Achieving quantity of eggs and size well above the breed standard

4 Sep 2020

Jonathan Stokes runs a 300 acre mixed farm just outside Shrewsbury. Along with over 100,000 free range hens, Jonathan has 300 ewes and grows a mix of cereals and grass which are used to feed the livestock. In recent years, the business has also diversified into a successful holiday park with a carp fishing lake.

The family run a progressive operation, with a clear focus on producing a quality end product as efficiently and sustainably as possible and this philosophy is one that runs across all areas of the business.

Environment is key to healthy and efficient production and the business is continually investing and updating its sheds, which has seen the conversion of its flat deck systems to multi tier, with two of the newer sheds utilising the Big Dutchman 264. The farm stocks a mixture of Lohmann Classics and Bovan Browns.

The team have monthly management meetings with Harbro who provide the nutrition for the birds. Using one of Harbro’s management programmes, Eggnomics, monogastric specialist, Sam Parker works closely with Jonathan to evaluate the performance of the birds and to design cost effective rations tailored for each shed that are targeted to improve performance.

Harbro’s Tropper, a mobile mixing vehicle visits the farm once a week and mixes diets utilising the home grown wheat and barley to create a series of diets aimed at the different stages of production. The farm make the most of their home grown cereals, just buying in a small amount of additional grain when required.  Due to the flexibility of the home mixing system, diets can be tweaked regularly and additives included when the need arises and when the birds prescribe.

Harbro have a select range of unique additives designed to improve both health and performance. Evo is often included in the diet when birds are first introduced to help keep them calm. Evo interrupts the stress impulse in the brain to modify behaviour, increase feed intake and boost productivity.  Mono Defence is another unique additive that can be added at times of environmental challenge and Jonathan introduces it to the ration when sheds are being depleted. Mono Defence has been shown to have significant health benefits and helps reduce inflammation and increase resistance to disease.

Jonathan’s recent production figures are outstanding with the farm achieving both quantity and size of eggs that are well above the breed standard.

The following birds went to 86 weeks:

Results at 72 weeks:

The business has been shortlisted for producer of the year at the National Egg & Poultry Awards 2020 and are eagerly awaiting the results of the awards which will be announced in the autumn.


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