BC Chicken Farmers

Meet the families that raise our food

Lisa & John Kennedy

Tappen, BC

Lisa & John Kennedy

Tappen, BC

Lisa and John Kennedy of Tappen have been chicken farming since 2013.  They and their five children keep the farm a family affair, along with their pets – a horse, a dog and a cat.

Can you tell me about your farming operation?

We have a family farming operation – us and our children.  Before becoming chicken farmers, we were dairy farmers.  Because poultry farming is so different than what we did before, we did a lot of research.  We invested in technology to make sure our birds are well cared for.  Like all chicken farmers in Canada, we buy the chicks when they are one day old and raise them to a market weight, so there is a sense of ownership in raising a healthy product.

What’s your favourite thing about being a chicken farmer?

We love raising the birds and watching them grow. It’s so rewarding to see the results. We enjoy the flexibility of owning our own business and are proud to raise a safe, healthy, high-quality product for the people of BC.

Can you describe a typical day for you on your farm?

After an early breakfast, we’ll walk through the barn to make sure the birds are comfortable. We’ll check air quality, temperature, water quality, air ventilation and feed supply. We observe the bird behavior and listen to them.  You can actually tell a lot from their chirping.  In addition, we check the weigh scales to make sure the birds are a healthy weight. Our main priority is to make sure they are comfortable and healthy.

Another part of the business is documentation: everything is tracked and recorded.  We monitor the water intake and feed consumption to make sure they are eating and drinking property.  We also track barn temperature and humidity.  We are audited annually by the BC Chicken Marketing Board to ensure we are following proper procedures.

Can you describe your experiences involved in the BCCMB?

As new farmers, we continue to receive tremendous support from fellow farmers and the poultry industry in general. There is always something to learn in chicken farming!  We attend the local growers meetings to keep up to date in industry issues.  Even our younger children enjoy attending these meetings and actively listen to the discussions.  It’s nice to know there are people out there who we can turn to for advice or help when needed. Everyone works together to produce a quality product.

Ravi Bathe

Abbotsford, BC

Ravi Bathe

Abbotsford, BC

Ravi farms in Abbotsford with his wife of 10 years and two children. His favorite way to eat chicken is on the BBQ with a bit of seasoning; not complicated, but very tasty.  When not starring in action movies, Ravi serves as the President of the Chicken Growers’ Association.

What is your favorite thing about being a chicken farmer? 

Every day brings different challenges. It’s never the same. I also love that what I do–providing food–is for everyone.

How did you get into chicken farming? 

My family has grown raspberries and blueberries for over 40 years. Eleven years ago, after completing university and working in the private sector for a while, I decided that I wanted to do what I did all my life growing up, be a farmer. After much research I decided to try chicken farming. I asked my father to be my partner and he agreed.  It’s been great ever since.

Describe a typical day for you the farm. 

I don’t know if any day is typical, however, daily chores include walking through all the barns, looking and listening to the chickens, feeling the atmosphere and checking that all the equipment (feeders, water lines, etc.) are working properly. This is done 2-3 times per day. I can also monitor conditions from my computer and my smartphone. I also spend time in my office doing paperwork and answering emails.

As President of the BC Chicken Growers’ Association I attend meetings on behalf of the farmers in this province.  Representing the farmers on all types of issues from environmental to animal care to financial.  I also work with my father on his raspberry and blueberry farms.  This is especially busy during the harvest in summer.

Describe your experience on set for the Chicken Squad campaign?

It was a ton of fun! Interacting with other farmers, learning how to be an action hero, feeling pride in what we were doing and getting the message out about what we do, how we do it and why we love it was a great experience.

What do you like to do outside of the farm? 

Spending time with my family both on and off the farm. I love to play sports such as soccer, golf and snowboarding.  We also enjoy learning about other cultures and how we can improve our lives by looking at the way other people do things.

Ray Balis

Armstrong, BC

Ray Balis

Armstrong, BC

Born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa, Ray Baylis emigrated to BC’s Lower Mainland in 1988 with his wife and young son. After spending more than a decade working in the greenhouse industry and travelling, he moved his growing family to a Chilliwack acreage to operate a small hobby farm. In 2001, they relocated to Armstrong, in BC’s Interior, to become full-time chicken farmers.

