Bowler’s Eggs to dip a toe in the broiler market

John Bowler’s Eggs, the franchise-based free-range egg packer, is seeking planning permission for a broiler unit close to the company’s home farm in Hilton, Derby.

Mr Bowler told Poultry World that he was frequently contacted about providing poultrymeat, and felt it was the time to give it a try. He added, however, it was early days, and exactly how the birds would be marketed would be decided after the planning decision had been made.

An application has been submitted to Lichfield District Council for a unit comprising six sheds, screened by existing woodland and with a total crop capacity of 270,000 birds, as well as control rooms, storage and a site office.

The application has met some early opposition, however, from local resident Katie Ferneyhough, who has set up an online petition on welfare grounds.

She calls the unit a “battery hen build” and says: “This is outrageous for so many reasons, one of these being that they freely promote their free-range eggs, but they forget to tell their customers how they are now starting to branch into mass-meat production by broiler hens which live only 37 days and never see the sun.”

Ms Ferneyhough’s petition, on, automatically sends the council, Mr Bowler and Ian Pick Associates, the planning consultant, an email when it is signed. So far it has more than 600 signatures.

Despite the high number of signatures, it is thought unlikely the planner will be influenced on perceived welfare grounds.

John Bowler’s Eggs operates a franchise model for free-range egg farmers, which offer materials, pullets as well as support and training in exchange for eggs produced. Its website says it has 150 such farms on its books and two million hens on contract. This is the first time the firm has looked into meat production.

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