My farming week: Pat McGuirk, Drumskelt, Newbliss, Co Monaghan

By irishchicken, Monday, 2nd October 2017 | 0 comments

Meet the Monaghan poultry farmer who pays serious attention to detail when supplying chickens to Manor Farm. 

I farm: “Four and a half acres. Poultry is my livelihood. I supply Manor Farm.”

The flock: “I have 70,000 birds in two houses, 40,000 birds on average in one and 30,000 in another. I started in poultry here in 1995 and my next step is to add a third house, which would bring me up to 115,000 or 120,000 birds.”

The breed: “We rear Cobb and Ross birds.”

The beginning: “Chicks come to us at a day old from Annyalla Chicks, which is part of Manor Farm. They go into the houses which have been pre-heated to 34°C or 34.5°C and bedded with extra thick shavings with feed on the floor.”

Growth rates: “Growth rates range from 60g/day in small chicks to 130g/day when they get near finish. Finished birds will weigh 2.7kg at 37 days.”

Attention to detail: “I take solid advice from Adrian Gunne, who is the Manor Farm consultant and who often visits the farm.”

Hygiene: “Hygiene is a very serious element of what we do here. I contract in a specialist man to clean the sheds. He has a very good understanding of hygiene and he has very good equipment. Bacteria in water and in feeders can cost you a lot so that’s an area I have focused on, as well as the CO2 levels.”

Testing: “Manor Farm swab everything from the feeders and drinkers to the walls of the chicken houses after the houses are washed down to check for bacteria.”

Thrive: “Getting the hygiene, temperature, feeding, water and ventilation right means more money for the farmer at the end of the day. A good start for a chick is just as important as it is for a calf or any baby.”

Poultry grower of the year: “I won the inaugural SuperValu and Centra Poultry Grower of the Year Award. The award is focused on food safety standards and actions taken by farmers to minimise levels of campylobacter in poultry meat.

Quotable quote: “There’s a big difference in price between a good grower and a bad grower. A good grower would be making 52c to 56c per chicken, but you could have someone else down at 38c to 40c per chicken.”



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