Meet BC Chicken Farmers Fred

Meet Fred

If you ask Fred 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 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 favourite 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.