LJ fairburn Poultry

OUR PRODUCERS

We are proud to have some of the finest farming families in the country helping to supply our egg production.

From local Lincolnshire farms to rural Welsh enterprises – our producers stretch across the UK, bringing their farming know-how to the L J Fairburn brand

Just like us, our producer partners are committed to high welfare standards, sustainability and deliciously fresh eggs.

Meet some of them below…

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Richard & Jess Brown

Second generation farmer Richard Brown inherited a passion for poultry from his father – and a recommendation from Stuart Fairburn! 

Richard grew up on his family’s arable farm in Saleby, Lincolnshire, just a short trip from L J Fairburn. He was introduced to poultry at the age of 16, when Stuart Fairburn recommended to his father that he diversify to free range poultry. 

Richard started his own poultry business, R&J Eggs, in Bilsby a decade later, and after meeting and marrying Jessica, the couple took over his father’s units too. They now rear all their own birds and supply us with 150,000 eggs a week. 

“We like working with Fairburn’s and are proud to be supplying this local family-run business with our eggs,” says Jessica. “We have known the family a long time and being able to supply a local business with our eggs, and wheat from Richard’s father’s farm for milling, is a benefit for us.” 

Jessica says they both love life with their birds. “We have a good team that work hard for us and our youngest daughter enjoys working with the birds and collecting eggs. It’s very rewarding seeing them grow from day-old chicks into hens and producing lovely eggs!”

Myles & Diana Thomas

The Thomas family have been farming at their mixed farm in Shropshire for 66 years – but after a change of direction in 2006, they now supply us with 21 million eggs per year. 
 
Third generation farmer Myles runs the 150 acre farm, T C Thomas and Son, with wife Diana, having taken over from his grandparents Charles and Daisy Thomas, who came to Manor Farm in 1935. 
 
The success of their first free range poultry house, which housed 16,000 birds for egg production, led them to expand and in 2014 they built a multi-tier unit that now houses 66,000 hens. 
 
“Working with Fairburn’s has benefitted us in many ways, including medium to long term contracts, which has helped us plan ahead and move our business forward in a sustainable way,” says Myles. “We like the family approach – and communication between Fairburn’s and ourselves has always been excellent.” 

Sam & Shelley Traves

Sam and Shelley Traves run their 16,000 bird Freedom Food approved unit in Lincolnshire. Their current flock is their third, after previously farming dairy cattle and beef for some 10 years. Directly outside of the popholes, a five meter apron of large stones provides good drainage, helping to maintain good litter quality inside the shed. Beyond that, a 500m stretch of hawthorn hedge helps to draw the bird out onto the range. Sam said "we were lucky to have the hedge already in place from our previous enterprises – as well as a few old established trees." Sam can see that the hawthorn hedge is important in drawing hens out of the shed and onto the rest of the range and has the benefits of being quick to establish whilst requiring no maintenance.

Beyond the hedge, the Traves have planted an additional 500 trees of a range of species, including 23 birch and maple. These were planted with their first flock and are relatively immature but, having seen the benefits of the already established trees and hedges, the Traves plan to plant even more. “I plan to plant another 500 or so, but this time I plan to use fruit trees. I can sell the fruit at a local market and I know the hens will enjoy any fallen fruit. It’s a win-win. I’d recommend that producers thinking about planting cover think about tress that can provide extra income – whether it’s fruit, wood or even Christmas trees. The hens would love Christmas trees, they’re fast growing and they’d provide good winter cover too”.

But what’s more important than any added income is the benefit the natural cover brings to the birds. “We’re animal lovers; we do it because we can see that they enjoy it. It’s great to see the way they are on the range, trundling about, dust-bathing, pecking, and enjoying their environment.”

Tony & Helen Heal

Over 70 years, Heal Farms has grown from 400 chickens in wooden chicken coops to providing us with 150 million eggs a year! 
 
But at the heart of one of our biggest suppliers is a Shropshire family. After inheriting the business from his parents Roger and Vera Heal, son Tony took the reins and began expanding the farm. It now includes 6,000 acres of arable land producing 10,000 tonnes of wheat for its feed mill, and 16,000 tonnes of potatoes for Walkers and McCain Foods.  
 
This year, Tony and Helen’s daughter also joined as office manager opening the door to the next generation. 
 
The family joined us in 2015 and have grown the egg production side of the business steadily, now caring for half a million birds.  
 
They’ve also introduced a number of green initiatives – planting 80 acres of trees, and generating electricity through the use of solar panels on the roofs of their free range poultry units. The chicken manure is also used as an organic sustainable fertiliser for crops. 
 
 “The Fairburn’s are an honest and fair-minded family whom we trust to market our eggs in an ethical and profitable way,” adds Tony.  
 
“The best thing about the job is doing it well and having healthy, happy birds laying lots of eggs!” 

 

James & Alice Turner

The Turner family are combining the best of traditional methods with cutting-edge green technology at their Lincolnshire poultry business.

Since they set up their 32K poultry shed in 2019, they have installed solar panels to offset the shed’s electric use, and planted two acres of trees. But their greening initiatives haven’t stopped there.

