A breeder farm near Leominster in Hereford has been named the best Cobb flock in the European, African and Middle Eastern region, beating farms from dozens of other countries.
Yarpole Farm, operated by Cargill Meats Europe and managed by Adrian Nicholas, ran 26,000 Cobb 500 parents, which averaged 144.13 chicks per breeder – three chicks ahead of the previous award winner.
The birds peaked at 84.6% and laid 164.5 hatching eggs to 60 weeks, with a cumulative 87.6% hatchability and 4.5% mortality.
The production figures compare very well with average UK and EU performance of 132.8 chicks/breeder.
The winning birds were reared at Ripple Farm, Tewkesbury, by Derek Morris, who said grading the birds from five weeks of age into three sizes, where they remain until end of lay, provided the foundation for success.
At Yarpole, the flock was housed in four sheds, with Mr Nicholas spending a day in each shed in turn to check that the flock management was up to his high expectations.
“It was the first Cobb flock we’ve had for a while and we didn’t at first realise its potential,” said Mr Nichols.
“The birds kept on achieving fantastic chick numbers and so we retained them for two-and-a-half weeks beyond the normal 60 weeks. It was a very quiet flock that was also easy to manage.”
Mr Nicholas had previously won the award while working on Corbett Farms, hatching eggs for Cargill, when it was known as Sun Valley.