28 February 2015 | Online since 2003

28 January 2014|News,Poultry

Potters Poultry celebrate 50th annivesary year

2014 will be a special year for Potters Poultry as it approaches its 50th anniversary in September. Olivia Potter, Farms Director, and granddaughter of founder William Potter, now manages the pullet enterprise with her brother Justin running the UK’s only poultry equipment manufacturing business. Here, at the start of the year, Olivia gives her views of past progress and future plans....

Were you always going to become involved in the family business?
Olivia: I have been a part of Potters Poultry ever since I could carry an egg basket! But I did decide to go to Manchester University to study Leisure Management, but missed the poultry business so much that I worked part time in the farm office while finishing my degree, then full time after graduating. Since then I’ve moved into managing the farms and sales, based on the family owned farm at Willey, near Rugby.

What were some of the major changes that you instigated at Potters?
I felt that we should move into a stronger, more secure position. We were doing about half a million pullets but mostly to one large company and going into cages – tying up all of our farms. We decided we’d be better expanding our customer profile to deal with a larger number of smaller free range producers, family businesses like ourselves. We now cover virtually all of the UK and have come out of cages altogether. We last had caged birds through the business about five years ago. We decided not to continue with layers ourselves, but concentrate our efforts on rearing.

Now Potters has both a significant pullets and equipment business – with equipment being installed and home and abroad. How do they work together?

It’s definitely 50-50. Justin has his division to run and I have mine, but whilst they are separate, we do work very closely and I feel that gives us something very unique to offer the UK poultry industry. We call it the Potters Package, where we work in partnership with customers to offer complete housing systems and robust Pullets, coupled with ongoing technical support and back up.

We operate separately if that is what the customer wants – pullets or equipment – or for those that want the full package, once they have their base work done, we can supply all their needs from start to finish, including aftercare.
We have worked hard to ensure that Potters’ products and services are of a high standard and we act as an ally for our customers.

How important is clear communication with customers?
Transparency is vital – from start to the finish of the rearing process – we fully welcome visitors on site. We were also one of the first, if not the first, to offer the Farm History Pack detailing the birds’ progress throughout the rearing period.
We are equally proud of our on-farm sales and service staff. We have recruited a strong team of knowledgeable and experienced poultry specialists who work alongside farmers, both in the UK and abroad, to ensure the best performance from a flock.

Bird health and welfare remain hugely important - in both the pullet and equipment side, it ensures a high standard to work to. We like to keep abreast of new developments, and will regularly trial gut health products in particular. We continue to look at innovative and cost effective ways to consistently meet target bodyweights and ensure low mortality.

What is Potters’ policy on vaccination?
Again, we are always listening to what challenges are out there, what other rearers are doing, and of course, talking to customers and taking the advice of our vet. We offer not only the industry standard vaccinations but also bespoke vaccinations as required.

A big challenge, I feel, is for everyone to appreciate how difficult it is to ensure that birds achieve breed target body weights when giving multi-vaccines, in some cases these days as many as five or six injected vaccines.
I believe as an industry we should look more to improved farm management rather than over relying on vaccines. Either way physically and genetically, these birds are only capable of a certain amount of weight, set by the breeder - the goal is always to achieve this weight and not compromise on welfare or productivity – giving producers every opportunity to farm a high performing flock of birds and optimise profitability.

Do you also look at new feed options?
Yes, we do, feed is our biggest input and feeding the best quality ingredients, in the most effective way, is vital to getting the growth we want. We’re currently doing a trial in which birds stay on the super chick starter ration for longer to see whether this helps to achieve key targets for body weight. We’re hoping to find out whether by spending more on feed early we can achieve better body weight at the end of rear, where it really counts.

With such a demanding business to attend to do you have any spare time?
Very little - I also have a family of three children under twelve so as you can imagine life is hectic, but fun! But I do like to keep fit and have now run 8 marathons, 4 in support of Cancer Research and raised over £14,000.

For more information on Potters Poultry visit www.potterspoultry.com



No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment

To post comment without approval login or register

Display name

Please enter your name

Email (optional)

Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.

Some error on your process.Please try one more time.


9 February 2015
EIA Planner
Due to continued success and an expanding portfolio our client, a renewable energy developer based in Turriff, Aberdeenshire,...

20 February 2015
Sales & Business Development Manager - ERP
Our client is the UK market leader in the supply of Integrated Dealer Management Systems for Agriculture, Horticulture, Groun...

21 February 2015
Service Administrator
Ø Unit 7, Chase Farm, Stagg Hill, Potters Bar, EN6 5ER. Job purpose outline:....

25 February 2015
Band 5 Personal Assistant
It comprises Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital, the Royal Free Hospital and more than 30 services in the community....

17 February 2015
Product Owner/Manager
Our clients include Charities such as Wikimedia and Farm Africa, galleries such as the Photographers Gallery and Craft Centra...

Top stories you may have missed
2 February 2015 | Arable
Is EU membership damaging UK farming?

Is EU membership damaging UK farming?

Membership of the EU is damaging the British farming industry, according to...

29 January 2015 | Machinery and Equipment
Drones 'rapidly changing' agriculture

Drones 'rapidly changing' agriculture

BASIS has launched an accreditation for pilots of Unmanned Aerial Systems (...

23 January 2015 | Arable
UK wheat yields have potential to double

UK wheat yields have potential to double

UK wheat yields have theoretical potential to more than double over the nex...

23 January 2015 | Machinery and Equipment
Crowds flock to LAMMA 2015

Crowds flock to LAMMA 2015

Britain’s farmers flocked to Peterborough for the first day of LAMMA’15 to ...

22 January 2015 | Cattle
Don't blame supermarkets for milk crisis...

Don't blame supermarkets for milk crisis...

The crisis in the dairy industry is not the fault of supermarkets, accordin...

16 January 2015 | CLA
Families affected by HS2 face 'major wor...

Families affected by HS2 face 'major wor...

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer visited three rural businesses in Cheshi...

16 January 2015 | Machinery and Equipment
John Deere unveil new 6R tractor range

John Deere unveil new 6R tractor range

Spearheading the John Deere range of mid-size tractors from Mannheim, the n...

14 January 2015 | Animal Health
Monthly TB checks more effective than ba...

Monthly TB checks more effective than ba...

Regular testing for bovine TB could significantly reduce the number of infe...

12 January 2015 | News
Government regulations hampering UK agri...

Government regulations hampering UK agri...

Single-issue policy-making threatens to hamper, not help, the progress of U...

8 January 2015 | Cattle
2015: The year ahead for the beef market

2015: The year ahead for the beef market

2014 has been a “rocky old year” for the beef industry but better prices ar...