Hello and welcome.
We’re Michael and Kathryn Sommerlad, the founding directors of Sommerlad Poultry.
We are the developers of Australia’s award-winning Sommerlad Chicken, and this blog is about life on our home farm “Kildare” just out of Tenterfield in the New England highlands of northern NSW. Here we personally manage our exclusive table poultry strains, the result of over a decade of precise and attentive breeding.
It’s a large investment to breed and develop our own meat chickens: we house and manage up to four generations on our farm at any one time. However we believe family farmers are the keepers of traditional farming knowledge and genetic diversity in plants and animals, which can easily be lost to intensive agribusiness.
Today, the majority of chicken farms (whether conventional, free-range, organic, pasture raised or RSPCA approved), rear the same fast growing meat chicken strains: Ross and Cobb. These strains, also known as broilers, are developed overseas specifically for fast growth and intensive factory farming, and do not cope as well outdoors as the hardier table poultry strains did before them.
Seeking a fundamental welfare change, we returned to Australia’s original table poultry breeds, including the Australian Game, Light Sussex, Croad Langshan and Plymouth Rock, to develop slower growing meat chickens specifically suited to free range pasture rearing. Sommerlad Chickens boast a range of superior, high welfare characteristics. These include active foraging behaviour, balanced body conformation, strong legs, heat-resistance and improved natural endurance to diseases endemic to Australian poultry flocks.
At a time when nearly all chicken farmed and eaten in this country comes from the same genetic stock, Sommerlad Chicken represents a quiet revolution in Australian chicken farming.
Sommerlad Poultry were awarded ‘Outstanding Innovation’ at the 2015 delicious. Produce Awards.
We want this journal to offer an insight into life on our farm, and how we breed and rear our unique chickens, following many of the methods that Australia’s “old timer” poultry farmers used before factory chicken farming took over.
We invite you to read more on our website www.sommerladpoultry.com.au