Free range egg producer expanding despite current downturn

A Lincolnshire poultry farmer is bucking the financial gloom by doubling his flock and building a brand new egg production unit, because he can’t keep up with demand.

The John Bowler group, which specialises in supplying free-range eggs to Waitrose and other supermarkets, has asked Nicholas Watts – who farms in the village of Uffington – to expand his business because of the demand for “ethical eating.”

Mr Watts, who already supplies the group, has only been running his venture for 10 months and is currently producing around 10,000 eggs a day from his free-roaming hens. He’s now planning to build an 80m building and increase his stock from 12,000 to 24,000 hens. The building will include nest boxes and packaging space. The new hens will have a large, separate pasture area from the current flock and will also create an extra job.

“This is all down to ethical shoppers,” says Mr Watts, who also runs an arable farm – which hosts wind turbines – with his family. “We know in this country that this is the right way to be treating livestock. We like to see them being treated better than being prisoners in a little cage.”

His planning application for the new unit has already been given preliminary approval.