Giving Back: LaPlace Feed & Supply auction benefits library

Published 12:12 am Wednesday, June 1, 2016

LAPLACE — The St. John the Baptist Parish Public Library system means a great deal to Steve Finckbeiner.

Steve Finckbeiner of LaPlace Feed & Supply holds a Broiler chicken, one of 18 being auctioned this week as part of a fundraiser to benefit the St. John Parish library system.

Steve Finckbeiner of LaPlace Feed & Supply holds a Broiler chicken, one of 18 being auctioned this week as part of a fundraiser to benefit the St. John Parish library system.

“When my sister Kristin and I were growing up, the Internet was brand new,” Steve said. “If you wanted to learn something, you had to find a book. Before we could get a new animal for the store, my parents would tell us to go to the library to read all the books on the animal to make sure we knew everything there was to know before we got the animal.”

He loved the library so much, Steve said if he misbehaved his parents would take away his library privileges as punishment.

Steve is the son of Connie and the late Steve Finckbeiner of LaPlace Feed & Supply.

Everyone that works at the store is family.

“We sell animal food and garden supplies,” Steve said. “We also sell some livestock, mostly chickens.”

There are 18 chickens in particular that Steve is excited about.

“We ordered some Broiler (chickens) for someone, but they didn’t pick them up,” he said. “At first we decided we were going to keep them and eat them, but I’m not really good at killing animals. So I was trying to figure out what to do with them, and I was watching this Arrested Development episode where they have a fundraiser for their legal defense fund. That’s how I came up with the idea of using the chickens in a fundraiser.”

The 18 Broiler chickens will be auctioned off at 2 p.m. Saturday at the store, and all proceeds go to St. John Parish Library.

“My mom and I were thinking about places we would want to donate the money, and we picked the library because our customers come from all over the parish and outside of the parish,” Steve said. “We wanted to donate the money somewhere that everybody would get a chance to benefit from it. That’s why we picked the library. Everybody goes there. We’re also doing this for our dad, because I think he would get a kick out of this.”

The eldest Steve Finckbeiner was killed in 2014 when two men robbed the store of its cash register, killing Steve and wounding Connie.

Connie said she and her husband started the feed store 31 years ago.

“We felt like the area needed a feed store,” she said. “We decided we weren’t going to depend on anybody to support us or our family so we did it ourselves, and that’s what we’ve been doing for 30 plus years.”

Connie said she hopes people come out Saturday, adding credit goes to her son for the project’s launch.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” she said. “If people want to donate items or animals through the auction they can.”

The Broiler chickens up for auction, Steve said, are the types of chickens restaurants use.

“Before Broilers were invented, chicken as meat, was very rare because people raised chickens for eggs,” he said. “That’s why politicians would say ‘A chicken for every pot’ because it was a rich man’s dream to have chicken every day. I don’t remember when but there was a competition for the ‘chicken of tomorrow’ where a company set up a competition to develop the perfect meat chicken.”

Steve explained Broilers are a cross between Cornish Game chickens and the White Plymouth Rock chicken.

“When you cross those types of chickens you get this bird that grows really quickly and has this unending desire to eat,” he said. “They get really fat. The ones we have now are only seven weeks old. In comparison, normal seven-week-old chickens are relatively small.”

The 18 Broilers come from a hatchery in Texas, Steve said, adding the store got them when they were three days old.

“They have been fed a high protein diet everyday,” he said. “I think the average weight of them is four and a half pounds, and I’m expecting the really big ones to top right around six pounds.”

The Broilers will be auctioned off in lots of three, Steve said, meaning there will be six cages with three chickens in each being grouped by size.

“We’ll start off with the smallest and end with the big ones,” Steve said.

“Then whatever money we get that day we are going to donate to the library. We don’t have a goal of how much money we want to raise. We’re just hoping that people show up. Where else can you buy live chickens for a good cause?”