In mid-January, Sean and Bonnie Bredenhof were about to place their first flock of organic laying hens after receiving a 3,000-bird quota in the B.C. Egg Marketing Board new entrant lottery about two years earlier.
After getting the “free” quota, the Bredenhofs acquired land and built a new pullet barn and layer barn with a Farmer Automatic Loggia aviary, the first such system in B.C. Although the two-tier housing system has a spacious walkway between its two rows, birds are not segregated and are free to travel between tiers and rows and access outdoor grazing areas through trap doors located on one side of the barn. However, they do not have to move as feed, water and nesting is available on each tier.
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Even with free quota, Sean says 3,000 birds is not enough for a viable operation, so he built the barn to house 7,000 birds. He then augmented the new entrant quota with 2,500 leased birds to bring the initial flock to 5,500 birds. Sean notes that leasing was the only way to increase their initial flock size. “New entrants don’t get a producer licence until they start shipping eggs,” he says. “We can’t acquire any quota until we’re actual producers or we would lose our new entrant quota.”
Location - Chilliwack, B.C.
Sector - Layers, egg production