How did you get into chicken farming?

I’d heard about an opportunity to manage a layer farm and thought it’d be a great step to getting into large-farm management. I wanted it to be more of a full-time job rather than just a hobby farm. Since then, we’ve added broiler farming too.

Can you tell us about your farming operation?

We have about 50 acres here. We’ve grown to five barns and we raise about 85,000 chickens annually. We go in eight week cycles so we run about six and a half cycles every year. There are 48 chicken farms in the Interior versus 264 in the Lower Mainland so we don’t have the same level of infrastructure that they do and we’re very hands on here, too. We do a lot of our own repairs and cleaning.

What’s your favourite thing about being a chicken farmer?

We love the lifestyle and the fact that it gives us the freedom to be independent. Each cycle is an achievement, with its own sense of accomplishment. Honestly, when the chicks arrive at the beginning of each cycle, there’s a lot of excitement. And that’s something that hasn’t changed in over fifteen years. We also love the fact that we’re contributing and doing something meaningful – supplying good, healthy products for people. Both my wife and I have taken a major interest in the educational aspect of chicken farming and so we keep busy with those activities on the side.

Can you describe a typical day for you on your farm?

What’s interesting is that while we have our routines on the farm, the days really can vary depending upon where we are in our growing cycle. When the birds are in the barns, most of big maintenance is between cycles although smaller repairs can be done anytime. There’s a lot of work for each cycle. I like to be out in the barn by 9 AM and I’ll go to each of the barns and check the computers – temperature, humidity, water and food levels and how much the birds are eating and drinking. Then I’ll physically go through each barn and check on everything and do whatever fixing or repairing is needed. I’ll meet with the farm hands and we’ll identify any issues that need addressing. Afternoons are usually dedicated to handling office and paperwork like ordering feed and supplies, taking care of outside repairs and maintenance and coordinating paperwork for our annual audit.

Are you involved with any other organizations or associations outside of the BCCMB?

I’ve been a director of the BC Chicken Growers Association for about 12 years. And both my wife and I are really dedicated to the public education component. We help manage the Poultry in MotionTM trailer in the Interior, an educational mini-barn that we take to schools and fairs to educate the public about chicken farming.

What was it like being involved in the Chicken Squad Investigates video?

It was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed myself. And it felt good to be part of something that’s so important to not just me, but the industry as a whole.

Dion Wiebe

Abbotsford, BC

Dion Wiebe

Abbotsford, BC

Chicken farming is a true family affair for Dion Wiebe, President of Rossdown Farms and Rossdown Natural Foods in Abbotsford, producers of free-run and organic poultry that get shipped around the world. This third-generation chicken farmer got an early start gathering eggs with his grandfather and he’s now guiding his own children’s involvement in the industry.

How did you get into chicken farming?

I learned a lot from my dad and my grandfather. They were both industry leaders, very innovative and progressive. I also liked the opportunities the lifestyle offered so, after completing my Agriculture degree, I came back here.

Can you tell us about your farming operation?

When my grandfather started out, he had one farm, one barn and 8,000 birds. Today, we run about 400,000 birds per cycle and, by some industry standards, we’re actually considered small. We like it this way, though, because it lets us be more hands-on. Animal care is very important to us. We have very strict industry standards so we’re always educating and training our staff. For us, a happy chicken is a healthy chicken and that makes for a quality product.

What makes your farms so unique?

We’re a “farm to plate” operation – one of the only vertically-integrated facilities in Canada. We handle every part of the operation – from breeding and hatching to growing, processing and delivery. We even have our own feed milling division. We like to say our food is truly traceable because we’ve been involved in every aspect of its production, right from the beginning.

How has the shift in consumer food trends affected you?

Food safety and traceability are important: people really want to know more about where their food comes from. There’s also been increased interest in organic food these past few years, which has been interesting because – for us – it’s very similar to traditional methods of raising poultry. We’ve pursued these markets because they’re closely tied to our philosophy as a family as well as how we like to raise our flocks and what we’re producing.

