Great flexibility and security
Around 500 poultry masters look after the rearing of Optigal chickens. Alois Bächler-Roth from Eschenbach, Lucerne, is one of them. The farmer is convinced by the chicken rearing and long-term partnership with Micarna.
It is more like a partnership than is the case with other animals. Also because when it comes to Optigal chickens, Micarna holds the entire value creation chain in its hands.
Green meadows, fruit trees and satisfied seeming cattle in the meadow: the operation belonging to Alios Bächler-Roth in Eschenbach is a textbook example of a family-run farm. In addition to his free range cattle and a few acres of farmland, chicken rearing is also a fixed component of the daily work around the farm. “We have had Optigal chicken on our farm for over 20 years, first in one shed and for the past few years in two chicken sheds”, explained Alois Bächler-Roth.
What seems to be the natural thing in the world for this farmer takes getting used for other farmers in the region, especially at first. “Central Switzerland is known for pig rearing. A proper farm has dairy cows and pigs. But then, our farm always was somehow different. I wanted an alternative to raising pigs and I found it in poultry.”
Chicken is popular and especially Swiss poultry is in great demand. This is a trend that, according to the experts, will continue, primarily because chicken is considered to be a healthy and religion-neutral meat. “This development has been already been in progress for a few years. As we were in the process of renovating our farm, we therefore consciously chose to go our own way and to risk something that not everyone in our region does.”
To date he has not regretted switching over to raising chickens. Actually, quite the opposite is true: “I enjoy the great flexibility that comes with raising chickens and, at the same time, the financial security. To look after chickens is a bit easier in the regular farming workday than, for example, raising pigs or calves, which are often more demanding it terms of time and personnel. Moreover, thanks to my modern chicken shed with the conservatory I do not create any odour or noise emissions.”
High quality and good advice
Besides the flexibility that comes with chickens during the fattening phase, the farmer especially appreciates the cooperation with Micarna. “It is more like a partnership than is the case with other animals. Also because, when it comes to Optigal chickens, Micarna holds the entire value creation chain in its hands. This automatically brings us closer today so that we work as a partnership and pursue the same interests.” One example of this is the supplying of feed for which the farmer can rely on consistent quality. “I know that the feed that I receive from Micarna is always perfectly matched to the age and development of my livestock. I do not need to worry that something has been mixed into it or that it has been genetically modified.”
Alois Bächler-Roth also feels well looked after when it come to the health of the animals. “After so many years in chicken rearing, you develop an eye for potential problem animals; you know which ones need a second look and what you can do if not everything is going smoothly. And most of all, I know that if I do happen to have a problem or a question, the Micarna veterinarian and poultry specialists at standing by to assist me at any time.”
The next generation is ready
The farmer can also depend on support from his family. Besides his wife Dora, their four children, Marc (17), Melina (15), Reto (13) and Ladina (10) also like helping on the farm. “For the youngest, the chicks are of course always the highlight, especially when they can be there during their cooping.” But the children also know what happens with the animals once the 35-day fattening period is over. “They are growing up on the farm. It is quite normal for them: they look lovingly after the animals as long as they are on the farm, but know that they will have to say goodbye to them later.”
It remains to be seen whether one of the four children will become a farmer themselves or perhaps even a poultry master. “For now, they enjoy life on the farm, but first they should stand on their own two feet, get an education, travel.” Alois Bächler-Roth can thoroughly recommend the work on the farm and the partnership with Micarna: “You are flexible, are free to plan your work and your day, always have the family around you, and with Micarna, when it comes to chicken rearing, you have a reliable and trustworthy partner at your side.”