Thunder Bay chicken farm growing with help from CFO’s Artisanal Chicken Program
Haywire Farm has doubled its flock in one year
By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content
A Thunder Bay chicken farm’s involvement in Chicken Farmers of Ontario’s (CFO) Artisanal Chicken Program is paying dividends.
Haywire Farm applied for and received CFO approval to be a part of the program in 2015. The program helps small-scale operations sell their chickens through a variety of avenues including local farmers markets and restaurants.
Haywire Farm began selling chickens in 2007. At the time, it was limited to raising about 300 birds.
But since enrolling in the program, farm business has increased.
“Last year we raised 600 chickens and this year we’re raising 1,400,” Zach Reszitnyk, who runs the farm with his wife Ericka, told Farms.com.
Zach and Ericka Reszitnyk
Photo: Facebook/Haywire Farm
“Before we were only allowed to raise 300 chickens and have farm gate sales. Now we can raise them commercially and can sell fresh chickens every two weeks.”
Zach and Ericka sell their chickens for about $5.35 per pound at the Thunder Bay Country Market and to other local customers.
Reszitnyk’s future plans include possible expansion, but CFO needs to pay the farm a visit first.
“We have our yearly audit coming up, and after that we’ll decide if we want to increase our numbers,” he said.
“We have to make sure the demand is there and that our infrastructure can support it.”
Reszitnyk estimates the audit can take between four and six hours. A CFO official will examine all aspects of the farm including housing and financial paperwork.
Reszitnyk grew up on a farm in the Thunder Bay area which included strawberries and chickens.
His farm also includes 100 laying hens, seven sows, about 50 piglets and a small herd of cows and sheep.
But chickens provide the fastest turnaround for profit, says Reszitnyk.
“You keep a chicken for 10 to 12 weeks, then you have your money,” he said.
“When you look at beef markets, it could be almost three years before you get your money back. We’re starting off with a low overhead but with a good profit potential.”