What’s your favourite thing about being a chicken farmer?

I get a lot of satisfaction out of seeing the kind of quality that goes into our farming operation that results in a quality product for consumers. Integrity is a word that you hear a lot at Rossdown. It’s part of who we are and it’s one of the values that shape our business. When you know you’re involved in making something that’s ethically good and environmentally sustainable, that’s a great feeling.

Can you describe a typical day for you on your farm?

We’re all multi-taskers – we’ll pitch in wherever we’re needed. And we all have our own responsibilities to take care of. Some are focused on the business side while others spend more time with the operations.

What was it like being involved in the Chicken Squad Investigates video?

It was a great experience and a lot of fun. I like being part of something with such a strong message because it really will help change perceptions about who we are and what we do.

Dale Krahn

Abbotsford, BC

Dale Krahn

Abbotsford, BC

Dale, Jody and their three children – Drew, Jade and Kaci – are part of a family-run poultry farm in Abbotsford that also includes Dale’s two brothers and their families. When he’s not busy with the chickens, Dale can be found ATV-ing, snowboarding, fishing, hiking and other activities that involve his kids. His favourite chicken recipe is BBQ Lime Chicken (see recipe below).

How did you get into chicken farming?

Our farming operation began in the early 50’s, with my grandfather growing strawberries. In the 70’s, my dad and my uncles started our first turkey farm. From there, they ventured out into laying hens, and later on in the 80s they added broiler chickens.

Can you tell us about your farming operation?

We have broilers, turkeys and laying hens and a small feed mill.

What’s your favourite thing about being a chicken farmer?

Living on the farm with my family and being able to teach my kids all about farming and raising chickens.

Can you describe a typical day for you on your farm?

I wake up around 5:30 AM and, after making coffee, I head into the barns around 6 AM for a walk-through. I make sure the chickens have all of the feed and water that they need and that there aren’t any problems. I head back into the house around 8 AM to send my kids off to school and grab some breakfast. Then I’ll head back into the barns to walk through and do any repairs and maintenance and check on general bird health.

Can you describe your experiences involved in the BC Chicken Growers Association?

The BCCGA has provided me with a lot of learning experiences. I’ve had the opportunity to take the Poultry In MotionTM mini-barn to fairs and schools to show kids where some of their food comes from and how it’s raised. I’ve also been able to network with other farmers and share best management practices. The group really unites growers, whether it involves pricing, bio security, or just how to grow happy, healthy chickens.

Are you involved with any other organizations or associations outside of the BCCMB?

I’m a director on the Investment Agriculture Foundation and a director on the Abbotsford Community Foundation.

What was it like being involved in the Chicken Squad Investigates video?

This was my first time in front of a professional camera with a crew of people making things work just right. Doing take after take and trying to get my lines just right was difficult but the experience was incredible.

Dale Krahn’s BBQ Lime Chicken Recipe

2 whole chickens cut up (wings, legs, thighs, breast)
*can use the back or save for soup stock

2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice
3/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 cups chopped fresh cilantro

Ken Falk

Chilliwack, BC

Ken Falk

Chilliwack, BC

Farming is in Ken Falk’s DNA. Four generations of his family have worked the land, raised animals and grown crops and produce on their Chilliwack farm. Ken has personally been involved on the poultry side for more than 40 years, starting out with ducks and geese then expanding to include Taiwan chicken (popular in Chinese cuisine), organic broilers, squab and turkeys.

Can you tell me about your farming operation?

We’re really committed to quality, wholesomeness, safety and accountability when it comes to our chickens. We know more and more people are taking greater interest in their food. They want to know where it came from and who was involved in its production.

What’s your favourite thing about being a chicken farmer?

We’re really passionate about our poultry farming operations. Because we are a farm to plate operation, we get to see the development of the product through more than just the growing stage. There’s a lot of satisfaction in seeing our products through all the stages, from the very beginning to when it gets put out on the store shelves.

What’s your favourite chicken dish?

To choose a favourite chicken dish is almost impossible for me. There are so many ways it can be prepared. In any given month, we could serve it roasted, fried, BBQ’d, smoked, in a casserole or even in a pot of home-made chicken noodle soup!

