For the past eight years Foster Farms has had a chicken hatchery in Turlock that has not been utilized, but that is about to change.
The poultry company is taking steps to renovate the building at 1506 S. Walnut Rd. to enlarge the existing facility by 5,400 square feet. Site improvements include air handling units, electrical upgrades, as well as installing hatching equipment like incubators which will be added to convert the site from a chicken hatchery to a turkey hatchery.
So what precisely happens at a hatchery?
“Clean eggs are placed into incubators. Incubators control temperature, humidity and turn the eggs until they hatch. When the birds hatch, they are separated from the shells, vaccinated and placed in baskets to be delivered to ranches,” explained said Yubert Envia, vice president of Turkey and Prepared Foods at Foster Farms.
The expansion will allow Foster Farms to increase its hatch and provide better quality poult, or baby turkeys. It will also add 25 jobs to the local economy.
“The Walnut hatchery in Turlock will give Foster Farms the capacity to set 300,000 turkey eggs per week. This extra capacity will allow the company to consolidate its turkey hatching operations into one hatchery. This will be a great benefit since most of Foster Farms Turkey Division operations are located in Turlock,” said Envia.
Foster Farms is currently undergoing the permitting process and the new hatchery is not scheduled to be operational until May 2016.