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LETTER: Farmers support each other to raise poultry

Raising Broilers: An easy way to fill your freezer and make extra money

The first thing I noticed when I moved to Grand Forks was the amount of land that everyone had. I grew up in Calgary where I could see what my neighbour was having for supper from my kitchen window. When we moved here I was trying to figure out how to make some extra money and saw an article on the agriculture society's website gfbras.ca about raising chickens for meat birds.

As I said before I grew up in the city and have never ate a fresh chicken let alone thought about raising chickens. I met with Larry and Donna Dees who were gracious enough to explain the operation and I thought that it sounded reasonable. So began my new adventure into raising chickens for meat called broilers.

The first thing I did was to get an old shed ready to brood the baby chickens. I needed to purchase the lights, waterers and feeders. Nick's Feed has all the supplies to start your chickens. The chickens need non-slip, absorbent bedding, pine chips work very well and can be bought at either feed store. A permit is required from the B.C. Chicken Marketing Board, it is very inexpensive at $20 a year.

The chicken producers ordered the chickens and they arrived on March 27, 2009. The most important thing to remember with the chickens is temperature is crucial. Once you have that under control they are extremely easy to care for. As long as they have food and fresh water every day, and their bedding stays dry they take care of themselves. A mobile abattoir comes to Grand Forks twice a season, once in June and again in September.

Depending on how many birds you decide to raise you may have to take your birds to another property for processing. This is very easy as the abattoir has all the equipment to transport your birds and the producers try to match you with someone close to your property. If you wish to raise 100 or more birds the abattoir can come to your property as long as you have completed a docking application and have potable water for the abattoir to use.

With the backing of the other producers it was very easy to raise these chickens as there was always someone to talk to if there were any questions. Believe me, there were quite a few questions in the beginning, but after the first batch I seemed to have a routine and the second batch went very smoothly. I had all my chickens sold before they were two days old! I decided how many birds I was going to keep for myself and a number that I was willing to sell. I took into account that I may lose some birds due to stresses and factored that into what I could sell.

In the end I had a freezer with fresh chickens, and let me tell you there is nothing better than a fresh chicken cooked to perfection on the table.

I am writing this article to see if there is any interest in the community to raise broilers and to let you know you are not alone. Anyone who is interested can reach me at my email asavage11@shaw.ca or Doug Zorn at zornszoo@telus.net . If you have any questions or concerns please contact us and we can help you decide if this will work for you. It worked for me and I enjoyed raising these birds. I know where my chickens came from and what they were fed, to me it is important and a great comfort knowing this.

Annmarie Savage
Phat Chicks Farm & Produce 

Grand Forks, B.C.