Founders Percy and Edna Anstey met in Manitoba and married in 1926. They moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1932 where they ventured into the poultry industry managing a branch of Hambley Hatcheries. Once gaining experience they decided to go into business themselves and established Anstey Electric Hatchery in 1934, known today as Anstey Hatchery LTD.
The first location at 561 2nd Avenue North in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Today it is the location of the Great Western Brewery.
In 1936 Anstey Hatchery had 6 different breeds of chicks to offer customers. The incubator of choice for the time period was the Petersime incubator, known for its "mammoth size". It could hold up to 20,000 eggs.
Percy Anstey became the first president of the Saskatchewan Hatchery Association which was formed in 1934. He was also the first president of the Canadian Hatchery Federation formed in 1936.
By 1940 production was up 25% from the first year in business.
In 1941 a Smith Incubator was added to the operation to keep up with demand. In 7 years over 1,500,000 chicks had been hatched. During the war effort, the chief of poultry products, inspections, and grading division in Ottawa called on everyone who could to produce as many chicks as possible to be sent to the British Ministry.
In 1942 the operation expanded to become one of the most advanced and well-equipped hatcheries in Western Canada. The property on 2nd Ave was sold and the company moved to 3rd Ave North which is now the location of the Saskatoon Business College across from City Hall.
The company continued hatching at the 3rd Avenue location until after the 1947 season providing customers with 8 different breeds of chicks. Percy and Edna now had two children, Ron and Marlene. After the spring season in 1947 the Anstey's sold the building and moved to Kelowna because of Ron's health. While in Kelowna they opened another hatchery under the same name.
The Anstey's operated this location for the next nine years before moving back to Saskatoon.
The Demand for chicks in Saskatchewan was still strong, and in 1948 the Anstey's established a new location in Lloydminster which was managed by Percy's brother Bruce Anstey. This location operated until 1963.
By 1950 over 5 million chicks had been hatched since 1934.
In the spring of 1956 Ron Anstey, Percy's son, went out to the LLoydminster hatchery to assist in the operations and gain knowledge on incubation and poultry. This is where he also realized he had the family niche for quality customer service, always treating everyone like they were his good friends.
In the fall of 1956 Percy and Enda moved back to Saskatoon and purchased another building at 146 22nd Street west. (Now the location of Arby's)
By 1958 there were 11 different breeds including the bronze turkey poults. Turkeys were hatched in a Robbins Incubator. They could set a total of 169,000 eggs every three weeks.
1959 marked 25 years in business. Marlene, their daughter, joined them in the office for a short period before she returned to BC. Marlene married Al Thorlakson in 1961 and they now reside in Vernon BC.
Percy was awarded with a scroll of recognition for outstanding service in the hatchery industry in 1960.
By 1964 there was need to expand. Renovations to the 22nd Street location added another 1800 square feet to the existing building.
Sales continued to increase and the business grew rapidly. This was in part due to good quality product and the excellent customer service they provided. Ducks and geese became available to customers and now they offered 13 different breeds.
Ron Anstey married Joan Ritchie in 1962 and they had two children, Karen and Dale. Joan started working in the office in 1965, and is still to this day the Vice President and Secretary Treas. of the company.
On April 30th, 1966 Percy Anstey passed away suddenly, which was very difficult on the family. This left Ron to manage the business alongside his mother, who was office manager. Joan was expecting their second child, Dale, at the time.
Demand for chicks was growing through the years and in 1969 there was a shortage of hatching eggs which caused issues in being able to supply customers.
Anstey's continue being a leader in the industry, not only for chicks but for providing a wide range of poultry supplies and feed.
The Smith incubators were a combination setter and hatcher. In the above picture Ron is "pulling the hatch" inside one of the Smiths.
Through the 70's Dale Anstey started learning the business while working part time and evenings.
In 1974 hardships with harvests the previous season made more feed quality grains and poultry became one of the most economical meats in agriculture.
Percy was inducted into the Saskatchewan Poultry Councils Hall of Fame on July 23, 1977. A presentation was made to Edna Anstey on behalf of Percy at a celebration at the Western Development Museum in North Battleford.
Storms tore through the United States in 1978 destroying many Cornish flocks, causing another supply shortage. This created a great increase in demand and tremendous sales on all breeds in 1979.
Edna Anstey retired in 1982.
In 1983 Anstey Hatchery started shipping chicks via mail service with great success, lessening the need to send chicks by train. Mail service is now one of the main ways utilized for transport of chicks.
Karen Anstey worked a number of seasons at the hatchery. She married Don Filteau in 1985 and they now reside in Prince Albert Saskatchewan. Don also worked at the 22nd Street location in the early 80's.
1984 marked the celebration of 50 years in business. Dale joined the company full time.
The need for an even larger location in 1987 saw the sale of the property on 22nd Street and a new property was acquired at 815 51st Street East in Saskatoon. Once the building was completed the size of the hatchery was now 10,400 square feet. Capacity grew to accommodate 250,000 egg sets every three weeks.
With the new and expanded hatchery 3 Jamesway "Big J" incubators were installed. These incubators were less labour intensive and each one could hold 72,960 eggs.
In June of 1987 the Anstey family welcomed their first great grandchild, Nicole Filteau, who now manages the front office.
In the early 90's there were bountiful crops in most areas causing poor return on limited grain sales. This made for great feed conversion to allow customers to profit from sales by raising poultry.
Demand for started chicks was on the rise, creating quite a large brooding operation at the 51st Street location. With 21 brooders in use the capacity for starting chicks was 35,000.
The Corporation ventured into the tire recycling industry from 1995 through 2006, creating and innovating various products under the name AHL Enviromat.
Ron was inducted into the Saskatchewan Poultry Hall of Fame in 1998. He served as the President, Secretary Treasure, and Director of the Saskatchewan Hatchery Association for many years. He was also a director of the Canadian Hatchery Federation and represented the hatchery sector for the Saskatchewan Poultry Council for a number of years.
Edna passed away in 1999 at the age of 97.
In 2008 the business went under restructuring creating opportunity in the market of commercial real estate, leasing out the building on 51st Street and dividing the land into two sections. Anstey Hatchery moved for a short period of time to 44th street in Saskatoon while a new building was being built on the property at 51st Street just behind the previous one.
2013 saw the completion of the new build, where the office of the hatchery is now located at 2717 Cleveland Avenue. Along with a new office the company built a brand new storage facility on the same property, a division of Anstey Hatchery named AHL Secure Storage. It has a total of 44 drive up units to serve customers
Ron Anstey passed away January 20th, 2017 after a short battle with cancer. He is greatly missed.
Many things have evolved over the years since Percy and Edna first established their roots in the hatchery business. Chick and Poultry hatcheries were plentiful across the prairies and it was not uncommon for the vast majority of families to raise poultry for their own needs. Today there are fewer farms across the landscape, yet for many, raising your own chicks, turkeys, or waterfowl has never been more Satisfying. With Dale Anstey continuing as the president of Anstey Hatchery LTD and four generations of expertise, Percy Anstey always believed in the value of good product and top notch service. His legacy lives on today with our commitment to top quality products and focus on our service to our loyal and respected customers for years to come.