Hello and welcome.
We’re Michael and Kathryn Sommerlad, the founding directors of Sommerlad Poultry.
We have developed Australia’s award-winning Sommerlad meat chickens, and this blog is about life on our poultry breeding farm “Kildare” just out of Tenterfield in the New England highlands of northern NSW.
Today, the majority of chicken farms in Australia (whether conventional, free-range, organic, pasture raised or RSPCA approved), rear the same strains of fast growing meat chickens: ‘Ross’ and ‘Cobb’. These strains, also known as broilers, are developed overseas, specifically for intensive production environments, and they do not cope as well outdoors as the hardier table poultry strains did before them.
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 Australian free range farming conditions. Sommerlad meat 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.
It has taken a large investment to develop them, however we believe family farmers are the keepers of traditional knowledge and genetic diversity in plants and animals, which can easily be lost to intensive agribusiness.
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 manage our unique chickens, following many of the methods used by Australia’s “old timer” poultry breeders, long before factory chicken farming took over.
We invite you to read more on our website www.sommerladpoultry.com.au