At the heart of Razès, a cooperative and independent breeder

the essential
Didier Rieu is a Label Rouge chicken farmer, a collaborator of Arterris, in the place called “Le Fajou” in Escueillens-et-Saint-Just-de-Bélengard. Since October, he has also been an independent breeder of chickens, guinea fowl and laying hens to meet the demand of his growing number of customers.

Didier Rieu is a son of the country, a true Esceuillengardois. The son of sheep farmers, he chose the same path as his parents after his agricultural studies in Pamiers and settled in 1983 on a nearby farm in a place called “Le Fajou”. A cereal producer in conventional crops, Didier is going through “some agricultural crises” and is thinking of a reconversion when the Arterris cooperative looks for Label Rouge poultry farmers. Didier responded and became a cooperative Label Rouge chicken breeder in 2012.

“I built a first chicken coop with a park and when I saw that it worked, I built a second one,” recalls the breeder, who is also president of Arterris’s Label poultry production organization. To meet the growing number of orders, Didier has just built additional buildings exclusively for direct sales. “Last October I set up three cabins, one for free range laying hens and two for the production of free-range guinea hens and yellow hens only. This is my independent production. In Label Rouge, mixing is not allowed, while the guinea fowl it’s wild and encourages the chicken a lot to go out and visit the entire parks. A single chicken doesn’t move much”.

A joint slaughterhouse in Mézerville

With three other farmers from Villasavary and Belpech, Didier created a joint slaughterhouse in Mézerville in 2016. “We group together to limit costs and produce quality. represent the bulk of the work”. Right on the slopes of the Razès, its first two chicken coops are intended only for its Label Rouge production. In his park, the chickens fed, among other things, with wheat, barley, sunflower and “non-GMO, specifically”, have very yellow legs “thanks to energetic seeds like corn or sorghum”. “The more yellow the better, it promises good yellow pulp as it is appreciated in the South”. Mixed in between chickens and roosters, the bare-necked birds clucking and clucking and then suddenly run into the shade of the tall trees. “They are more victims of birds of prey than foxes. There, a common vulture just passed by and they all took shelter instinctively.”

In the three cabins located below the property, everything is aimed at its many customers, loyal and acquired by word of mouth throughout Occitania. “I distribute from Toulouse to Nîmes to individuals, companies and communities”. Fajou chickens are thus found in the dishes of children at Blaise Pascal secondary school in Castelnaudary and Charlemagne secondary school in Carcassonne. “It’s thanks to the cooks who make good food for their students. They don’t waste anything because the kids like it, and in the end it doesn’t cost them more than buying frozen food.”

What I want, for who I want for the price I want

“Since my life as a cereal producer, I have realized that it is necessary to reduce phytosanitary products, and global warming has had a huge impact on my recycling decision. If I had stayed in the same sector, I don’t know. my job, I would only have 70 hectares. Today I am completely satisfied because I have a job that I like, I never complain. ensuring that “chicken is on the rise.” “The future is ahead of us, there is a strong demand for chicken and white meat. Since Covid, consumers are really turning to the place.”

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