Where to source good quality stock
At this time of year, with sunnier, warmer weather on the way, many smallholders think about adding to their existing flocks of poultry. Whether you’re thinking about getting more layers, trying out meat birds, guinea fowl, ducks or geese, it’s incredibly important to source your birds from a reputable source. After all, you want to buy-in poultry from decent breeding stock that is as healthy, happy and (hopefully) as productive as one would expect such a breed to be. Although common practice dictates that you should always keep new additions separate from your existing poultry at first, the last thing you want is to purchase potentially poorly birds that could impact on the health of your current stock.
Whilst I’m sure there are many reputable local suppliers in your neck of the woods, this is just one of the reasons why it’s also worth considering buying from a larger scale, nationally-minded producer. These companies have a lot of experience, often supply a wider range of birds and have rigorous quality control and health-minded practices in place that can make them attractive options. Many also sell on a smaller scale to back yard hen keepers and smallholders, so they are well worth a look.
Here’s our pick of just some of the best poultry suppliers in the UK:
This family-owned and operated business has been running for more than 70 years and is passionate about animal welfare. Through their 18 fully accredited poultry farms they are widely recognised as one of the country’s leading suppliers of healthy, superior-quality birds.
Operating independently from hatcheries, the company rears its poultry in a carefully designed barn system, allowing freedom of movement to promote natural behaviours, well-being and improved temperament.
Their team of experts oversees all vaccinations, worming and salmonella testing in the wide selection of both commercial and rare breeds that they offer to large and small scale poultry keepers alike. Nationwide delivery is available and customers receive updates on their birds’ progress, pre-delivery (via email or post) as often as required. All birds also come with a flock history pack which includes a breakdown of rearing history (including feed intake sheets, vaccinations, vet analysis report forms, Lion Code and Freedom Food certificates and passport(s). www.hinchliffes.com/Chickens.htm
This provider specialises in poultry breeds particularly suited to free-range and organic production. They also supply a range of chickens, ducks, guinea fowl, turkeys and geese to both commercial and small-scale poultry enthusiasts. Their high quality birds have been bred for outdoor systems, and they can help customers choose which poultry is best for their requirements. Birds can also be delivered throughout the UK and the company can supply a range of table birds and layers under Soil Association Accreditation. For more information see www.sandtpoultry.co.uk or call Stephen on 07885 718195.
One of the leading UK poultry suppliers for more than 50 years, this company - based in the rolling hills of South Shropshire - delivers high quality, competitively-priced laying pullets, meat chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese throughout England and Wales. All birds come fully vaccinated, and can either be picked up from their Hardware shop in Craven Arms or delivered direct by one of their NFU qualified, chicken enthusiast drivers. The company advises that their birds are in high demand so early ordering is recommended. To find out more see www.cyrilbason.co.uk or call 01588673204 for some chicken chat!