What an unpredictable year 2023 is turning out to be in the world of chickens! After getting through the Covid-Chaos followed by Bird-Flu lock downs last year, we really hoped for (and needed) this year to be a steady, settled year for our business. But the UK’s chicken supply so far this year has been far from settled! Understandably the risk of setting eggs earlier in the year meant the hatcheries reduced numbers as the rearers didn’t want to have barns full of young hens they may not be able to move if the restrictions stayed in place. Then the Supermarkets had an egg shortage, the reason? who knows, some say bird flu, some say pure greed by the supermarkets to force the change to cheap imported eggs; who knows the truth but the result for us is that all spare hybrid hens are now finding their way to the commercial market and are not available as a back up for the back-garden market as usual.
So the result – we were unable to supply hens in February and March, Aprils hens arrived late – a much smaller flock than ordered and a very small selection of breeds. We were assured things were getting better and as the weeks progressed things would settle back to usual numbers, with more hens expected by the end of April… but April has passed and as we start May we have been told our hens will arrive soon… maybe fewer numbers and colours than we have ordered but we should have a good selection. As frustrating as it is, we appreciate our supplier is doing all they can, our worries as a small business not being able to give the customers what they want (or earn the money we need) is tiny compared to scale of problems they face and all we can do is continue to work together to get through this.
We also appreciate the support and patience of our customers, without you we would be unable to continue with our business. We ahve been supplying hens now for over 20 years and faced many challenges in this time, we have not though seen the chicken supply struggling as much as it is this year. We realise many of you have been disappointed that you have not yet been able to collect your chickens, but please be assured that we are doing all we can. Our pre-ordering system means we can get to every customer in a fair and orderly way, can predict and managed the orders the best we can to provide hens as soon as we can.
Other businesses such as ours around the country are in similar positions, some sadly no longer able to continue, others finding other ways offer hens. We can assure you that with our many years of experience supplying hens we’ll always do what we feel is best to ensure we offer good quality hens with high welfare and customer service – please help us to get through this by being patient for any orders you have already placed and if you are hoping for hens at some time this year please continue to reserve your hens so that we can confidently continue to order and supply though the year.
We have stopped taking orders for our May flock but you can now select hens from our next flock (June) or a future date (select future flock and add the preferred date you would like beyond June).
Hopefully next month we will be saying things have finally settled down!
In the mean time we are expecting this years first flock of pure breeds and bantams to arrive next week, and our little quail arrive a couple of weeks later. So our barn will soon be lively again with pens full of lovely hens.
If you have placed an order for Pure Breeds or Bantams we will be in touch next week to arrange a collection date. They are likely to be available the weekend 13th and 14th May.
If you have placed an order for Hybrid Hens we will be in touch w/c 15th of May and hope the hens will be available the weekend 20th and 21st May.
With our best wishes
Jason and Kerry