Farm manager (poultry)

Farm manager (poultry)

A farm manager (poultry) looks after the daily management of a poultry farm or unit to meet high standards of bird welfare and environmental practices.
Also known as a farm manager, unit manager, poultry supervisor, farm supervisor, or assistant farm manager (poultry).

This profile highlights the skills and knowledge associated with the role. However, jobs will have varying responsibilities depending on level of the role and the size or type of the business.

As a farm manager in the poultry sector, you'll help the senior management team make sure the poultry farm runs smoothly.

The role relates to the individual in overall charge of a poultry farm or unit. There are a number of role names depending on the size of the farm. It could be that you work on a single poultry-only site.  You could also manage a poultry unit as part of a larger mixed farm or chain of units. 

British poultry farmers work to world-class welfare standards, ensuring birds can always access appropriate food and sufficient water and provide an environment with satisfactory space and suitable rest areas. They should also be kept free from pain, injury, fear, and disease and be free to express natural behaviours.

These form part of the ‘Five Freedoms’ developed by the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) that should be considered in all farm animal care. To ensure these standards can be met, you should be able to identify disease and/or injury early and recognise when veterinary intervention may be required. 

For indoor birds, you’ll need to make sure they have a clean and safe environment with good lighting, fresh air, and enough room. Outdoor birds also need a suitable environment with shelter, boundary fencing, and the ability to move around freely. 

You'll oversee and carry out regular checks to protect the birds’ welfare. These checks will also help to meet farm assurance scheme requirements and production targets.  

The poultry sector is wide and varied. It includes chickens, ducks, and turkeys, among others. Within each of these sectors, there are also sub-sectors for breeding, rearing, growing (for meat – known as broiler chickens), and egg production for human consumption. Depending on the size and nature of the business, these activities are likely to take place at different sites or in separate businesses. Each of these sub-sectors requires slightly different knowledge and skills to be successful.

You'll carry out recruitment, training, and supervision duties for new and less experienced staff. You'll also be responsible for other management duties, such as maintaining environmental and biosecurity standards, meeting production targets, running a sustainable business, and maintaining high levels of health and safety on the site. In addition, you'll also need to have a sufficient overview of the whole operation to carry out tasks usually assigned to other staff members if they're not available. 

Depending on the size of the business, your working hours may vary, and you might need to work shifts and weekends. 

You will probably need to have your own transport to get to work. Housing may also be provided to farm managers by your employer. 

As a farm manager in the poultry sector, your responsibilities might include: 

  • Meeting high environmental and ​​biosecurity standards 
  • Making sure birds are healthy and well looked after by meeting their daily needs  
  • Following recognised procedures to keep birds in the best possible health 
  • Making sure the farm meets its production targets  
  • Helping the manager satisfy farm assurance schemes by meeting industry standards  
  • Being a good example of best practice for less experienced staff 
  • Completing tasks given to you by your manager, including any management tasks 
  • Recruiting, training, and developing farm/unit employees 
  • Working safely and making sure all staff, visitors, and contractors work safely 
  • Making sure personal protective equipment (PPE) is kept clean and in good condition 
  • Rectifying any breakdowns and recording/responding to all incidents 
  • Keeping​​ accurate records of all required data and correctly storing necessary documentation 

Depending on the type of birds you're working with, there may be some specialised responsibilities. Modern poultry units often focus on specific areas, such as breeding, rearing, growing, or egg production. A breakdown of more specific competencies within each role can be downloaded in our Capability Framework.

To work as a farm manager in the poultry sector, you should:

  • Have a keen interest in poultry and bird welfare 
  • Be able to spot and report problems 
  • Have the ability to work well in a team or under your initiative 
  • Be able to manage more than one task when working to deadlines 
  • Have a high level of motivation, with the ability to motivate others 
  • Be able to communicate and listen well to others 
  • Have a reliable and positive attitude to work 

You don’t necessarily need a formal qualification to become a farm manager working with poultry. However, you’ll need to complete the relevant British Poultry Training Initiative courses and have some experience working with poultry.

As you progress through the poultry sector, you should receive relevant training, which should cover areas such as biosecurity, bird health and welfare, health and safety, the environment, and other areas relevant to your role. 

Or you could study a related subject at college for a good understanding of the agri-food industry. See the qualifications and training section below.  

There are also apprenticeship opportunities (also below) where you can earn and learn at the same time. 

You can also gain experience by volunteering on a farm or smallholding. 

If you live in a city or urban area, you could volunteer on a local city farm, community garden, or allotment. You can find some of these in your area on the Social Farms and Gardens website

It’s also helpful to have a basic knowledge of poultry diseases and health issues and how to help prevent them​. ​ 

As a farm manager, you’ll have the following competencies supporting the farm manager to reach high welfare standards and productivity. 

You will:  

  • Meet high environmental and ​​biosecurity standards 
  • Make sure birds are healthy and well looked after by meeting their daily needs  
  • Follow recognised procedures to keep birds in the best possible health 
  • Make sure the farm meets its production targets  
  • Satisfy farm assurance schemes by meeting industry standards  
  • Be a good example of best practice for less experienced staff 
  • Recruit, train, and develop farm/unit employees 
  • Work safely and make sure all staff, visitors, and contractors work safely 
  • Ensure all personal protective equipment (PPE) is kept clean and in good condition 
  • Rectify any breakdowns and record/respond to all incidents  
  • Keep accurate records of all required data and correctly store necessary documentation 

Salaries are in the region of £25,000 to £45,000. This wide range depends on your experience, the size of the poultry unit, and its location.  

This is usually a full-time position.

With further experience and training, you could become a farm manager on a larger mixed farm, or you could choose to explore other poultry-related roles, such as those in feed sales, nutrition, consultancy, or as a health assessor.

If you work on a farm that produces eggs, you could decide to work with birds bred for meat. Or you could look for experience working in different farming systems, such as free range or barn systems.  

Courses which can help you on this career path include:

Level 1 Diploma in Land-based Studies Agriculture  

Level 2 Diploma in Work-based Agriculture  

Level 3 Diploma in Work-based Agriculture  


Apprenticeship Poultry Worker Level 2  

Apprenticeship Poultry Technician Level 3 

TIAH Essential Skills

Our online Essential Skills modules can help you develop your skills and knowledge in a range of areas and are a great addition to your CV.

Anyone considering working as a farm manager in the poultry sector would find our Animal Health and WelfareBiosecurityCoaching for Staff Retention, and Foundations in Farm Safety courses helpful.

You can find out more about life as a farm manager in the poultry sector by listening to Ben Eagle's Meet the Farmers podcast, episode 150.

Return to our job profiles page for more exciting roles in farming and growing.