So far in our blog series on Meyer Hatchery’s early years and growth, we’ve unveiled how Karen Meyer started her hatchery business and how it has grown over the past three decades. Today, let’s discuss how the age of technology and computers has changed the operations and efficiency in the chick hatchery business. I’ll also share with you sage advice Karen has for anyone interested in starting their own business.
The early 2000’s brought lots of changes to Meyer Hatchery. Business was booming. With the expanding business and diversity of breed offerings meant there were many more “moving parts” that needed to be done each and every week. The biggest changes in the early 2000’s was adding even more staff and allowing certain individuals to specialize into certain roles and responsibilities within the hatchery’s daily operations, as I discussed in Volume 2.
To offer a wider variety of breeds to their growing customer base, Karen and her staff sourced hatching eggs from up to twelve different local farms in the early years. As you may imagine, each flock would of course be managed slightly differently; feeding, lighting, preventative medical care and other aspects of each off-site laying flock was slightly different and that would sometimes affect the rate of hatch or egg quality. In the spring of 2011, construction began on the first on-site layer barn so that Meyer Hatchery would have better control over the health, feeding and care of the laying flocks. Currently, 4 layer barns house around 80 different breeds of chickens and the broad breasted turkey flocks. All other species are either supplied as hatching eggs that we hatch in house, or we partner with another hatchery to supply certain specialty poultry species.
To know Karen Meyer is to watch a great example of female entrepreneurs in agriculture. When I asked Karen what advice she has for anyone wishing to start and run a successful business, she shares solid wisdom. First, listen to industry leaders who have come before you. We can learn much from those who have paved some of the way for us. Secondly, Karen shares that she makes it a point to surround herself with good people who are smarter than she. Although, from my observation, she’s a very smart person herself! Karen’s final piece of advice is when trying something new, give it three tries, if it’s not working, it’s time to move on.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the history of Meyer Hatchery. If you want an up-close and hands-on chance to see the hatchery in person, make plans to attend the annual Customer Appreciation day that is held each summer. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for next year’s date announcement when the time is near!