let's talk farm animals

When the backyard chicken novelty wears off

By Leslie Ballentine, Farm and Food Commentator

As many people are aware, the latest rage in the “Eat Local” food trend is to raise your own backyard chickens. Municipalities across the country have been faced with lobbying campaigns, disputes and even legal challenges to allow for city chickens.  Some municipalities have refused, some have agreed with very specific requirements, others just keep deferring a decision.

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Posted by FFC on May 22nd, 2012 :: Filed under backyard flocks,Poultry
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Battle of the sexes

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

Just when I thought I had heard it all, the Globe and Mail recently carried a feature on “gendered meat”. What you ask (as did I) is such a thing? Well apparently there is a demand by some Canadian consumers for selecting their meat based on whether the animal is male or female.

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Posted by FFC on April 23rd, 2012 :: Filed under Chickens,Consumers,Food,Misconceptions,Pork,Retailers
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Eco-friendly plastic: a new use for chicken feathers

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

Turning chicken feathers into ‘green’ plastic is not a new idea. Government and university scientists in the U.S. first began serious research into the possibility years ago. The goal for researchers and plastic manufacturers has been to develop a substitute for petroleum in some plastic products. This year, some technical hurdles have been over-come and this bio-degradable plastic is now being produced commercially.

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Posted by FFC on November 7th, 2011 :: Filed under animal by-products,Chickens,Environment,Innovation and technology,PETA,Research
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Why hormone-free labels and other claims don’t really tell the story

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

I just read a news feature by a Vancouver Sun reporter who, for personal reasons, has looked into the food labels that appear on our grocery shelves.

His story arose after seeing a milk carton labeled “hormone free” and purchasing local organic chickens, “worth the premium, my wife said, because, among other things, they were hormone free.” He wanted to check it out for himself and so went onto Google and into stores to do some research of his own. By his own admission his research confirmed both his suspicion and his “ignorance”.

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Posted by FFC on October 10th, 2011 :: Filed under Chickens,Consumers,Dairy cattle,Food,Misconceptions,Organics,Turkeys
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Changing markets for changing times

 by Patricia Grotenhuis, Lifelong farmer and agricultural advocate
In recent years, interest in local foods and what farming practices are being used has created a shift.  Consumers are starting to seek out farmers who sell direct through farmers’ markets and on-farm stores, and farmers are spending more time connecting with consumers.

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Posted by FFC on July 22nd, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Chickens,Consumers,Farm life,Feeding the world,Turkeys,Wildlife
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Perception marketing takes advantage of consumers and farmers

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

When it comes to food marketing, I’m starting to believe that both consumers and farmers may be getting the short end of the stick.

Perhaps farmers have been too focused on what they do best; producing an abundant and generally safe supply of food at a reasonable price to consumers, to worry about misleading advertising.  Perhaps consumers don’t know enough about farm practices to see past the marketing hype to be able to make an informed purchasing choice.

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Posted by FFC on May 5th, 2011 :: Filed under Chickens,Consumers,Misconceptions,Poultry,Sustainability,Urban Myths
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Unlike our kids, farm animals can get needle-free shots

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

I remember the days of howling kids in the doctor’s office when mine and other little ones had to face their annual vaccinations. Although the needle jab was really no big deal, little kids never seem to see it that way. Well, they would be envious of pigs and chickens. That’s because livestock and poultry can now get some of their vaccinations needle-free.

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Posted by FFC on March 28th, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Animal health,Innovation and technology
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BC Egg Farmers Care for the Right Reasons

BC egg farmers care for the right reasons. There is more to caring for hens than meets the eye.

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Posted by BCFACC on October 16th, 2009 :: Filed under Animal health,Education and public awareness,eggs,Poultry
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The business of Eggs

Food For Thought looks at how we use hens as protein factories to produce an egg a day for our tables

By Luisa D’Amato, Waterloo Region Record, 05 Jul 2008

When you walk into the long, dimly lit barn where Gary West keeps 25,000 egg-laying hens, the first thing you notice is the sound.

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Posted by FFC on July 22nd, 2009 :: Filed under Education and public awareness,Poultry
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High-technology enters world of poultry business

By Mannix Porterfield, THE REGISTER-HERALD (BECKLEY, W.V.)
Aug 16/06

FAIRLEA, W.Va.— Go back in time, say a century or so, even before the iron horse made its debut, and fetch a poultry farmer, pluck him off his Currier and Ives setting, then escort him into a modern chicken barn.

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Posted by FFC on July 21st, 2009 :: Filed under Innovation and technology,Poultry
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