Chance of profit in free range poultry

UK - Which came first the chicken or the egg? It's a rhetorical question, but as UK Farming plc ventures towards more open, unsupported markets, then perhaps the answer demands some time for contemplation.

After experiencing the damning impact of both BSE and F&M, livestock farmers know only too well the negative impact such crises can have on production, profits, and - more importantly - personal lives.

But in the latest catalogue of crises - albeit at this stage, thankfully, theoretical - it appears avian flu is having a positive impact on some areas of the poultry sector.

Anecdotal evidence suggests demand for free-range birds and eggs is growing aided, by greater consumer awareness over the sourcing of poultry products in recent months.

And that's good news for those livestock producers who look to adopt or have recently established new free-range egg and broiler poultry enterprises in a bid to bolster farm profits, say suppliers.

Like any business there can be a sizeable commitment in land, labour and capital, explains one franchise operator.

Figures of £250,000, depending on spec, for a start-up 12,000-bird laying unit may clip some producers' wings, but long depreciation schedules and a track record of profitability can help inform lenders of viability.

Much smaller enterprises can spring up from redundant livestock buildings with access to pasture when considering free-range systems, or well-ventilated open-span sheds for barn-type businesses.

Source: FWi
calendar icon 14 February 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
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