Tough times for chicken farmer Bourns

The NFU poultry chairman, Charles Bourns, has denied he is closing his Glocestershire chicken farm for business, after reports in national newspapers claimed he was.

The NFU poultry chairman, Charles Bourns, has denied he is closing his Gloucestershire chicken farm for business, after reports in national newspapers claimed he was.

Bourns told MTJ he had been forced to temporarily shut up shop, because rising feed, chick and gas prices meant he would lose 5p per bird were he to rear a crop at the moment.

But he warned harsh trading conditions meant many British chicken farmers were going under, and consumers must be prepared to pay more if they want to sustain the industry.

"Unless people start paying more for British chicken then other farmers will shut their doors forever. The point I was trying to make is that yes, my sheds are empty. Why are they empty? Because over the next eight weeks if I had grown a crop of chickens I would have lost £12,000 and an awful lot of farmers are in a similar situtaion.

"Feed prices have gone up, gas prices have gone up and chick prices have gone up. It's a simple fact that if people want British chicken, they're going to have to pay more for them.

"There is no profit per bird because feed prices have gone up again. If I grow 60,000 chickens here, I'm going to lose £12,000."

Bourns plans to restock his sheds once prices come down.

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