Can you describe a typical day for you on your farm?

My typical day starts really early. There are barns to check and we have to ensure that the birds have abundant food and water and, most importantly, that they’re comfortable. We also have to coordinate processing and distribution.

Can you describe your experiences involved in the BC Chicken Marketing Board (BCCMB)?

It’s really given me an appreciation of the benefits of having a supply-managed system, both for producers and consumers. With supply management, all chicken farmers participate in mandatory animal care and food safety programs, which are regulated by the BCCMB.

What was it like being part of the Chicken Squad Intelligence video?

It was definitely challenging for me to have a speaking role in the video but it’s something that I took very seriously because I’m really dedicated to educating people about our products and dispelling myths about how chickens are raised. When you think about it, who better than a chicken farmer to be an ambassador for telling consumers about all the many excellent products we bring to their tables?

Fred Redekop

Abbotsford, BC

Fred Redekop

Abbotsford, BC

If you ask Fred Redekop what came first, the chicken or the egg, he’ll probably tell you it was a tie. It’s what happens when you’re involved on both sides of the poultry industry. In addition to his chicken farm, he and his wife, Andrea, also operate a layer farm as well. They’ve been running their own farming operation in Abbotsford for more than 30 years. Their two children, now grown, attend local universities. Fred’s favourite chicken dish? That’s also a tie: roast chicken and anything done on the BBQ.

How did you get into chicken farming?

Chicken farming was a natural progression for me. I grew up in the industry, working alongside my dad on the family farm.

Can you tell us about your farming operation?

We grow mainstream broilers and RWA (raised without antibiotics) broilers in cycles about  eight weeks long, with about 105,000 birds per cycle. Andrea helps out with chores whenever she can but her main concerns are the books and handling the office work.

What’s your favorite thing about being a chicken farmer?

I love being my own boss. (laughs) I like to think that I work for the chickens. Seriously, though, I really do enjoy working with the birds. Keeping them happy and healthy is my main focus. Good flock management is so important and I get a lot of satisfaction out of it. There are always going to be challenges, but you learn how to deal with those. It helps that there are some really great people in the industry, other farmers who have helped build a really strong community.

Can you describe a typical day for you on your farm?

The day starts early for me. I’ll spend the first hour in the office going through emails. From there, I’ll head to the barns and talk to the farm managers to get their updates. After that, I’ll look in on the birds to see how they’re doing and then discus potential issues that have come up. This might seem like it shouldn’t take a lot of time, but it can actually take several hours if there are things that need attention. I’ll also pitch in as an extra set of hands when needed.

Can you describe your experiences involved in the industry?

I’m currently a Director on the BC Chicken Growers’ Association for about four years now. I really enjoy participating at this level, taking part in all the discussions and activities. It’s great working with the other directors and I’m much more aware now, too – not just of the industry but of some of the big issues that we’re facing, like education and awareness. I’m also involved in the price and production committee, which has been very informative: we’ve had some interesting challenges to work through.

Are you involved with any other organizations or associations outside of the BCCMB?

I’m also on the Board of Directors for Fresh Start Foods, which is part owner of an egg processing plant.

What was it like being involved in the Chicken Squad Investigates video?

It was great. A lot of fun. And it was worth doing because educating the public is so important for our industry.

Chris Kloot

Rosedale, BC

Chris Kloot

Rosedale, BC

Chris farms in Rosedale with his wife Nella, three boys Steve, Justin and Collin, and two faithful Golden Retrievers. Some sheep, a horse and two lovely donkeys round out the family. On cold, rainy days Chris’ favorite way to eat chicken is with his signature “Chicken Bake” featuring cubed chicken breast sautéed with peppers, onions, mushrooms and celery and then stirred together with prepared noodles and a special sauce. Throw it in oven for half an hour and voila: deliciousness! Chris also serves on The City of Chilliwack’s Agricultural Advisory Committee and as a director and President Elect for the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board.

What is your favourite thing about being a chicken farmer?