“We also installed a 600KW ground source heat pump, which heats the egg packing room and the shed with pre-warmed fresh air,” says Alice, who runs the business with husband James and mum-in-law Annette. “This has improved the litter quality and keeps the shed at a constant temperature through cold periods. We’re also planning on doubling our trees to four acres over the next year.”

High-welfare hens mean lots of eggs, and just two years into the business they’re already supplying us with over 200,000 eggs a week.

James and Alice both grew up in farming and are keen that their own children, Holly and Jack, get stuck into farming life.

“We take them to see the chickens at weekends and they love helping out. Being out in the countryside, in the fresh air, is the best part of the job,” adds Alice.

As well as the poultry business, the family are agricultural contractors and hauliers, farming more than 1,000 acres of arable land, and they supply seasoned logs. James also supplies several Lincolnshire free-range producers with cockle shells for scratching material outside poultry sheds, and Alice works as our Supply Chain Manager.

“We’re a jack of all trades!” says Alice. “But it’s fantastic to have another arm to our business to help us grow for the future generation. The Fairburn’s agriculture team have given us so much great advice and support.”

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Mark & Helen Williams

Not putting all his eggs into one basket has allowed Montgomeryshire farmer Mark Williams to safeguard his family farm for future generations.

Mark, who farms near Welshpool with wife Helen, diversified into poultry in 2017 and supplies us with eggs from their 16K flock.

“There’s been a lot of uncertainty for agriculture in Wales and concerns about future markets, so we’d been looking to other opportunities and to expand for the last 10 years,” says Mark. 

“Egg production is a very different enterprise, much more hands on. But we love the variation, and the more regular income. Above all, it’s given our three young boys opportunities for the future.”

Mark says it was great to be able to learn the ropes with a small flock at first, but now they are expanding with another 16K flock. Previous flocks have performed well, producing on average 15,000 eggs a day.

“The boys still get excited when Fairburn’s lorries turn up in the yard! Driver Jon is fantastic. Really friendly and careful in the yard around the children,” says Mark. “The family ethos is why we chose to go with Fairburn’s. They are a farming family that understands farms and farming families. We speak the same language.”

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Ioan Humphries

Twenty-eight-year-old Ioan Humphries is one of our newest producers, based in the heart of Wales, and switching to egg production has proved a sound decision for him and his family.

“I took over the farm eight years ago when my dad got ill and couldn’t do the work any more. It was solely beef and sheep then,” says Ioan.

Realising that the traditional farming business needed to diversify to secure its future, Ioan  invested in a large, solar-powered shed with 32,000 free range hens. “I’ve been with Fairburn’s since the beginning. As a new producer I had lots of questions and they have been extremely helpful.”

Local producer group Lloyds-CFP supplies feed and pullets to Ioan, and he in turn supplies eggs to Fairburn’s.

The move into egg production has been a success and the business now also employs Ioan’s sister and her partner. “Fairburn’s are a great family company to work with who look after their producers. We ourselves are a family business so it's nice to work with a company with the same values!” 

Best part of the job – “Getting different enrichment items, like footballs, for my birds and watching their reaction to all the new stuff they get.”

Favourite egg dish – “The only way to eat eggs and that’s poached!” 

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Simon & Victoria Elwess

With more than a decade running a successful pedigree Hereford beef enterprise, Simon and Victoria Elwess are no strangers to farming life. But since installing a 32K poultry shed at their Lincolnshire farm in 2019, they’ve not looked back.

“We love working with the chickens,” says Victoria, whose grandparents were also farmers. “It brings another dimension to our business – and they are such wonderful characters! When you walk through the shed, the chickens follow you like the pied piper. They are as fascinated by us as we are by them.”

The Elwess family have achieved exceptional results on their first flock, supplying us with over 11 million eggs. They are planning to add another 16K in 2023.

Welfare is a passion for the couple, and the free range flock has 40 acres of land to roam about on. With the help of The Woodland Trust, they have also planted a woodland, so the chickens have plenty of places to forage and find cover.

“We were really attracted to the idea of working with poultry, and Fairburn’s has supported us all the way through,” adds Victoria. “We paid a visit to one of their other producers to see what it was like – and we were hooked.”

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James & Andrew Craven

Second generation farmer James Craven has seen his poultry business really take off since he joined forces with us as one of our egg producers.

In just over a decade, 24-year-old James and his father Andrew, have doubled their poultry output with 96K chickens across two sites – and they’re planning a new shed for another 64K this year.

As one of our longest serving producers, AR Craven Farms produce 85,000 eggs a day. And with a large arable operation and haulage fleet of lorries, they also supply our mill with 30 tonnes of homegrown wheat a week. This is made into high-quality feed that nourishes theirs and other producers’ chickens.

The father and son have installed solar panels onto the poultry sheds to save on energy, and are considering a rainwater harvesting system this year.

“It was a brave move for us to go into poultry, but Fairburn’s really encouraged us,” says James, whose family have been farming in Lincolnshire for 26 years. “Stuart and Daniel showed us that poultry could create a different dimension to our business, and took us step-by-step through the process.

“Fairburn’s have looked after us well. There’s always someone on the end of the phone to speak to and we have a very honest working relationship. Going into poultry is the best thing we’ve done.”

 

 

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