The Story of Our Lancaster County, PA Chicken Hatcheries

If you're wondering which came first—the chicken or the egg—we're here to tell you that it was neither for the #1 chicken hatchery in Pennsylvania. For us, it was family.

Since the beginning, Freedom Ranger and our family of hatcheries have held firm to our ideals: that we produce high-quality, free-range birds; that we hold onto the importance of family and community; and above all else, that we live through our love of our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God.

While we are a business working hard to bring you quality products and poultry, we want you to know that we're not just any group of chicken hatcheries—we're a family with values just like yours. And we want you to feel like you're a part of our family of hatcheries, too.

freedom ranger hatchery family

It All Started in a Back Yard Over 40 Years Ago...

Right in Joel and Martha Martin's back yard to be precise, where they raised their four daughters—Crystal, Ginger, Lisa, and Sonya—and the first of the family hatcheries (JM Hatchery) in southcentral PA.

JM Hatchery has roots back into the 1980s when Joel and Martha Martin started raising Bantam Silkies and Guinea Keets and started hatching in the late 1990s After years of perfecting their hatchery practices with those two breeds of birds, Joel and Martha expanded into the chicken business in the early 2000s.

Right around that time, Joel and Martha's family also began expanding when their daughter Ginger married Kendall Fox. In 2005, our nest of hatcheries was hatched when Kendall & Ginger took over hatching the silkies. In 2007 they launched Fox Farm & Hatchery, Inc., which would become Freedom Ranger Hatchery in 2010. Today, Freedom Ranger Hatchery hatches the broiler line of chicken breeds — Freedom Ranger Chickens, Kosher Kings, Cornish Cross, Red Ranger Males, and Color Yields.

In the late 2000s, the family and hatcheries expanded further when daughter Sonya married Stephen Horst. Stephen joined the family business by helping out at the guinea hatchery, where he also started managing Muscovy Ducks for Joel and Martha. Around 2010, Stephen and Sonya established Fifth Day Farm, Inc. and took over hatching the Muscovy Ducks, the Khaki Campbell Ducks, and also added Brown Chinese Geese to their hatchery in 2019.

In fact, 2010 was a big year for the family in two other ways—daughters Crystal and Lisa also married.

Crystal married Rodney Moser, who initially joined the family's hatcheries helping Joel and Martha hatch the guinea keets. Within a few years, Rodney and Crystal launched Blue Banty Farm and took over hatching the bantam silkies.

Lisa married Art Detweiler, who started working for Freedom Ranger Hatchery in 2012, where he learned the ropes of the hatchery business quickly. And in 2016, Art and Lisa established their own hatchery, now rebranding as Hillside Hatchery, which exclusively hatches the egg-laying chicken breeds offered on our website.

To this day, JM Hatchery still produces guinea keets; they're the only hatchery in the USA that hatches guineas every week of the year! But they are honored and humbled by the expansion of both their family and the family of hatcheries and the dedication to honoring the Lord that both are committed to.

Our Family of Hatcheries on the Freedom Ranger Website

man caring for baby chickens

Despite all of the expansion and changes over the years, one thing has remained steady and constant—our collective goal to hatch the strongest and healthiest birds on the market, including a large variety of broilers, egg-layers, ducks, geese, and other fowl.

Freedom Ranger, JM Hatchery, Fifth Day Farm, Blue Banty Farm, and Hillside Hatchery all represent the sharing of our faith and family traditions in our eggs and birds, and we only hope to continue sharing that legacy with customers like you.

Read on to learn more about each of our unique chicken hatcheries, the variety of poultry each one specializes in, and why our family traditions and values make our birds so special.

JM Hatchery

Owned by Joel & Martha Martin
JM Hatchery is retiring from the hatchery business and has handed over their birds and business to the Fifth Day and Blue Banty hatcheries.

JM Hatchery family portrait

Started in the late 1990s, JM Hatchery is the founder of our family hatcheries you see here on the Freedom Ranger Hatchery website. This family farm still produces and hatches guinea eggs to this day and ships eggs and birds all across the United States and Puerto Rico!

Freedom Ranger Hatchery

Owned by Kendall & Ginger Fox
Current Birds: Freedom Rangers, Kosher Kings, Cornish Cross, Red Rangers, Color Yields

Freedom Ranger family portrait

In 2005, Kendall and his wife Ginger started hatching chicks in their two-car detached garage. The operation eventually expanded and originally launched as Fox Farm & Hatchery, Inc. until they purchased the Freedom Ranger brand and incorporated the business under the name "Freedom Ranger Hatchery, Inc."

Fifth Day Farm, Inc.

Owned by Stephen & Sonya Horst
Current Birds: Khaki Campbell, Muscovy Ducks, Brown Chinese Geese, French Guinea Keets

Fifth Day Farm family portrait

Founded in 2010, Fifth Day Farm began raising the Khaki Campbell, and Muscovy Ducks originally hatched at JM Hatchery. Today, the farm has expanded and works alongside Freedom Ranger Hatchery to produce the highest-quality birds available.

Blue Banty Farm

Owned by Rodney & Crystal Moser
Current Birds: Bantam Silkies, Blue Bantams

Blue Banty Farm family portrait

In 2013, when JM Hatchery began to run out of room for its birds, Blue Banty Farm was born to help out the family business. This hatchery specializes in Silkies and Blue Bantam chicks in tandem with our other hatcheries to provide the best birds.

Hillside Hatchery

Owned by Art & Lisa Detweiler
Current Birds: Novogen Brown, Easter Egger, Blue Plymouth Rock, Rustic Rambler, Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Red

Hillside Hatchery family portrait

In 2012, shortly after Art and Lisa were married in 2010, Art began helping out at Freedom Ranger. It didn't take long before a new hatchery was added to our family—Art & Lisa's Hillside Hatchery. Specializing in the egg-layer breeds, the newest of our hatcheries is already well-established at providing the high-quality birds for sale you expect from our family of hatcheries.