I think the best part of chicken farming is how rewarding and flexible it is. Our biggest asset (and expense) is the controlled computer system that monitors heat, humidity, lighting, etc, allowing us to leave the farm for short periods of time. For example, last month at the spur of the moment we decided to skiing for the day at Manning Park. You get up a bit earlier so that you can do a quick check on the barn and off you go. This does mean once you get home you still have to walk through the barn but at least we were able to go out for the day as a family.

Living on a farm is great for the family. My boys like nothing better then to be at home and outside! The three of them and their friends love to ride horse or tromp through the fields to the forest out back with their pellet guns and spend the day building forts and shooting targets

How did you get into chicken farming? 

Being born and raised on a dairy farm, I know how rewarding farming is and what a satisfied lifestyle it offers. I went into real estate more then a decade ago and also truly enjoy that. However, as with anything I think it is prudent to diversify, and with this in mind we decided to purchase broiler quota and embark on chicken farming.  It has been a great move, one that allows me to continue on full time with real estate, yet also having the opportunity to farm, so it doesn’t get much better then that!

Describe a typical day for you on your farm.

We usually have breakfast together as a family. While my wife gets lunches made and the boys off to school, I do a check on the barn, grab my lunch and head to the gym before my day spent in whatever real estate brings me. After lunch my wife will do a thorough walk through the barn, observing the flock, checking and adjusting water pressure, lines and fans and is done before the boys come home from school.  I usually get home from work at 5:30 and we again can sit down for a family meal. Around 8pm I will head outside to lock up the pets for the night and do a final check on the barn.

Describe your experience in set shooting for the Chicken Squad campaign?

It really has been an awesome experience. There were some fairly long days, but it gave me a new respect for those involved in the film business and how time consuming it is to get the ‘right’ footage. Working together with fellow growers and getting to know each other better, as well as knowing how rewarding it is for our industry to be able to educate the public in a fun way on why we are proud to be farmers felt great.

What do you like to do outside of the farm? 

I myself love my mini road trips exploring the many back roads of the Fraser Valley and Interior.  However, the rest of my family gets carsick (and not because of the way I drive!) so I don’t get to do that as often as I like. I like to run, and try to do the seawall quite regularly or hike the Grouse Grind in the summer. Free time is precious, so it’s a treat to just zone out and relax, go for a bike ride with the kids or hang out.

Dave Janzen

Yarrow, BC

Dave Janzen

Yarrow, BC

David Janzen is a leader in both provincial and national agriculture organizations. He has served as Chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada since 2012. Dave was a Member of the BC Chicken Marketing Board from 2006-2012 and served as a Director of the BC Chicken Growers Association for several years before that.  David started farming with his wife Jeannie in 1981 on a site right next door to the dairy farm where he grew up in Yarrow, BC. They have four married children and they were proud to welcome thier first granddaughter this year. When is not farming or attending meetings in Ottawa, you will find him travelling to faraway places such as Eastern Europe or Africa.

Bram Middelburg

Chilliwack, BC

Bram Middelburg

Chilliwack, BC

Bram farms in Chillwack with his wife of more than 20 years, three daughters, two sons and one son-in-law. In addition to their chickens, a tribe of dogs, cats, sheep and rabbits keep them company. Bram’s favorite way to have chicken is rotisserie style on the barbeque on a nice warm summer day with the family to share it with.

What is your favourite thing about being a chicken farmer?

But being home, watching my kids grow up and being my own boss is the beauty of living on a farm. With two son’s working on dairy farms and myself and my wife having worked in greenhouses we know how important it is to provide quality, healthy food. It’s important to do everything possible to provide the highest quality product possible. For us farming has always been a way of life, we love it and all its benefits. Family time being the greatest of those perks. God has blessed our family in more ways than we can count. Anytime my family can get together is the best time for me! That’s what I get up in the morning for, my family.

How did you get into chicken farming?

Before we moved to Canada my wife and I were heavily involved in the greenhouse industry. We love to work with things that grow. In Holland we had already begun researching chicken farming. The more we learned the more we thought we would like it. We visited Canada a few times before moving and when we arrived in B.C. we knew it was the place for us. We purchased a small property with a few older chicken barns on it and we’ve been chicken farming ever since. And to say the least we love it.

