Published on June 23, 2020
Customer highlight: Westwind Poultry Farms
Westwind Poultry Farm’s mission is summed up as “working to hatch a better tomorrow”.
This focus on the future has been a part of this family business since its founding in 1962. Westwind Farms has a long history in the egg industry, where it has remained a family operated and run company.
The company was founded by Bob DeCloux and Bob Clock in 1962 as a provider of pullets and later started hatching chicks. Thirty years later, the company partnered with Euribrid Inc. with the goal of reintroducing the Hisex genetic products into North America. In 1995, now a Managing Partner, Peter DeCloux formed Westwind Farms as an alternative production farm focused on cage-free eggs. This was an important moment as it predated the push for alternative production by about fifteen years. In 2005, Hendrix Genetics purchased ISA, which was the start of a business relationship that Westwind partners with today. At this point, Westwind began hatching parent and grandparent stock for Hendrix Genetics. In 2014, the company expanded with the addition of daughter Kelsey, son-in-law Brian Rappleye, and son Dennis. The next year, Westwind expanded their hatchery capacity from 2.3 million to 4.6 million pullet chicks and then increased to 5.6 million pullet chicks in 2016. It was then that Westwind also started production and distribution of the Bovans Brown layer.
It’s time to grow again! This year, to meet demand, Westwind is building a new facility in Ovid, New York. This hatchery brings the total capacity to 10.4 million pullets annually. Kelsey DeCloux Rappleye, Central Operations & Industry Executive Leader, and Peter DeCloux, General Manager, were able to sit down with us to share more about the company’s successful growth and their insights on the industry.
What are some of your key areas of focus in your business?
Our company’s business model focuses on Brown commercial layer production and distribution. This has put us in a position to strongly serve alternative markets particularly cage-free and organic. In 1997, we transitioned to all cage-free and as of today, all our flocks are antibiotic free. We are distributors of Bovans Brown for Hendrix Genetics. We find she’s a more robust bird and works very well in a cage-free, organic system where the birds have outdoor access.
DeCloux family members, the driving forces of the Westwind farm
Good luck with your future expansion, and we look forward to many more years of successful collaboration!
What can you tell me about your hatchery expansion?
This will be a two-building hatchery with incubation taking place in our current hatchery in Interlaken, NY. After 16 days, the eggs will be moved to the new hatchery facility in Ovid, NY where the hatching process will occur. The new facility has been designed to maximize biosecurity with the construction of multiple hatch rooms. Automation technology will be another key part of the design to enhance efficiency and accuracy The hatchery will incorporate the modern technologies of today, and we have planned for further expansion and future technology developments.
What is the most rewarding part about working in the industry?
Peter: I enjoy the challenge, changes, and the abilities to serve the customer with a high-quality product.
Kelsey: I’m a self-described chicken nerd (although others would agree with this assessment). I really enjoy learning about the genetics of the bird and working to maximize our husbandry and practices to create a healthy layer, and the highest quality chick possible. I also really enjoy getting to meet other people in the industry and learn what is happening within their organization. I love seeing our customers thrive in their endeavors and knowing we can help them achieve their success.