On the front edge: Space age technology comes down to earth on Haldimand farm

On the front edge: Space age technology comes down to earth on Haldimand farm
DUNNVILLE—Enriched Colony Housing offers positive changes that have been embraced by Canadian farmers.

By Sheila Phibbs

The Haldimand Press

DUNNVILLE—Huitema Egg Farm is the home of Nick and Cindy Huitema, where they raised their four children, Stephanie, Nicole, Charlotte, and John. It is also the home of 11,000 layer chickens that produce more than 85,000 table eggs each week. It is also a farm where technology and innovation have been embraced to ensure healthy birds and a healthy environment.

In May of 2018, the Huitema’s converted their poultry facility to Enriched Colony Housing, a change that will become mandatory for all egg farmers by 2035. Enriched Colony Housing provides nesting areas where hens can lay clean eggs in a private space. Other features are scratch pads, perches, and privacy areas. There is a lower carbon footprint on the environment, and it minimizes the aggressive hen behavior. In-house lighting, which is the newest technology, was incorporated as well, providing a more natural environment. The four levels of housing are synchronized for automated egg gathering.

Egg packaging is also automated for improved efficiency, with the eggs packed once a day. The packing room features a smart television with eight screens that monitor the chickens, as well as the exterior property. This helps to ensure bird health and optimizes security both inside and outside the barn.

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