John Paley

John Paley was born in 1918 at Theodore, Saskatchewan, the 10th of 11 children born to an immigrant family of German descent from what is now the Ukraine. His father had a Record of Performance (ROP) leghorn flock when John was age ten. John cleaned dropping boards, trap nested hens and enjoyed the work. The family lost their father in 1933 and it was a struggle to keep going to school, but they always had the necessities.

 

Following six years in the Canadian Air Force as a Wireless and Electrical Mechanic and a year of accounting at University, he worked for Canada Packers for a few months. J.J. Hambley recognized this dedicated hard worker and hired him to manage and build up a hatchery in Saskatoon.  In those days you ran the machines, turned eggs every four hours by hand, sorted and boxed chicks, trayed eggs, shipped orders, etc. etc. with one night man and one office girl. In the off season he was hired by Bill Wood as a poultry fieldman for the province.

 

During this time John married Hazel McKinnon. They have 3 children.

 

After three years he was persuaded to become an ROP poultry inspector for Canada Agriculture. For seven years he helped producers start flocks, set up records, select breeders and in the process made many friends in north and central Saskatchewan. He gradually got back into hatchery work with the ROP hatchery and then Miller Hatcheries. He managed the latter from 1958 to 1984. While there, he took a California Grey, developed by Max Wiener and mated it with a commercial leghorn female. The resulting females did so well at random sample tests that orders were filled for many provinces. John also entered British Columbia baby chicks contests and took several top awards.

 

Starline Farms in Saskatoon was started by John with backing from Max Wiener and developed into a breeding stock and pullet rearing facility. It developed into a 30,000 commercial egg farm and egg grading station which has outlasted many competitors. The farm and the egg grading station were eventually sold and continue today.

 

John has also devoted time and energy to the industry as a whole. He was Secretary of the Hatchery Association for some eight years then served as a provincial director and as President. He served as a National director for three years.

 

The work was hard, the hours long and busy, often seven days a week. He started with the large incubators, working inside at over 100 °F and at one time had the highest average hatch of all 11 branches of J.J. Hambley. There were a lot of started chicks, respiratory diseases, some pullorum and many challenges and change. All this John survived and made many friends in the process.