Ronald and Janneke Hamstra pride themselves on being organized.
The Hamstras were dairy farmers in Alberta but moved east to Manitoba when they felt it was time for a change. Wanting to find a farm operation that was more flexible, they found an ideally sized farm in Landmark, just outside Winnipeg. Chicken farming suits the growing family’s goals nicely.
“We believe chicken has lots of potential,” says Janneke. “As a meat, it is very versatile; from sandwich to fancy dinner – and it’s really good.”
Despite only recently entering the chicken industry, the family operation is going strong and the Hamstras have high hopes for the continued success of their farm. With a few years under their belts, along with some learning time working at another farm, Ronald and Janneke are still learning the nuances of chicken farming but they believe their background in dairy farming will put them in good stead.
“We chose chicken farming because we are able to take care of the farm as a family. It is a very organized and well-managed industry,” says Janneke. “We don’t find it too labour intensive, but it is very ‘hands-on’. You’ve got to be right in there with the birds, observing them and knowing what they need.”
Firm believers in the credo that animals must be treated with the utmost care, the Hamstras were happy to find that Canada enforces stringent guidelines for the care and handling of birds and that the regulations governing the farm are “chicken friendly”. With feed, hatchery and processing all within 30 minutes of their farm, the Hamstras are also happy to note that no birds coming to or going from their farm have far to travel.