A momentous step in Australian chicken farming.

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 homestead May 2015

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.

Earthworks breeding pens Kildare May 2015

So grateful to have Uncle Neil on the job, and his awesome building and welding skills.

Uncle Neil Kildare May 2015

Breeding pen foundations May 2015

Michael and our sons working on the modular pen frames.

Breeding pen construction Kildare May 2015

constructing pedigree breeding pens Kildare May 2015

Michael and Jemima take a moment to take in the view.

Dad and Jemima at breeder shed Kildare May 2015

Wood shavings go in for the deep litter floor.

Litter into breeder pens Kildare May 2015

Water plumbed in and drinking bells being installed.

Hanging waterer breeding pens Kildare May 2015

Nest boxes installed

Breeder pen construction Kildare May 2015

Intermission and some family and farm snapshots:

Kids enjoy some working fun and exploration of this beautiful farm.

Litter for breeding pens Kildare May 2015

Hannah and Jemima 2 Kildare May 2015

Kildare May 2015

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.

Geoff back wall breeder shed Kildare May 2015

First load of cattle arrive at Kildare

First load of cattle from Possum Creek May 2015

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.

First cattle arrive at Kildare May 2015

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.

Chooks transferrred to Kildare May 2015

Wing bands are checked for correct pen allocation and breeding records.

Checking wing bands Kildare May 2015

Wingband check Kildare May 2015

Back at the house, Michael checks his records again, just to make sure.

Breeding records May 2015

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.

Inside breeder pens Kildare May 2015

inside new pedigree breeding pens Kildare May 2015 009

Fancy northern shutters still to be finished.

Pete and his girls Kildare May 2015

Lots more hard work and the mobile pens and their occupants start arriving.

Mobiles arrive

breeder mobile arrives

Early morning chicken feeding at Kildare. Chooks happy, farmer cold but happy, and the land begins to regenerate.

early morning feeding Kildare May 2015

First roosters released

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.

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17 comments

  1. Congratulations guys. You have done so much in such a short time! love the photos..keep them coming.

  2. Your photo’s have made my day,
    May God bless your family and your business greatly.
    Very nice photo of you and your lovely wife.
    Believe it or not the saw dust your using comes from my work – good choice – hope it works well for you.
    I never like that old ute of yours and Geoffrey has solved the pending issue of buying a new bull bar as the old one had become politically incorrect to own anyhow.
    I don’t recall pants and boots being a requirement when inspection was on, so your G rating should be safe.
    Where do you get those watering bells from? So Cool.
    If the lord is behind it who can be against it.

  3. Hello Doug, I’m so pleased they made your day and thank you for your encouragement. Yes, we did know the wood shavings came from your work, they work really well, as long as they are managed correctly. Our Plasson bell drinkers came from Bellsouth Poultry Equipment. You’re going to be disappointed, but it turns out the blue ute wasn’t written off, and will grace the roads again. Hopefully we’ll see you all here one day.

  4. Wow! What a great God we serve. Rejoicing with you as your many years of hard work, sacrifice and perseverance – not to mention talent, intelligence, and passion, are paying dividends. We have thought of you often over this mammoth move. We will be making a farm visit as soon as we are invited 🙂 Bless you Sommerlads.

  5. Thanks Emma. We really look forward to more table birds being available for people to enjoy.

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