Poultry farm’s first Open Farm Sunday

Poultry farm’s first Open Farm Sunday

More than 800 people flocked to a Norfolk poultry farm last weekend when it opened its doors for the first time in support of Open Farm Sunday.

Father and son Nigel and Patrick Joice, of Uphouse Farm, decided to open their gates to showcase their farm and dispel some of the myths that surround indoor poultry farming. The farm has 800,000 chickens housed across 16 barns – each of which is the size of two tennis courts. And two were given viewing platforms for the event so visitors could see inside.

Host farmer Patrick Joice said: “We believe there are a number of myths about chicken farming, not least how the birds are kept and looked after.

“The reality is very different from the perception and that’s why we decided to open our doors. My father and I – and our team here – are all really proud of the way we rear chickens. It is a 24-7 job and we are all really passionate about it. I was really pleased by the turn out we had and the fantastic feedback received on the day about what we do and what we were trying to achieve.”

During the event visitors of all ages got to handle day-old chicks and ask plenty of questions from experts on the day. These included Red Tractor, AB Agri, Banham Poultry, The British Poultry Council and Aviagen and FACE.

Inside the two barns, which had additional windows for visitors installed especially for the day, were three-day-old chicks and three-week-old birds. Viewing platforms gave all visitors a prime view of the chicken. The farm works to Red Tractor farm assurance and had already taken the step of installing windows and they also have perches, bales and pecking objects.

Mr Joice added: “This was a very big step for us to take; opening up your farm is a nerve-wracking experience and for us as poultry farmers it was a first.

“We had a great day and we thoroughly enjoyed talking to the visitors, explaining what happens on our farm and helping everyone understand a bit more about what it takes to get chicken to the table.”

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