Wow, we’ve now moved in at “Kildare” and so keen to share this exciting stage in our lives and the next momentous step in Australian chicken farming.
Kildare is a beautiful 1,300 acre property at Tenterfield, in the most northern part of the New England Tableland, and has been selected to expand the Sommerlad poultry breeding enterprise.
In 2001 Michael began working with people who were returning to outdoor pasture based chicken farming. He very quickly realised that commercial meat chicken strains were not well suited to this production environment, as they had been selectively bred for over 50 years for extremely fast growth and factory farming. Today, after all these years, and nearly giving up due to limited family finances and a lengthy non-profitable poultry breeding programme, we are now ready to move forward and expand supply of our slower growing, heritage-style meat chickens. Below is a photographic tour of our move to Kildare, and the building of pedigree poultry breeding facilities. You can read more about the story behind our work here.
Transferring the breeding birds from their existing home at Stannum has taken quite a bit of work (not to mention moving our family and household). Once we gained access to Kildare, a north facing shed was selected, and earth works began to make ready for the construction of pedigree pens.
So grateful to have Uncle Neil on the job, and his awesome building and welding skills.
Michael and our sons working on the modular pen frames.
Michael and Jemima take a moment to take in the view.
Wood shavings go in for the deep litter floor.
Water plumbed in and drinking bells being installed.
Nest boxes installed
Intermission and some family and farm snapshots:
Kids enjoy some working fun and exploration of this beautiful farm.
At the start of the move our eldest son Geoffrey celebrated his 16th birthday, obtained his driving license, crashed our much needed ute, and posed for country pin up boy 2015.
First load of cattle arrive at Kildare
Hoping this pic doesn’t affect the “G” rating of this farm blog, but when everyone else is racing out to see the cows, there isn’t always time to find your pants and shoes.
Living at Kildare and continuing to take care of the chooks back at our old farm hasn’t been easy, so transferring birds began before completion of the shed.
Wing bands are checked for correct pen allocation and breeding records.
Back at the house, Michael checks his records again, just to make sure.
Our pedigree breeding birds enjoying their comfortable, custom made accommodation: Thick fresh litter, roomy two storey apartment, airy and well lit with first class northern views and caring attendants who admire their looks and efforts – nest boxes should be full of fertile eggs again soon.
Fancy northern shutters still to be finished.
Lots more hard work and the mobile pens and their occupants start arriving.
Early morning chicken feeding at Kildare. Chooks happy, farmer cold but happy, and the land begins to regenerate.
As we see this as a momentous step in Australian free range chicken farming, we think it’s important to be transparent and share the journey. On a personal note, our journey has definitely not always been easy, and we’ve made a lot of mistakes, but our hope is in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, and we feel blessed to now walk through this new door.
We want to acknowledge and thank our patient authorised farmers who have supported and encouraged us, put up with our unreliable supply of day-old chicks, and revealed an overwhelming demand for more appropriate meat chicken genetics and premium table birds.
It’s our intention to give this the best shot we can.