Describe a typical day for you on your farm.

A regular day for me starts pretty early in the morning. The first thing I usually do is head straight for the barn. I’ll do my first walk through of the day and make sure everything is all right.

This is usually also the time when I’ll make any computer adjustments if I need to, depending on the temperature and weather. Next I go back inside and make breakfast for my kids before they head off to school.

Once they’re gone I usually have plenty to do around the farm. After lunch I’ll do my second walk through and go back to whatever I was doing, whether that be gardening or washing my tractor or any other number of regular tasks.

My afternoons and evenings are usually filled with driving my kids around or picking them up and somewhere in there I like to sit around the dinner table with my family and hear about their day. Then before bed I do one more walk through and then it all starts over the next morning.

Describe your experience on set for the Chicken Squad campaign.

I had a lot of nerves in the beginning and wasn’t always sure what I was supposed to do, but the director walked me through everything and I had a lot of fun. Some of the days were really long, shooting over and over for only a few seconds of footage. But being someone who appreciates a good movie, I now have a lot more respect for all the people and time and effort that goes into making one.

What do you like to do outside of the farm?

When there is nobody else around I actually really enjoy going for a drive in my truck, or just setting up a lawn chair in the back yard and soaking up some sun. If I don’t have to leave the farm I usually won’t. It’s my own little piece of paradise and I love it.

We are a Christian family so church is important. My wife and daughters especially are involved in our church helping out with Sunday school and the nursery. My kids are active in sports, 4-H, and school sports of course.

Carolyn Nickel

Chilliwack, BC

Carolyn Nickel

Chilliwack, BC

Carolyn farms in Chilliwack with her husband lance, three boys, and two dogs. They are famous among friends for their roasted beer can chicken on the BBQ. The meat is juicy and the skin so crispy and flavourful.

Describe a typical day for you on your farm.

Lance and I try to divide the barn chores so that it makes it easier for us.  Lance will check the barn on his day off or before his work.  He wakes up around 6 am and enjoys peace and quiet before our whole household wakes in noise and demands.  Then he will drive around the corner to his mom’s house where her barn is and check all of the control panels to make sure the feed, water, air and humidity are all at optimal levels.  Then he will put on his coveralls and rubber boots to enter into the barn.  The noises you want to hear are happy ‘cheeps’ and ‘coos’ and to see the chickens happily running around eating and drinking freely.  Once you walk from one end of the barn and back again a few times, you can leave the barn.  The chicken results are recorded in a computer.

If Lance can’t get to the barn in the mornings, I will do the ‘walk through’.  This way it gives us both a lot of experience handling the birds.  My favourite stage of raising the chickens is the first week they arrive.  They will follow any sound you make on the first day after they hatch.  The boys and I think this is hilarious because if you are silent and still, they don’t seem to notice you, but if you speak or cough the chicks will flock to you and you will be surrounded by hundreds of little yellow heads.  Sometimes the boys find their favourite chick and let it ride around on their shoulder.  I am still waiting for one to poop on them but it hasn’t happened yet.  That will be hilarious.

Describe your experience on set shooting for the Chicken Squad campaign.

Lance and I were pretty excited about getting to do something that didn’t involve washing machines, ovens or grocery stores.  I really didn’t know what would be so interesting about our lives and who we are.  During the audition, I felt relaxed and enjoyed watching all of us make fools of ourselves.  During the shoot it allowed me to see a different side of Lance and the boys.  Lance was hilarious trying to be a bad guy and seeing the boys interacting with the crew during the audition was a highlight.

It was fun to be out of the role of mom and dad for a few hours and pretend to be like movie stars.  The filming left an impression on the boys because for days after they would pretend to be the ‘Chicken Squad’ arresting the bad guys. I learned that being in front of a camera isn’t easy. You feel very vulnerable and extremely aware of saying or doing the wrong thing.  I am amazed at how long it took to get the scene perfect and how much attention to detail is needed.

Tell me about your family.

