Our barn is again full of lovely chickens... as an unexpected call at the weekend meant a huge rush and change of plans to swap the chicken pens around, deep clean and make room for a new flock of pure breed bantams.
Usually our chicken deliveries are well planned in advance, our breeders needing to know our orders a year or so in advance, but this year it seems (as with everything else in life at the moment!) that things are a little upside down.. (in fact they are really not straightforward or going to plan at all!) So, the chance of a flock of lovely hens earlier than expected could not be turned down!
And when they arrived it was definitely worth the rush and work of building them a new covered outdoor run so they can get some outside spring (snowy!) air; they are as lovely as ever - friendly and fluffy, it is always tricky to remember when counting them out of the crates that they are all meant to be for sale!
This flock is a real bonus as unfortunately the poultry industry is really struggling at the moment with the bird-flu restrictions staying in place much longer than in previous years, the increasing costs of everything and the unpredictable sales (the huge increase in demand in 2020 was followed by a bigger slump in 2021) resulting in breeders either reducing numbers for 2022 or sadly going out of business.
We have been doing our upmost to always have hens for sale and to limit any price increases to our customers, but with the cost of our feed, bedding, fuel, energy (and everything else) steeply increasing we have had to make some changes (even the cost of cardboard boxes to transport the birds in has doubled!) then to make things much worse HMRC have changed the VAT classifications for poultry and there is now VAT at 20% to pay on some of the breeds! we are finding out more as quickly as we can to understand fully the new classifications but it seems some breeds are no longer classed as egg layers but are considered pets; making them vatable. A strange time to make such a change it would seem when people are being encouraged to live more sustainably and not rely on commercial imported food! (but it gives a 20% increase in revenue for the government).
So like most small businesses, our prices are going up but our margins are going down. We tell this not as a 'poor-us' but really as an apology for some of the price increases and a hope that you will understand and continue to support us to do what we believe in - selling well cared for, great quality hens along with proper, 'old-fashioned' customer service.
With our best wishes
from Kerry, Jason and all at Mantel Farm.
Easter is not far away - please remember we will as usual be
open on Good Friday but closed on Easter Sunday
Take a look at our lovely little flock of Pure Breed Hens. Pure Breeds are the traditional back garden birds. Our range of pure breeds are vaccinated and reared together, and so you can choose from a selection of different birds making an interesting and attractive mixed flock