Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

April 11, 2012 10:56 ET

Government of Canada Helps Atlantic Poultry Farmers Meet Changing Consumer Demands

TRURO, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - April 11, 2012) - Atlantic poultry farmers will be more competitive in the market with the support of the Government of Canada. Member of Parliament Scott Armstrong (Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, announced today an investment of more than $600,000 to the Atlantic Poultry Research Institute (APRI) to conduct feed and health research.

"Our Government's top priority remains the economy, and the Atlantic region's poultry sector is an important contributor to keeping our economy strong," said MP Armstrong. "This investment in research will keep our poultry producers competitive by ensuring they continue to improve upon their quality products in order to meet the demands of today's health conscious consumer."

The investments are being made in six different projects to further research into better nutrients and improved disease resistance for the region's poultry sector, while benefiting consumers across the country. The funding includes support for projects that will identify ways to increase omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants in chickens and eggs, as well as assess ways to improve flock health and reduce disease.

Nova Scotia is contributing $220,000 for these projects from its Technology Development Program, which supports the development and adaptation of new and leading agricultural technologies and knowledge that will enhance the competitive position of Nova Scotia's agriculture and agri-food industry. "The Government of Nova Scotia is investing in these projects to support scientific research that will improve the poultry sector's adaptability, competitiveness and innovation," said John MacDonell, Nova Scotia's Minister of Agriculture.

There are 235 chicken, turkey and egg farmers who produce high-quality products for consumers across Atlantic Canada and who generate cash receipts worth $259 million (2010) at the farm gate.

"The poultry sector sees the value of conducting applied research that will contribute to improved animal and human health," said Derek Anderson, CEO of APRI. "APRI is an Atlantic-wide institute that has successfully leveraged funds from the industry and from government to further its applied research needs, which in turn are identified with input from each of the Atlantic province poultry marketing boards."

These investments are supporting six research projects, including:

  • Identifying healthy, cost-effective alternatives to traditional feed, such as omega-rich crab meal, canola seeds and cold-pressed canola oil;
  • Developing a new approach to vaccination; and
  • Finding an alternative to antibiotics that will ensure the health of chickens while meeting the needs of today's safety-conscious consumer.

The investments, delivered through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), are being provided by all four regional CAAP councils in the Atlantic region, led by Agri-Futures Nova Scotia. For more information on CAAP, please visit


This investment supports the following six projects:

1. Nutritive Evaluation of Cold-Pressed Meals for Broiler Chickens

Poultry diets are typically composed primarily of corn or wheat and soybean meal and/or canola meal. This project aims to evaluate cost-effective alternatives to traditional feed ingredients to provide poultry producers as well as feed manufacturers with information for them to make business decisions toward sustainability in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

CAAP Investment: $191,743

2. Utilization of Crab Meal to Optimize Long Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acid Enrichment of Eggs from Hens of Different Genetic Background

Results of this study will aim to identify an effective and economical method for enriching eggs with antioxidants and long chain omega-3 fatty acids, allowing the egg industry to add value to their product and remain competitive in the marketplace. In addition, results of this trial will investigate the impact of genetic source on incorporation of omega-3 fatty acids and will allow for selection of laying strains best suited for the production of omega-3 enriched eggs.

CAAP Investment: $52,000

3. The Efficacy of Yellow Seeded Full-fat Canola Seeds and a Cold-pressed Meal for Laying Hens

The production of yellow-seeded canola is increasing in Eastern Canada. In addition to feeding as an intact full-fat seed, meals produced by cold-pressing that retains 6-20 per cent of the oil, may provide an alternative method of inclusion into laying hens' diets. Both of these feed ingredients provide high- energy fat that negates the need for supplemental fat in the diet. This study aims to identify the optimum inclusion of the proposed canola products, which will provide optimum production performance of the hens along with omega-3 eggs. The development of nutrient-enriched eggs through the use of least-cost diets would provide egg producers with an economic means of advancement within an increasingly competitive marketplace.

CAAP Investment: $128,356

4. Efficacy of Lysozyme as an Alternative to Antibiotics for Broiler Chickens

With increasing public concerns about antibiotic resistance of pathogenic bacteria there is increasing interest in finding alternatives to antibiotics for use in poultry. This research is aimed at determining the effect of lysozyme on the growth performance and intestinal microflora of broiler chickens grown under optimal and suboptimal conditions and to determine the optimal periods during the growth cycle in which to include lysozyme in the diets to obtain optimal growth performance. Production research is needed to evaluate the production performance of broiler chickens fed potential antibiotic alternatives and commercial antibiotics. Determining the critical periods during the growth cycle of broiler chickens for which lysozyme may have the greatest impact on intestinal microbial populations and resulting growth and feed efficiency would have an economic impact for the producer through decreased feed costs and potentially improved livability of chicks.

CAAP Investment: $148,314

5. Evaluation of Simple Sugars and Short Chain Fatty Acids on Early Chick Growth and Intestinal Development

Atlantic regional commercial chicken operations have been observing suboptimal early growth performance of chicks. Typical poultry diets use cereal grains (mainly corn, wheat and soybean meal) and fats (vegetable, poultry grease or restaurant grease) as ingredients to supply energy in poultry rations. Due to the chicks' decreased ability to digest a high proportion of these energy sources for up to 10 days of age because of an underdeveloped gastrointestinal tract, there is opportunity to stimulate the gut to increase earlier development and a higher rate of absorption of diet nutrients. Any innovative technology or nutrition used during this time to enhance chick development and muscle growth would allow the potential progress in growth performance to reach the real genetic potential. Production research is required to evaluate readily available and cost-effective alternative ingredients that may improve chick performance and growth and reduce cost of production for broiler producers.

CAAP Investment: $72,509

6. Vaccination Response in Layers Fed Omega-3 Fatty Acids from Marine Sources

Inconsistent immune response to vaccination is a concern for Atlantic Canadian pullet producers, resulting in birds with poor disease resistance and increased expenses due to revaccination. The results of this study can provide a cost-effective and easily incorporated method of improving vaccination response, thereby improving the health, welfare and productivity of commercial chickens.

CAAP Investment: $15,000

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario

    Meagan Murdoch
    Director of Communications
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz