Jessies Hens Cambridgeshire
by Tom Tomlinson
My name is Tom, myself and my family run Jessie's hens in Fen Ditton On the edge of Cambridge, we do not consider ourselves to be a business, because unlike businesses, profit, sales figures and all that they bring does not interest us, and are not our primary concern.The health and welfare of the hens, and your satisfaction are!
I won't lie to you, If at the end of the month when all the expenses are deducted, if we have a little money left, I am delighted, because then I can spend some more cash on our little bit of heaven, my old 0.8 acre allotment site! so I can improve the area, sheds and make the life better for our hens for sale and our hens for re-homing and our permanent girls!
This year we launched our website www.jessieshens.co.uk and things have really taken off, as well as hens we now sell food, poultry housing, straw, rat traps, oyster shell, and wood shavings. I am told by many customers that we are cheaper than, certain pet stores.
My inspiration for Jessie's was that I always kept hens over the years, but had a couple of years out. But when I got my allotment I wanted to buy some birds to keep there. I was really surprised, by how much things had changed. Suddenly quality cost a fortune or for reasonable price you got battery hens or what can only be described as suspect market quality. You get what you pay for, I was told snootily by a supplier. I couldn't be the only one who wanted good quality healthy hens for reasonable money, could I?
Well I decided that was going to change and more importantly I was going to change it! I spent ages researching suppliers and toyed with the idea of raising my own as day olds, but decided against it, as I did not have the space, or spending power to set this up, so I put this idea on the back burner, for the future. I sourced some 15 week old hybrid hens, which would come to me vaccinated, wormed and liced I would isolate for 48 -72 hours. Then offer these for sale via a sign outside on the main road in Fen Ditton, I started this in March 2009, and wow, have not looked back since!
People would call my mobile and I would take them to see my free range birds, and they could ask questions, which I would always answer as honestly as possible. We soon sold out of our first batch and soon we had a waiting list and people ringing asking to come see us.
Soon I had sales reps and large poultry suppliers ringing and calling on us wanting us to sign up to all sorts. Then came a question I was not prepared for, "I know I am speaking to Tom but what is your company name?" Company? "We are not a company" I replied "We are just hobbyists" "Yes but what do you call yourselves?" I thought quick Tom's birds? Helens Hens after my wife, what about after one of my five sons, that would cause great arguments, "Er Jessie's Hens" I stammered "After my only daughter" I said sounding more sure.
So there it was June 2009, and three months in "Jessie's Hens" was up and running and to be honest I have enjoyed every minute since. Most of the family join in, with myself and my wife Helen, my sons Anthony, Sam, Jack, Scott, Jay and of course my daughter Jessie. Even my granddaughter Lillie who isn't two yet likes to lend a hand!
The way I see it is every egg laid by Hens in a back garden, is one less laid by a hen in a cage. Whilst we are not a business we try to give first class customer service, answer every question as honestly as possible and try to carry on the same principles that we started with first class customer service, honesty, and happy healthy birds. I believe we are probably Cambridgeshire's number one hen supplier.
We are DEFRA and Animal health registered and registered with Trading Standards as well. We can trace all of our birds once sold and keep accurate and up to date records. I believe we are the only Hen Supplier to offer both a seven day health and death warranty and in any circumstances within the life of any bird purchased here we will take back any bird should you find you are unable to keep them.
As long as they carry no infection or infestation. We welcome any visitors to Jessie's but ask you to call in advance to keep distruption to the hens to a minimum.