and pork within five years. It has certainly dominated the news. Even my urban friends (knowing I work in agriculture) have brought it up the past few days. Sadly however I haven’t been able to provide answers to some of their questions.

Share

Posted by FFC on April 30th, 2012 :: Filed under eggs,Food,Housing,HSUS,Retailers
Tags :: , , , ,

You were asking about…housing for pigs

 by Patricia Grotenhuis, Lifelong farmer and agricultural advocate

Many people wonder why pigs are in individual pens on many farms.  There are a variety of reasons.

Pigs are omnivores, and can be quite aggressive, especially at feeding time.  While competing for food, pigs have been known to bite each other.  Individual pens protect against this by removing competition for food and water.

Share

Posted by FFC on September 1st, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Animal health,Housing,Innovation and technology,Pigs
Tags :: , , ,

Hot summer days on the farm

by Patricia Grotenhuis, lifelong farmer and agricultural advocate

Hot summer days are part of the routine for all of us.  For some, it means a chance to relax by a pool, or to enjoy it from the comfort of air conditioning.  Those options do not work for our farm animals, so what do farmers do to help them? 

Share

Posted by FFC on August 11th, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Barns,Housing,Innovation and technology,Ventilation,Weather
Tags :: , , , , , ,

Camels have it over farm animals

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

The Dog Days of Summer are tough on most living things; people, plants and animals. But with this summer’s record breaking-temperatures  in many parts of the country, the heat and humidity are especially bad news. Hot weather can take a toll.

Camels obviously can tolerate heat, but livestock and poultry are not so fortunate. Many types of farm animals can’t regulate their body temperatures as well as people can- pigs can’t sweat for example- and even a slight prolonged rise in body temperature can heat stress cattle. Just as with people, heat exhaustion can kill. So it’s up to the farmer to get them through the ‘Dog Days’.

Share

Posted by FFC on July 25th, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Housing,Transportation,Weather
Tags :: , , ,

A day in the life of a sheep farmer

by Patricia Grotenhuis, Lifelong farmer and agricultural advocate

Previously I have written blogs showing what dairy farmers do during the day.  This one focuses on what happens at a sheep farm…specifically, my sister Barb’s sheep farm.  Barb has a flock of Oxford breed ewes and rams, and does most of the work with them on her own.

Ewes with their young lambs

The busiest time of year for a sheep farmer is lambing season, which stretches from January to April or May, depending on the flock. 

Share

Posted by FFC on July 7th, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Farm life,Sheep
Tags :: , , ,

Household air purifiers move into the barn


By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

Many of us have air purifiers in our homes or workplaces. They seem to be a big seller in the city where I live.  Well here’s a news flash. This technology is now moving to the barn.

Share

Posted by FFC on May 29th, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Animal health,Housing,Innovation and technology
Tags :: , , ,

Laying hen housing not all it’s cracked up to be

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

I just finished reading some more animal science studies out of Europe (a sure cure for insomnia) on what “free range” and “free run” laying hens are up against. And it’s a bit of a buyer-beware scenario too. Although it is a small niche market here in North America, so-called “cage-free” egg production in the UK has steadily grown in the last 20 years. That is where egg laying hens can move around within the confines of a pasture or barn. But the health and animal welfare news isn’t all good.

Share

Posted by FFC on May 12th, 2011 :: Filed under Chickens,eggs,Housing,Poultry,Research
Tags :: , , , ,

What is a ‘factory farm’ anyway? – Part 2

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

The over-used term “factory farm” never seems to be defined. Many farmers and others who work in the agriculture business consider it an insulting term, much like a racial slur that shouldn’t be tolerated.  Here is what one farmer thinks.

Share

Posted by FFC on March 23rd, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Education and public awareness,Family vs factory farming,Letters to the Editor,Sustainability of the family farm
Tags :: , , , , ,

Canada’s Egg Farmers Welcome Change

OTTAWA, Aug. 22 /CNW Telbec/ – Working in one of the country’s most dynamic agriculture industries, Canada’s egg farmers have had little time to rest. Just ask Laurent Souligny, 64, a proud egg farmer and chairman of the national egg farmers’ organization, Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC).

Share

Posted by FFC on July 21st, 2009 :: Filed under Animal health,Canada,Poultry
Tags :: , , , , , , , , ,

Ambassador for ‘nature’s perfect food’

Source: The Record (Kitchener), September 29, 2008, KEVIN SWAYZE

International poultry expert Peter Hunton is tired of the question.

“What came first? The chicken or the egg?”

The Cambridge man answers in a deadpan tone.

“I don’t have a good answer to that question.”

But ask Hunton, 72, a serious question about his life’s work and conversation comes easy for a 2008 inductee to the International Poultry Hall of Fame.

Share

Posted by FFC on July 21st, 2009 :: Filed under Housing,Poultry
Tags :: , , , , , ,