Klager Hatchery

By dhowell - Posted on 03 January 2008

In 1930, Luther C. Klager and his brother Erwin started the Klager Hatchery on the family farm in Bridgewater. Now it is the largest producer of egg type baby chicks in Michigan.

The four incubators have a capacity of 210,000 eggs—50,000 chicks a week. Pullet chicks supply replacement pullets to egg production farms in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

The operation used to hatch 32 different breeds. Now they hatch only one-a layer type. Other changes are that today most of the consumers are commercial operations. Ten years ago, general farmers bought from 100 to 1,000 baby chicks and raised them, selling eggs and chickens on regular routes.

Klager contracts a number of farmers to produce the pullets under their supervision and the hatchery delivers around 650,000 ready to lay pullets per year. Their largest customer now has 75,000 layers. Today 98% of all layers are in cages which house 2 to 9 birds. Growing birds are also raised in cages.

The hatchery employs 11 full-time and several part-time employees.