Pure breeds stalwart Janice Houghton-Wallace has set up a support helpline for poultrykeepers in the UK who have lost poultry in the current floods.

The aim is to put people who need help to restock once the water has receded in contact with those who are willing to provide it.

“The priority is for those ‘in the Fancy’, who rear pure breeds of poultry for showing and conservation,” says Mrs Janice Houghton-Wallace, who is the driving force behind the scheme. “Most of the pure breeds of poultry are considered rare, therefore losing precious bloodlines in floods will have a devastating consequence on any breed.”

Poultry Flood Helpline
  • Contact: Janice Houghton-Wallace
  • Tel: 01988 600 763.
  • Mob: 07860 547 094
  • Email: janhwallace@aol.com

One producer who may wish to avail of the scheme is Gavin Sadler, who rears rare breeds with his wife Bryony at Moorlands on the Somerset Levels. They say the flooding has destroyed their business.

“We’ve only got seven acres, but the whole lot – including our house – is under water,” said Mr Sadler. “It’s absolutely terrible.”

Members of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, the Sadlers are keen producers of breeds like Cream Legbars, Brahamas and Plymouth Rocks – but have now had to rehome all 100 of their chickens.

“We’ve had to dot them around wherever friends can house them,” said Mr Sadler. “We’ve got my mother-in-law, two children, dogs, a pony and rabbits all in temporary accommodation – and we’ve been told we won’t be back in our house until September.”

With pullets at the point of lay, Mr Sadler faces having to sell off his stock, and restart the business at some point in the future. “We’ve spent the past three years improving the breeding, and should be incubating now. But the chicken houses are breaking up so we’ll have to replace them – we’re just heartbroken, and feel completely let down by the government. There are people with livestock who are still stranded without food, and none of the agencies are doing anything to help.”

Commercial sector

While the focus of the helpline is on pure breeds, it also extends to the commercial sector. “We want to urge everyone connected with poultry to pull together and help those whose livelihoods are threatened,” says Mrs Houghton-Wallace.

Anyone who has lost poultry in the current flooding, or who wishes to provide aid in the form of hatching eggs, young stock or replacement equipment, should contact the helpline. Tel: 01988 600 763; mob: 07860 547 094; email: janhwallace@aol.com

See also Read a full roundup of news on the floods