Hatchery business PD Hook has announced the immediate closure of its most northerly hatchery at Inverurie, as the Scottish poultry sector continues to restructure.
Company boss James Hook told Poultry World that the simple reason for the closure was that there was no home for the chickens produced in the north east of Scotland.
The factory at Letham, a long way further south, was currently scaling back production from 450,000 birds a week to 300,000, while the 2 Sisters’ Coupar Angus plant in Perthshire had cut production last year.
As a result, some 11 poultry farms in north east – including four contact growers – had either gone out of production or been served notcie, leaving no market for chicks from Inverurie.
“It’s hard for everyone involved – farmers and staff – and we’re disappointed we have had to do this. But there is just too much chicken in Scotland,” he said.
Inverurie was always a small hatchery, with just 19 staff and 300,000 chicks a week. All of PD Hook’s customers in Scotland will now be supplied by the company’s other hatchery at Duns, bought from 2 Agriculture earlier this year.
Mr Hook added that these painful decisions should have been taken years ago, when the former Grampian factory at Banff in the north east was closed in 2007.
A spokesman for NFU Scotland said the restructuring was a “shock”. “This bad news comes despite the best efforts of growers to collaborate and co-operate,” said a spokesman.