Paradise In Paroa

Published date08 March 2023
Publication titleWest Coast Farming Times, The
The brown shaver chickens being reared at Dirk Hofman's Paroa Stockfeed on Rutherglen Road, Paroa, are in demand

With eggs in short supply and food prices rising, more people are opting to keep their own hens and become more self-sufficient.

Dirk says with the government restrictions imposed on commercial caged bird farms, free range chickens are in demand.

"More and more people are now buying chickens for a number of reasons," he said.

"Obviously for pets as well as eggs and with the shortage of eggs at the moment, our brown shavers are certainly in demand."

From small beginnings, his Paroa Stockfeed operation has got wings, growing into a busy poultry and animal feed enterprise.

"People want to buy chickens and of course the flow on is they want to buy chicken coops as well," he says.

"I've made and sold 126 so far which is a lot for the West Coast."

Dirk has worn a number of hats during his working life.

He was born in Holland as a farmer, raised as a baker and trained as a teacher. In 1980, he came out to New Zealand with wife Nelly.

The couple spent a time picking apples in Motueka before they moved to Nelson and opened up a bakery and coff ee shop, while also operating a goat farm.

"We stayed in Nelson for 10 years then opened a bakery in Blenheim. Then did a year travelling before coming to the Coast and went into partnership with our old mate Toon Van Rijnsoever in the Bonzai Pizzeria," Dirk said.

"Toon and us then set up the Sunset Bakery before it became the Do Duck In."

Getting up at any time between 11pm and 4am was not the lifestyle Dirk had planned, so for the next 10 years he worked in a variety of jobs like building, painting, tutoring first aid and pre-hospital emergency care, and distributing products throughout the Coast before settling down out on Paroa Stockfeed.

"I always had chickens and when I couldn't get the quality chicken feed I wanted after the Arney Street depot closed, we contacted the manufacturer and it just progressed from there. I can't sit still, I build another chicken house and next thing I'm building another one and so on. One for our own layers and the rest to raise chickens for customers - now I have nine. I thought I'd start buying straw for the chickens but it is also bedding for goats, rabbits, sheep and calves so I tied it all together."

Dirk says we used to run diff erent breeds of chickens before settling on building his operation around the brown shaver breed.

"The only ones I run are brown shavers which are...

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