Peter Kendall, Red Tractor chicken farmer
Peter Kendall rears chickens in Bedfordshire with his brother Richard, producing Red Tractor Assured chicken for the UK’s major supermarkets.
Independent assessors regularly audit the farm as part of the Red Tractor Assurance Scheme, and for Peter and Richard, technology plays a key part in adhering to the Red Tractor standards.
The chickens are housed in a state-of-the-art shed, which was completed in April 2016. Technology installed in the shed enables Peter and Richard to monitor the birds’ welfare and tweak every detail remotely from a phone or iPad – from feed, water and light to ventilation and temperature – allowing ultimate levels of stockmanship without disturbing the birds.
Each shed is walked regularly by a trained stockman, with the target of walking within 3 meters of every bird in the house to ensure they are fit and well. CCTV provides an additional layer of monitoring so that, without disturbing the birds, they can be monitored and the water and feeders checked.
Independent assessors ensure the farm’s day-to-day processes meet Red Tractor standards. This includes the welfare of the chickens, feed records and paperwork relating to any antibiotics that may have been administered.
Peter said: “It’s really important to us that we have a set of standards that are independently inspected to demonstrate the great welfare of our chickens and the environmental protection that we provide. They also demonstrate that we’re training our staff to make sure the birds are looked after to the best possible standards.
“We are inspected on a regular basis by Red Tractor. They want to check things like the processes we go through for biosecurity, how we’re making the feed available and how we’re monitoring it.”
There is an automatic weighing machine in the shed, which allows Peter and Richard to monitor daily the weight gain of the birds, water intake, feed and temperature. The Red Tractor scheme also requires that there are windows in the shed to allow natural light to come in, while play bales are on the floor to give the birds a natural environment to prosper in.
Peter continued: “When you go to a supermarket you can see the Red Tractor logo and be reassured that good standards that are being adhered to, which are inspected and monitored. If you’re buying chicken from somewhere without the Red Tractor logo, you have none of those assurances.
“The really great thing about Red Tractor is that it’s not just a farm scheme. It also covers how the chicks are produced, the farm standards, haulage and the final processing as well. The whole supply chain.
“I think it’s really important that in the UK farmers bust a gut to meet good standards and open farms up for independent inspection, because we want consumers to know the amount of effort, investment and attention to detail that goes into producing British Red Tractor chicken. We’re investing in making sure consumers can be confident how their chicken is produced. That’s why Red Tractor is so important.”