Hello All!

Welcome to the next instalment of our newsletter series, Winter 2022. Not a lot to update you on like most people with all this wet weather we have been bunkering down.

The best thing about using our specific Sommerlad breed of chickens is we are always so impressed with how well they thrive in Australia’s vast weather conditions, even this incredibly wet winter. The rain has also been putting our shelters to the test. 12 months ago, we invested in our own custom-made shelters and can now say a year later that the investment holds up, they work fabulously in every season. Our shelters do not have any flooring and are lightweight so they can be towed to fresh grasses with our ute. Not needing heavy machinery is ideal in these conditions, as no doubt using anything heavier than the ute would result in us getting bogged immediately. What also makes our shelters different to regular chicken sheds is that they have pop holes that remain permanently open, so our birds are always able to decide themselves when to forage and when to shelter from the rain. We are always surprised by how much they still do get out and about in this weather, I guess knowing they have somewhere safe and warm to dry off makes that decision easy for them. We have recently spent some time digging trenches around the shelters to re-direct the water to ensure the ground inside stays nice and dry for them. The old-fashioned way I might add, a shovel doesn’t get bogged but unfortunately our bobcat does. So, Kaitlyn, Bryan and I have had plenty of time in our rain jackets watching the chicken’s muck about in the rain whilst we dig.

We would like to inform everyone that after lots of consideration we have decided to make the hard decision to increase our prices, by 5%. Our expenses have been steadily rising over the last few years, and instead of increasing our prices we have always been able to offset them by increasing our turnover, becoming more efficient etc. However, it has come to a point now that we can no longer absorb these extra costs, for example our feed (one of our major expenses) has increased by 25% in the last financial year, not to mention fuel and electricity prices. This is the first time since we started this business that we have increased our pricing, and we are hoping this will not impact your continual support.

Another thing that has happened since our last newsletter is that Michael Sommerlad and his family came to visit. In our summer 2022 newsletter we spoke about Michael’s journey in developing the breed we use, and how we are incredibly grateful for his work and that he continues to consult with us to ensure we achieve the very best results with his precious genetics. If you’d like to learn more about the importance of chicken genetics and why we choice this breed, I recommend checking that newsletter out. Unfortunately, with inter-state travel being what it has been the last few years, it has been a while since Michael and his family had been able to visit us in person. So, we were ecstatic that they were able to make the trip last month. As well as showing the kids the sites (Dubbo Zoo is always a go to), we spent the two days with Michael looking over our entire breeding program. It was our priority that we use Michael’s expertise to ensure that we are maintaining the quality of our breeding lines, and he was very happy with how things were sitting. It’s always reassuring to have an outside eye double check our work, and so rewarding when they are pleased with what we are achieving. Recognition is always gratifying.

Another form of recognition we are always humbled by is the Delicious Produce Awards. Recently we were awarded a state winner for the 5th year in a row. Delicious are such wonderful supporters of the ideals we model our business after. They not only recognise “delicious” tasting food they also focus on how that food is grown. Shining a light on sustainable food-practices, producers who focus on environmental sustainability, species diversity and the local community, which is right up our ally. The winner of their national title is announced in August, please cross your fingers for us.

We like to end these with a recipe recommendation and with it getting dark so early, sometimes all you want for dinner is a quick and easy one-pot meal. We really enjoy this one, it’s very simple yet still so delicious. Enjoy! ( )

With Gratitude,

Kim and Bryan Kiss, Grassland Poultry

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