About Us / History

History

1915- The Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Alberta was established in 1915. The faculty was renamed Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences (ALES) in 2008.

1928-
the Department of Poultry Husbandry was formed.

1942 -
the Departments of Animal Husbandry, Poultry Husbandry and Veterinary Science were combined to form the Department of Animal Science. 

1947 -
The off-campus facilities were founded.

1986 -
The Poultry Research Centre (PRC) was established in 1986 when the U of A, Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development and Alberta poultry producers from the chicken, table egg, hatching egg and turkey sectors decided to pool their resources to deliver a coordinated poultry production research program in Alberta. Soon after, two major poultry processors, Maple Leaf Foods and Lilydale, joined the PRC. The PRC quickly earned a national and an international reputation for excellence in research and learning in the area of poultry production systems. 

1986-
"Rare Poultry Conservancy Program" was started involving six breeds of chickens, maintained unselected, that played a part in the evolution of the poultry industry. The rare breeds and random bred strains currently housed at the Poultry Research Centre were partly obtained from Agriculture Canada Research Station in Ontario and partly from Dr. Crawford's experimental flocks at the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. R. Crawford maintained these breeds as an unselected population since 1965. However, when Dr. Crawford retired, a new home was found for these breeds at the Poultry Research Centre in Edmonton.

1999 -
the PRC celebrated facility upgrades including the Alberta Chicken Producers Poultry Technology Centre (ACPPTC), the Alberta Hatching Egg Producers Hatchery (AHEPH), and the Alberta Egg Producers Environment Chambers (AEPEC). The ACPPTC houses the state of the art Henry Van Zeggelaar laboratory for poultry processing and packaging, the Alberta Turkey Producers Computer Laboratory, and Lilydale Classroom. The AHEPH is a state of the art incubation and hatching facility. The AEPEC consists of 8 chambers with extensive environmental monitoring and control capabilities.

2004 -
PRC expanded to include value-added areas of meat and egg science. These included enhancing the value of poultry meat (e.g. dark meat, mechanically separated meat), by-products (e.g. spent hens, feathers, egg shells), and development of new high quality egg products (e.g. extraction of valuable components from eggs such as lysozyme; antibodies for pharmaceutical and antibiotic replacement purposes; and nutraceuticals).

2005 -
the Alberta Livestock Industry Development Fund (ALIDF) and Alberta Agriculture Research Institute (AARI) invested over $5 million dollars to establish value-added poultry research capacity at the PRC. With the new funds, the PRC developed the value-added poultry meat program and high value egg program.

2006 -
three new industry partners joined the PRC, bringing the PRC scope from provincial to national: Sparks Eggs, Burnbrae Farms and the Egg Farmers of Canada, bringing the total number of industry partners to nine. 

2013 - Adopt a Heritage Chicken Program was started to promote the conservation of the unique genetic lines and to provide a way for the lines to become financially self-supporting.