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Grampian top Cobb flock of 2004 in Europe

by 5m Editor
4 March 2005, at 12:00am

UK - An increase in broiler breeder performance of up to 33 chicks / parent over the last four years has made Grampian Country Chickens in Scotland the first winner of the Cobb Europe Flock of the Year Award.

Grampian top Cobb flock of 2004 in Europe - UK - An increase in broiler breeder performance of up to 33 chicks / parent over the last four years has made Grampian Country Chickens in Scotland the first winner of the Cobb Europe Flock of the Year Award.

The prize-winning 20,000-bird flock was Grampian's first delivery of Cobb 500 derived entirely from US breeding stock and achieved an average 143.67 chicks / parent placed to 60 weeks of age at Glendevon Farm, Crossgates, Fife.

"This is a truly world class result," says Jonathan Cade, sales director of Cobb Europe. "The result is typical of the best Cobb 500 flocks in Brazil which is leading the world in performance - and perhaps even better considering the lower stocking densities in Brazil."

He attributed the success to a 'real team effort' on behalf of Grampian at rearing, laying and hatchery levels. Grampian Country Food Group is the UK's largest chicken producer.

The achievement is particularly satisfying for David Harrower, Grampian's agricultural operations manager for Scottish breeding farms, who introduced new disciplines in breeder management when he joined the company.

He set his sights initially on chick start and ensuring flocks achieved target bodyweight. Automatic platform weighers were introduced throughout rearing, monitoring liveweight daily to enable feed amounts to be adjusted with precision to achieve correct bodyweights.


Grampian Country Chicken managers receive their awards from Jonathan Cade (extreme right). From left - Allan Meldrum and Mark Foote, of Cobb Europe, Laird Parker, Kevin Smith, David Harrower, Jim McGuire, Neil Gill and Tam Baille of Grampian.
Grading starts early, with the smaller birds removed from the main populations and kept in a separate pen throughout rearing and production. "This takes them away from the more dominant birds throughout their life, and allows them to compete with birds of a similar nature," says Mr Harrower.

The Cobb 500 has provided the bonus of saving of around 3kg of feed during the laying period, equating to approximately two chicks / breeder at current feed and chick prices.

Mr Harrower also places considerable emphasis on providing a healthy environment. Houses at the Glendevon farm are 45 years old and adopt a modified cross-flow ventilation system, maintaining a positive pressure and minimum ventilation to ensure an exchange of air at all times.

The Cobb flock achieved hatchability of over 90 per cent for six weeks, and developed a reputation for reliable performance and good chick quality throughout lay. The flock was still hatching at 80% on depletion.

"With such diverse environments and management systems in the industry, there's no simple short cut to improving performance," says Mr Harrower. "It's important to put in place procedures you believe will lead to improvement and then to monitor their impact."

This disciplined approach is bringing out the best in the farms, the employees and the birds, setting a fine example to others in how to achieve world-class results.

Source: Cobb - 4th March 2005

5m Editor