With turkey supplies in a shortage, a new chicken breeder is hoping to help fill that void.
Tricorder Farms of Tempe, Arizona, is a tiny operation with a few dozen employees.
Its breeder, John Jansen, is working to expand the company to include chicken production in a larger factory.
Tucson, Arizona-based Tucsons chickens are raised in a small, barn-style facility on a ranch near Tucson.
There, the company keeps the birds in large outdoor enclosures and feeds them free-range eggs, chicken broth, and beef.
Toughest Chicken-related Issues in 2017Tricorders breeder John Jenson works to expand production of chickens at his chicken farm in Tempe.
It is not a sustainable business model.
“The chicken breeding industry is growing very rapidly, and it has always been sustainable,” Jansen said.
“It’s always been a good business model.”
The chicken industry is expected to grow to about 25 million birds by 2021.
That will require more stringent breed standards and higher production costs for large commercial farms.
While many chicken breders will make a living from chickens, some smaller farms have found it difficult to keep up.
Tacoma-based Piedmont Farm in the southeastern U.S. was founded in 1998 and has raised nearly 1 million chickens.
Piedmoons chickens have grown to about 1.8 million, and its breeder said it would take “many, many years” to fully restore production.
Piedmont Farms has a small breeder facility that has been producing poultry for almost 20 years.
The breeder and Piedmoes owners have raised more than 6,000 chickens.
“We would love to continue to make it a viable business model,” Piedmund’s owner, John S. Kieffer, said in an interview with Polygon.
“But we have to continue the education and the research, and that’s a hard thing to do.
We have to make sure we can maintain the quality of the chicken and the quality and safety of the animals.
I think that is an ongoing challenge.”
Tucsons breeder Jansen works to increase the breeder’s supply of chickens for commercial farming.
“We have to be sure we keep our breeder community up and running and do the research so we can make sure that we don’t have to rely on somebody else for the supply,” Jensen said.
Pricing chicken is not the only challenge.
The poultry industry is still evolving.
While some chicken growers have expanded their operations to include breeding, some will continue to focus on breeding for the consumer market.
“The chicken meat industry is moving very fast, but there are still a lot of things to do,” said John Kiefer, owner of Tacomitas.
“People are looking for more, more complex meat.”