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April
23

New Siberia Farms

posted by: The Royal Hotel Chilliwack on: April 23, 2019 10:02:22 AM


Andrew Balakshin @ the farmhouse  - New Siberia Farms -Fairfield Island, Chilliwack
(image credit: Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox Church, Vancouver)

Originally from Siberia, Andrew and Mary Balakshin arrived in Chilliwack in 1925. They fled to China during the Bolshevik revolution and lived in that country for five years before landing in Canada. And after a brief stay in Vancouver the couple decided Chilliwack was a good place to farm. Chilliwack would be their final home.
 
The Balakshins quickly established New Siberia Poultry Farms from their property on Fairfield Island. No stranger to farming, and armed with education and experience gained in Russia (Andrew graduated from agricultural college in Russia); it wasn’t long before New Siberia Farms was a successful poultry operation.


image credit: BC Food History 
http://www.bcfoodhistory.ca/
 
Daughter Annie Balakshin played an important role on the farm. As a young woman, Annie studied chicken sexing (determining the sex of baby chicks) and was a familiar sight at country fairs, demonstrating her techniques at the Chilliwack and Vancouver agricultural Fairs. In 1937 Annie was one of four who successfully passed the test in Vancouver; becoming the first female chick sexer in Canada.



Chilliwack Progress, Sept. 5, 1935
 
In the late 1930’s New Siberia Farms started advertising their chicken sexing service to other poultry famers, “Save yourself time, labor, expense and raise better pullets” (Chilliwack Progress, Jan. 11, 1939) – utilizing Annie’s new-found skills.


Chilliwack Progress, June 23, 1937

 
image credit: BC Food History 
http://www.bcfoodhistory.ca/

Agricultural classes also frequented New Siberia Farms where they observed and studied the Balakshin’s poultry operation. Son Nicholas would go on to manage the Fairfield Island poultry business.


Chicken barn at New Siberia Farms
image credit: Chilliwack Museum & Archives
 
Andrew Alexander Balashkin died suddenly in January, 1956, just prior to his 82 birthday, according to his obituary that appeared in the Jan. 11, 1956 Chilliwack Progress.
 
After Andrew’s death a business decision was made to convert the poultry operation to a dairy farm. Today New Siberia Farms continues the legacy that Andrew Balakshin started in 1925.
 
Article about chicken sexing from 1933:
 ttps://www.canadianpoultrymag.com/100th-anniversary/technology/sexing-baby-chicks-12692
 
 
Sources:
 
Chilliwack Progress            05 Sept. 1935
                                                26 Mar. 1936
                                                08 Sept. 1937
                                                22 Dec. 1937
                                                11 Jan. 1939
                                                19 April 1939
                                                11 Sept. 1940
                                                12 July 1944
                                                11 July 1945
                                                31 Aug. 1949
                                                11 Jan. 1956 (Andrew Balakshin obit)
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