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A day in the life of a Free Range Consultant... Rachel Davis

Shortly after completing my final degree year at Harper Adams University, in Bio-Veterinary Science, I found myself wanting a new challenge, as previous experience had, until then, been very much small animal based, with some sheep, beef and dairy thrown in. This desire led me to apply for the role of Trainee Free Range Consultant, where I joined the Bowler Eggs Field Support team in July 2016. My role involves travelling around the UK to visit our farms, advising on all aspects of bird management to help maximise both egg production and bird welfare.

This is a 24-hour service; being at the end of the phone to offer support remotely, when needed, is also an important aspect of the role. Training to be a Free Range Consultant has been a challenging experience, being new to the industry and having to learn everything from the ground up is no easy task; every day is still a school day! I've gained new experiences in the different parts of a flock cycle, from hatchery to old hen depletion, providing me with as broad a knowledge of the processes as possible.

The role involves frequent travel, staying out overnight and putting in long hours to provide the best service possible. Though the key focus is to provide advice, the whole team also mucks in to do carry out tasks such as birds-in, vaccinating flocks, and weighing birds on farm. There can be some hard graft involved, but its a pretty good feeling at the end of the day! I have worked closely with other members of the Field Support team since starting, and the support and help from everyone has been invaluable.

As everyone knows, livestock is never straightforward; you often here on farm thatno two flocks are the same, so inevitably the role can be tricky and involve thinking outside the box to come up with solutions to issues. So its not just about what help each individual can provide, but about bringing the whole team to work together, knowledge-sharing and banging our heads together to come up with solutions and new ideas to help our egg producers to the best of our abilities, and thats what we take pride in.

A day in the life of a Pullet Consultant... Andy Seale

I have been with Bowler Eggs for over 8 years; before this I was a retail manager and buyer. I decided to try something new and applied for a position within Bowler Eggs, where I started out in the Build department, under the watchful eye of Andrew Watson, now our Sales & Marketing Director. After a few years I moved into the Pullet department as extra resources were required to help deliver the expanding flock, after all this is where it all begins for a new flock.

My main objective is to ensure that our Bowler Eggs Producers receive the best possible pullets available. Behind the scenes I am continuously monitoring all current flocks on the ground, making sure vaccinations are carried out, numbers are correct and hatch and delivery dates are correct.

I plan my diary a month in advance and ensure that I visit each flock in rear up to 5 times. This can be a little challenging when we can have around +700,000 birds in rear at any one time, all at different ages.

Although there are less glamorous parts of my role, such as time out on the road travelling to visit rearing sites located as far North as Barnard Castle and as far South as Bristol, the rewards are worth it when you help see through good strong, healthy pullets in the rearing process, receiving positive feedback from the laying farms on how well the birds are performing, and ultimately these birds going on to become healthy laying flocks.

Dealing with livestock is not always straight forward. Handling delicate situations and decision making is vital in my role, as although our Producers are always welcome to visit their flock in rear, we appreciate they are busy with their current flock and rely upon me and the team to deal with the day to day rearing decisions.

Alongside this I am in constant contact with our pullet suppliers field representatives and decision makers on how we can keep improving the standards of pullets and the rearing process, including perching, enrichment and shed conditions.

We are always looking ahead, usually anywhere up to 14 months in advance to ensure rearing sites are suitable and meet the standards required and expected.

A day in the life of an IT Business Analyst... Yvette Kempson

I have been with Bowler Eggs for 5 years, working in several different departments which included Energy, Pullets & Old Hens, Field Support and now working within the IT department as an IT Business Analyst.

Before working with here, I had a varied career path ranging from caring for the elderly to taxidermy (not to be confused!), which has enabled me to develop a wide range of skills and experience working in a wide range of industries.

I have always been involved in improving systems or administration processes, which is one of the main reasons for moving into my current role.

As an IT Business Analyst I look at the existing IT systems and working processes currently in use, and obtain an understanding of the functions and requirements. I work with a wide range of individuals to improve or re-design new systems, in order to improve efficiencies and identify any new requirements.

My previous career experiences play a key part in this role, as I can be collaborating with farm workers, business owners, Directors and other third party organisations to ensure that we deliver what is expected and required.

By improving our IT systems and eliminating many of the manual processes this should enable farms to run more efficiently, have easy to read data to hand, and put them in the best possible position for the future.