Breeder Services Summer Student Position
Work Term: May 2023 – Aug 2023
Reports to: Breeder Services, Kayo Takeshima
Working Schedule: Flexible Hybrid (3 days on field, 2 days office or remote)
Please note this position supports three of our Hatchery locations. The student can work from any of these locations
on site as well as remote, depending on research needs.
Location options: Fleming Chicks (4412 Ontario St, Beamsville, ON L0R 1B0),
Curtis Chicks (101 Fox Rd., Port Hope, ON L1A 3V5), or
Stratford Chicks (17 Pine St, Stratford, ON N5A 1W2).
Maple Lodge Farms is Canada’s largest independently owned poultry processor. It engages in processing and
supplying chicken products in Canada and internationally. Chicken products offered, also available as Halal, include
chicken bacon, deli chicken meats, sliced packaged meats, fresh seasoned chicken, frozen boxed meats, and chicken
wieners. Maple Lodge Farms, Ltd. was founded in 1955 and has three processing locations and three hatcheries.
Breeder Services and Hatcheries Overview:
The Hatchery Division is at the start of the Live Supply Chain. Our goal is to provide the best quality day-old
chicks with unparalleled service to our farmer partners. As part of our continuous improvement process in the hatchery,
we collect and analyze data on the parent-stock of broiler (meat-type) birds performance, environmental and hatch
process metrics, and chick quality.
As part of this summer student position, you will be assigned to two breeder service-related continuous
improvement research projects. These projects provide an opportunity to learn the meat-type chicken industry and gain
experiences on hands-on data collection at commercial farms, data entry (digitalizing data collected in the field),
constructing a hypothesis for assigned project, as well as statistical analyses used at the research level to determine the
relationship between collected data and the outcome of interest. As well, you will have an opportunity to present your
findings to the Breeder Service Team at the end of your placement.
Working Conditions & Environment:
• On farm: Exposure to dirty, dusty, and loud environments – proper PPE and equipment will be provided
• Office: working room can be provided at designated hatchery location, or remotely work from home for data
entry, organization, and analyses
Qualifications you will bring as our next Summer Student:
• Self-motivated with a desire to learn
• Analytical skills for statistical analysis are an asset but not required as it will be taught
o Student will learn how to use Program R
• Computer proficiency with Excel charts, graphs, as well as PowerPoint
• Drive for continuous improvement
• G2 or G class license as well as own transportation to travel to our hatchery and farm locations
• Ability to work a flexible schedule
• Comfort working and handling livestock
2. Research Project Proposals
1. Male Broiler Breeder Assessment – How to Measure Reproductive Fitness in Roosters
In the breeder barn, producers and service technicians routinely assess roosters through weighing, monitoring
body weight gains, fleshing, monitoring vent conditions, behavioural observations, etc. to check reproductive fitness and
fertility persistency. However, variation in fertility level exists between flocks through the life of flock, therefore this
project is being proposed to help determine key management practice and/or male condition signs to better assess
• Literature review on rooster reproduction:
o Management Factors:
▪ Growth curve During Rearing
▪ Stocking density during rearing
▪ Growth During Production
▪ Nutrition, Energy Density, Feed Rate
▪ Type of male feeders & Feed program, male feeders, male feed ration
▪ Male Ratio, use of fleshing, vent score, comb development & color, as a proxy measurement for
o Anatomy & Physiology
▪ Effect of lighting on sexual maturity
▪ Target/Normal staging of reproductive organ development.
▪ Causes of sexual senescence & underlying mechanisms
▪ Biomarkers of sexual maturity
▪ Biomarkers of fertility
▪ Target teste size by age after 28wks
▪ Semen quality and Sperm Viability
▪ Breeding, vocalization, aggression
▪ Mating frequency
▪ Guarding behavior – mate competition
▪ Factors that improve the chance of completed mating
• Assist Veterinarian & Supervisor to determine testicle size through life of flock
o Collect testes weight at the end of flock
▪ From flocks with various performance level – good fertility to bad fertility, over fleshed males,
underweight and fleshed males, etc.
o Determine any correlation or association between collected samples
o Tentative: Determine the viability of using ultrasound imaging to assess teste size non-invasively.
▪ At different ages: (i.e.) 20wk, after lighting, peak production, before first spike, after first spike,
before second spike, after second spike, end of flock
2. Effect of Stocking Density in the Breeder Barn on Key Production Metrics
There is variation in barn size, set up, slat, and scratch area, etc. between farms, this project is proposed to
review the effect of facility set-up on broiler breeder production performance, as well, to collect farm set-up and
dimension information to determine relationship on flock performance.
• Scoping review on stocking density using the 26wk male and female numbers and flock performance
o Stocking density of entire barn, slatted area, scratch area, nest area, etc.
▪ Effect on peak production, Eggs/H.H., Chicks/H.H., fertility
• Visit breeder farms to collect barn dimensions
o Total Barn Area
o Total Slat Area
o Total Scratch Area
o Total Nest Area
▪ Linear foot per bird on community nest and types
o Converted Linear Feeder space per hen and per rooster
o Nipples per bird and location of waterline
• Determine any association or correlation between dimensions/stocking density on actual flock performance
o peak production, Eggs/H.H., Chicks/H.H., fertility, and hatchability
In accordance with Ontario Human Rights Code, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, accommodation
will be provided in all parts of the hiring process. Applicants are required to make their needs known in advance.
$18.00/h, and we generally expect 40h a week. However, start times may be irregular based on when sampling needs to occur.