LEESVILLE, SC – Columbia Farms of Georgia Inc., an affiliate of House of Raeford Farms Inc., plans to build a new chicken hatchery in the Batesburg-Leesville, SC area. A site for the hatchery has not been finalized.

Construction on the hatchery will take 15 to 18 months at a cost of $16 million. The facility will feature a single-stage incubation system that will allow for steady temperature control. The entire operation will be fully automated.

“It is the right time to make a significant upgrade to our live production operations, and all of that starts with the early life of our birds,” said Jim Mabe, West Columbia/Leesville complex manager. “The result of this investment will be to provide our growers with a chick that is very consistent in size and quality.”

The West Columbia/Leesville complex is one of five operated by House of Raeford. The complex currently works with 87 contract growers producing more than 40 million chickens annually. The current operation includes a hatchery in Batesburg-Leesville; a feed mill in Monetta, SC; and a processing plant in West Columbia.