By Charles Bourns, broiler grower, Glocestershire
I always enjoy the beginning of July as there are always some very enjoyable social events, where I catch up with my fellow growers. The first event is the south west equivalent of the Ashes, where the farmers play the trade at cricket. This year, the trade won which is not usual, but everyone enjoyed the barbeque and social side. The second event is the National Egg & Poultry Awards. It is great to celebrate the winners’ achievements. This year we had a very good comedian to entertain us all although I and one other person (also the wrong side of 70) were the butt of his jokes, but still it was a great evening.
On the farm we have had some enforced diversification thanks to my labrador having a night of passion with my neighbour’s collie. She has had eight puppies. I felt sorry for her as I had her on a diet up until a week before the puppies’ arrival, when after a vet’s visit, we found she was expecting. All are doing growing very fast. Maybe I could cross breed my chicken with them?
On a more serious note, I am really worried about interest rate rises and I find it hard to understand why no one appears to be worried about businesses. Everyone is worried about mortgage payers, which I understand, but it has already added about £9,600 to my annual costs and goodness knows where it will end. Surely it is about time that some of the feed price drop is left on the farm.
I was disappointed that not enough has been done to counter the imports from Poland containing antibiotics. Surely, Red Tractor should have run an advert pointing it out to the consumer. I see the Lion scheme is always running adverts pointing out why the consumer should buy their eggs. We must do something to stop the slide in British chicken sales.
Anyway, that’s enough of my negativity. This crop’s chicken are doing well so here’s to a good result. The breeder flock is on a farm only eight miles away so we have proper Gloucestershire chicken.