Breeders: In order to bring top-quality chicken to market, our farms use the internationally-renowned Cobb and Aviagen American genetic techniques for poultry production. The birds are treated with respect and live in a natural egg-laying environment. Comprising of 12 hen houses with 10,000 units each, these farms produce fertilized eggs that will hatch to become meat-producing chickens. These eggs (over 14 million per year) are then transported to our hatchery for the incubation period.
Hatchery: The eggs, which come from various farms, are placed in incubators for 18 days. We recreate the bird’s natural environment by placing the eggs on trays that rock at regular intervals. In these closed chambers, the temperature is set to 99.5°C and humidity is 86%.
After the incubation, the eggs are placed in the hatching chamber. Modern technology allows us to vaccinate the chicks through the shell at this time in order to immunize them and avoid future medication. The eggs hatch 3 days later, 22 to 28 days after they were laid.
At birth, chicks are vaccinated and divided according to sex. Males are identified by the even rows of feathers on their wings (the females having longer primaries, creating uneven feathers). Once the personnel has ensured that the chicks are healthy, they are counted and transported in a truck to the farms.
Distribution: Transportation plays a key role in supply and transfer. Groupe Westco and its subsidiaries own over 30 transportation units in order to transport chicks, grain, eggs, feed and wood chips.
Broiler chicken and turkey: Production is one of Groupe Westco’s main activities. We are proud to be one of Canada’s largest producer. In addition to owning Manitoba’s second largest farm, we produce 51% of the chickens and 67% of the turkeys in New Brunswick.
The production process starts when the chicks arrive at our hatchery. Every hen house has been previously cleaned and disinfected. Meat-producing chickens are not raised in cages; they are placed on a wood chip litter and grow freely and in limited numbers. The chickens are mature after about 6 weeks. Hen turkeys require 12 weeks to mature and tom turkeys need 17 weeks. These birds will then be transported to the slaughterhouse.
Our ultramodern barns are equipped with a cooling system that keeps the air clean. The temperature and luminosity are maintained according to strict standards. The farms are linked by an information system that warns, for example, of any fluctuation in temperature or humidity level. Bird feeding with top quality grains and fresh water is also done automatically. On the farms, prevention is key. Biosecurity principles dictate strict rules for all visitors to avoid contamination from the outside. In addition, our team of agrologists and veterinarians regularly evaluate the health of the poultry.