By Charles Bourns, broiler grower, Gloucestershire
This week has been different to normal because we had the BBC come to the farm. They are doing a radio programme on the poultry industry that is due out in the autumn. I am always very cautious about doing this sort of interview but I must say I was pleased with how it went. They came when our chicken were 38 days old and unthinned as we grow Oakham Gold Redbro.
We spent most of the interview in the shed and the chicken behaved themselves and the tunnel ventilation gave a great atmosphere (it was 27 degrees outside), so much so that the interviewer remarked that we had destroyed his perception of chicken grown indoors and he would be happy to buy one in future.
He also said that he had been given five chickens to grow as part of the programme in his back garden in Hackney, which will be eaten at the end of the experiment. He is growing one bare necked chicken, three Ross 308 and one Redbro. He said one had died so far and he is also having problems with foxes. Apparently, he had three in the garden within a few hours of the chicken arriving. Anyway, let’s hope the programme is positive for the industry as they are visiting all types of farms.
At the last poultry board meeting we had a visit from a retailer who was questioned about the market. He said people were trading down, with organic and free range down 50% but other ranges holding up. He was pressed by the board about giving a price rise to meet the increase in energy and labour costs, but whilst he was sympathetic, nothing was forthcoming. That is disappointing but what has made me angry is that this retailer has just told its suppliers it is going to charge them more to cover the increase in the retailer’s energy, labour and other costs relating to distribution and logistics. Surely what is good for the gander should apply to the goose?
We also asked the NFU to revamp the old Love Chicken web site which contains recipes and competitions but is currently lost in the Countryside Magazine section of the NFU website. They have agreed and this I feel this is a start. After all, companies in our industry have chefs looking at recipes, so maybe they could contribute to its success?
Lastly, I would like to thank all those who entered the National Egg & Poultry Awards for the kick up the backside they have given me! It is very easy to relax but the finalists this year have all showed me what dedication and enthusiasm can achieve.