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What’s it like to be a chicken in 2022?

Chickens are a real science subject. I went to school for almost 10 years studying chickens, and one of the last things my dad said to me was, “I can't believe you went to university that long to learn about chickens.” As populations grow while our land base shrinks, agriculture has a major responsibility in feeding the world. I take that very seriously as a researcher — making chicken production more efficient.

Something else many people don't realize is that a lot of our agriculture and animal health students don’t come from a farming background.

I've been working for the last five years trying to help as many students as possible get experience on farms. So far I've placed about 300 students where they go in and get their hands and feet dirty working on farms for three days.

It's not a visit for agrotourism — it's a hard working job. I plan to expand that program and make it so that all of our students can access work-integrated learning programs; opening the doors so they can realize their potential.

Everybody thinks that broiler chickens grow really, really fast, because we administer hormones and force feed them or we take genes out of bison and put them in chickens to make them grow bigger. None of that is true.

Modern commercial chickens grow bigger because of the role of genetics, nutrition and health management. Everybody's working hard to make them better. The genetics work has been amazing — 30 years ago it took 2.1 units of feed to a unit of gain; now it’s about 1.5. It’s like the way that car manufacturers are working to improve gas mileage.

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Grillscrest Farms – Part 1 – Taking the next step with GEA AMS

Video: Grillscrest Farms – Part 1 – Taking the next step with GEA AMS

Amy and Scott Grills of Grillscrest Farms in Frankford, Ontario brought their dairy facility forward to the next step. They were in an old tie-stall barn and decided to go for a new build with a GEA DairyRobot R9500. From Day 1, Wood’s Dairy Source has accompanied them through every step of the project and beyond to ensure that their facility reflects what they were envisioned.