From a few hens to eleven poultry houses

(Drummondville) When Denise Turcotte-Martel started selling chicken at the market in 1958, she did so out of passion. Almost 60 years later, Ferme des Voltigeurs has become the largest supplier of grain-fed chicken in Quebec.

"It brought about some very pleasant moments. Of course, you have to live a simple life and enjoy being with the people. I never thought Ferme des Voltigeurs would become so big. We had a day-to-day vision," says Denise Turcotte-Martel, now retired.

Over the years, accompanied by her husband Georges Martel, she has seen her children Dominique, Bernard, Georges Jr. and Nathalie join the adventure and take over a little more each year. "I took a professional accounting course," says Dominique Martel, now president and CEO of Ferme des Voltigeurs. "When I finished high school at 17, I started working full time on the farm and got involved in the board of directors and accounting. One thing led to another, our business grew and I became a shareholder in 1986 at the age of 21. "


In the beginning, Ferme des Voltigeurs, thanks to the construction of its first poultry house in 1966, was dedicated to the breeding and slaughtering of chickens as well as market gardening. Since then, the company has abandoned the fields to focus solely on producing vegetable grain-fed chickens without animal by-products. This technique allows it to stand out from the competition and sell its chickens throughout Quebec and even Ontario. Since then, no fewer than 42 buildings, including 11 poultry houses, have been constructed to meet the company's growing needs. "We used to feed our chickens like everyone else. What made us strong was that we slaughtered the chickens and sold them immediately. However, supermarkets followed suit in the 1980s. This forced us to take note and set ourselves apart by opting for a vegetable grain-fed chicken," Martel explains.

By investing in their new mill, the Martels have seen positive impact on their businesses. "This technique offers a chicken with more meat, less fat and more flavour. It takes, however, a little longer to raise; we are talking about five to seven additional days. The resulting quality has driven our business to the next level because it has attracted distributors across the province," notes the president and CEO.

It is thanks to all these improvements that Ferme des Voltigeurs has become the most important supplier in the field. "We have always listened to the consumer. This allows us to be more and more recognized throughout Quebec.”


The Ferme des Voltigeurs group has nearly 200 employees, making it a key economic player in the Drummondville region. "It's not something you really realize when you're an entrepreneur, but when you take the time to think about it, it's something we are really proud of. We had to surround ourselves well to make everything work as it should, but today we are very much in control of the company," says Mr. Martel.

With the desire to eat well that continues to grow in Quebec homes, Ferme des Voltigeurs has the assets to continue its development.


  • The company started its activities in 1958  through Denise Turcotte-Martel;
  • During its years of existence, Ferme des Voltigeurs has built 42 new buildings, including 11 poultry houses;
  • Ferme des Voltigeurs is the most important supplier of grain-fed poultry in Québec;
  • The family business is now run by four brothers and sisters : Dominique, Bernard, Georges Jr. and Nathalie;
  • There are now nearly 200 employees working at Ferme des Voltigeurs.

By Matthew Vachon, La Tribune

Photo of Denise Turcotte-Martel and her son Dominique Martel of Ferme des Voltigeurs. Spectre Média, Frédéric Côté