I think we are like everyone else.  Trying to make a living and pay off bills.  We aren’t afraid to work hard but we also know that our time with our kids is short.  Having three boys has taught Lance and I that we can’t control everything. Sometimes I feel very overwhelmed with the responsibility of farming and family life. We have two big dogs that make us laugh a lot.  Mocha, our large lab, has a favourite rock that if he walks by it he jumps on it and starts barking and howling at it.  His howling makes our other dog ‘Charlie’ howl too and this makes the boys laugh and they try to get Mocha jumping on the rock more.  Our two cats catch a lot of mice and leave them in the barn for us discover.  We’ll see what discoveries the next years of our life will bring.

Lance Nickel

Chilliwack, BC

Lance Nickel

Chilliwack, BC

Lance farms in Chilliwack with his wife Carolyn, three boys, and two dogs. They named their farm Dime Acres because two “Nickel’s” make a dime!  

What is your favourite thing about being a chicken farmer?

We view chicken farming as a hobby; we enjoy spending time at the farm with the chickens.  Once you have the opportunity to build something and fill it with living things, there is a sense of accomplishment that you feel.  When you are taking care of any animal I think you enjoy watching them thrive and grow.  Walking through the barns everyday allows us to tune out the rest of the world out and slow things down.  Besides, if you walk too fast the chickens get scared and pile up on themselves.

How did you get into chicken farming?

My family were dairy farmers for their whole lives until my dad got sick with cancer and couldn’t take care of the dairy farm anymore. My mother still wanted to farm her acreage after the cows were sold.  After much deliberation, she decided to start with chicken farming because it is less labour intensive compared to dairy farming. We helped her do some research and got connected with the right people. She realized it would be a possibility, and she built her barn.  We now manage the farm together.

What do we like to do outside of the farm?

Carolyn and I are big campers.  When we had one baby we would pack up the tent and all of the Tupperware bins and meet our friends at some beautiful lakes.  It didn’t take long to realise that waking up with a river of rain running through our tent and tarps hung all over the place made us pretty miserable.  Since then we have a travel trailer that makes my life a lot easier. The kids bring their bikes. All they need is a shovel and a pail to make bike jumps and they can amuse themselves for hours.

We are pretty laid back and like to have people over for dinner and light a fire in the evening.  The kids think it’s adventurous to be outside when it’s dark and they will try to hide around the corner and scare us.

Mike Braun

Abbotsford, BC

Mike Braun

Abbotsford, BC

Mike farms in Abbotsford with his wife. His two grown sons work outside of the farm. Slow roasted on the BBQ with Hy’s Seasoning salt is his preferred way to enjoy chicken.

What is your favorite thing about being a chicken farmer?

We enjoy farming and producing a product that is one of the most popular food choices in North America.

How did you get into chicken farming?

We started our own chicken farm because I grew up in the industry.

Describe a typical day for you on your chicken farm.

We do what is called ‘Good Chores’ in the morning, meaning a full walk around the barns cleaning up and adjusting the equipment, and then a ‘quick check’ in the evenings.

Describe your experience on set for the Chicken Squad campaign.

The campaign was educational to watch and learn about the details and efforts that go into making a film or commercial.

What do you like to do outside of the farm?

I enjoy selling Real Estate including other farms.

Mark Bartel

Armstrong, BC

Mark Bartel

Armstrong, BC

Mark farms in Armstrong with his wife and four children. His favorite way to eat chicken is grilled on the barbecue, crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside.

What is your favorite thing about being a chicken farmer?

My favorite thing about chicken farming is working close to home and growing a great product for the people around me.

How did you get into chicken farming?

I got into chicken farming about 8 years ago as part of the New Entrance Program that BC has.

Describe a typical day for you on your chicken farm.

A typical day on my farm is getting out to the barns and checking on the birds, doing maintenance around the farm, and in the spring we’re putting a crop in and farming the land.

Describe your experience on set for the Chicken Squad campaign.

Filming the Chicken Squad campaign was a great way to see how the film industry works and how much time is put into a very short scene. It was great being part of the cast.

What do you like to do outside of the farm?

Outside of farming I coach my son’s hockey team, am Vice President of the local soccer association and also work as a Director for the Chicken Growers’ Association .Our family loves traveling, biking, quading, and playing games.

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