Chickens cluck, pigs snuffle and turkeys add a chorus of gobbles.
These are the sounds of farm animals who call Hendrickson Homestead home.
Abbotsford realtor Todd Hendrickson, his wife Shelley and their son Taylor purchased the 10-acre property in the South Shuswap on March 2.
Six months later, Hendrickson Homestead is a thriving farm with its own poultry abattoir and is being managed in a sustainable manner.
“We made the move largely because of Taylor who took a course in meat cutting at TRU,” said Todd, pointing out the family had a longtime dream of sustainable farming and raising chickens that are happy. “Every day, we move them and they get new grass, bugs and whatever they can scratch up. Along with some grain, it’s happy healthy food, and what they leave behind is ground we can utilize.”
Food chickens are moved every day, turkeys every few days, and pasture-raised layers are moved to a new quarter-acre every few days in an egg mobile that is basically a chicken coop on wheels.
The Hendricksons operate a poultry abattoir under the guidance of a Ministry of Agriculture employee, who makes sure none of the birds are diseased and that they are processed in the proper and humane way.
“They are also there to teach us,” said Todd, noting the Hendricksons are unable to process their pigs, which are taken elsewhere.
As well as processing their own poultry, the Hendricksons are providing the service to others, whether they have 10, 20 chickens or 150 for personal use or to sell.
Taylor said TRU provided a nine-month foundational course and he is now in the process of gaining hands-on experience.
“The way I describe it is, I’ve been able to try everything, but I haven’t got to do it all,” he said. “I still have to learn.”
A cook for 10 years, Taylor is passionate about food and loves cooking.
“I kept wanting to learn more and more, and the more I looked into it, I saw that people want and need good, local food,” he said. “Working outside was very appealing, and with a lot of online research, I gradually fell in love with farming.”
Todd and Shelley both own businesses in the Lower Mainland but fed off Taylor’s enthusiasm for farm life and are viewing the homestead as “a fade into retirement.”
Hendrickson Homestead is now selling pasture-raised chicken and eggs. Turkeys will be available in a few weeks.
“We are not able to do cut and wrap for the poultry right now,” said Todd, noting the family’s aim is to provide the ability for families to buy good local poultry to eat, or have their own poultry processed at the homestead.
“We’ll have cut and wrap next year and that will allow us to offer other products such as poultry parts, sausages, turkey burgers or chicken burgers.”
As well as being available online, Hendrickson chickens and eggs will be available at the Salmon Arm Saturday Market with Wee Acres on Saturday, Sept. 10. For more information or to make a purchase, visit hendricksonhomestead.ca.
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