HistoryDevonshire Poultry was established by Robert Lanning in 1991 and became a limited company in 2001. But its origins go back much further than that, to the time when Robert was a seven-year-old boy and his parents – not from a farming background – allowed him to keep three bantam chickens. Although the bantams were eventually taken by a fox, Robert’s interest in poultry had been sparked.

Over the next 10 years, he expanded to owning 200 free range laying hens in movable chicken houses. Robert would pack the eggs into panniers on his bicycle and pedal around the local villages, selling as he went. He saved hard as he had ambitious plans for the future.

To gain wider experience and more working capital, he worked at a hatchery, breeder farm, poultry house fitting company and several broiler farms before successfully renting his first farm.

After 2 years he was able to buy his first farm, a property on the edge of Dartmoor. By now, with his wife Jacqui helping, the business was thriving.  In 2000, Robert sold the original farm and moved to Little Westcott where he and his family live today.

Robert has since bought or rented  farms in Dunkeswell, Kentisbeare, Chard, Sherborne and Yeovil, taking the company to a total of six farms. The business goes from strength to strength.

Photographs by www.rachelpalmer.co.uk