Our farms are run efficiently with minimal labour leveraging our vast experience through computer software programs to manage replacement selection using established and proven criteria.
We keep very detailed flock records. Every lamb is tagged at birth prior to removal from the claiming pen to ensure an accurate ID. We only use single-sire mating to ensure tracking of lineages and recording of accurate data. All Breeding Stock prospects are double tagged at birth to prevent misinformation due to loss of tags. We register using the Double Tagging system using Combo RFID/CSIP tags as per national standards so our sheep are eligible to be sold across all of Canada as well as for exports. We find them to be very readable and loss of tags are almost non-existent when applied correctly.
A complete animal heath program is essential in the production of this quality product. All Refai producers must demonstrate an active relationship with a veterinarian. Utilizing that relationship Refai producers develop a systematic approach in dealing with animal health using measures such as bio-security, balanced nutrition, vaccination programs and a clean, safe environment. However just like human beings, sometimes lambs need to receive medication if they are compromised. Medications are only one tool in the toolbox, they are used judiciously in consultation with the farm veterinarian. As farmers we need to balance the needs of the animal with the demands of the consumer. Refai lamb producers put thought and care into administering medication. We producers don't view animal health in terms of a promotional advantage. We see this as a fundamental ethical requirement to our customers.
Every Refai Farms Lamb producer employs safe, efficient handling facilities so that lambs can be processed with minimal stress. Stress affects meat quality. Dark cutters come from lambs that were exposed to handling stress or not provided with access to clean continuous water. Producers that want to be part of Refai Farms must show that they have proper handling facilities so that we know the meat on the inside matches the observed quality on the outside. Producers must endeavour to provide the lambs a stress free environment from birth to delivery to the plant.
Every Refai Producer follows the National Farm Animal Care Code of Practice— a document developed utilizing scientific rigour and industry collaboration in partnership between producers, scientists, industry stakeholders, government and animal welfare groups. This document provides strict guidelines on the care and handling of animals through all stages of production and shipping. All producers and their employees function under these guidelines. A copy of the guidelines is available at all times for reference on farm.