Unit Manager of the Year
Anna Richardson, Joice & Hill hatchery, Peterborough
I was surprised and delighted to win this award,” said Anna Richardson. “Joice & Hill are committed to bringing a new generation into poultry and I take my responsibility for developing, nurturing and mentoring my team very seriously. I think the whole team will share my pride in this achievement.”
Richardson has demonstrated exceptional management skills in the face of the challenges posed by COVID-19, all while maintaining the performance of her unit. She has held the role of hatchery manager since 2016 and in that time has undertaken training including chick welfare, emergency first aid, food hygiene, rodent control, maximising personal effectiveness, and chemical training.
At the hatchery, the parent stock routinely exceed hatching egg production targets by 10-12% despite rigorous selection criteria. This is helped by very good shell quality and a flat egg weight profile. Average hatchability over the last four months with the Bovans Brown breed was 40.2% females.
Standard breeds averaged from 39.0% to 42.7% females on egg set. Eggs from mid age parent stock at optimum egg age often reach 43%+ females; 7-day farm mortality is tracked and last year’s average was 0.81%, a 40% improvement on pre-2015 records and 20% over 2017-18. Hygiene results are also constantly improving.
Under Richardson’s management there has been low turnover of staff. Over the last five years she has managed the expansion and modernisation programme to ensure it has one of the most modern, biosecure and efficient hatcheries in the UK. As the demand for chicks has increased, Richardson has maintained quality through the machines, quality processes eg weights/quality checks/counts, staff training and regular audits.
She has also overseen a programme of training and progression among the team with a focus on bringing younger members of staff into the business. She regularly works alongside the staff on the production line to ensure motivation is kept up throughout the day.