Bad Experience with The Sustainable Poultry Network

We’re about 10 months into our two year membership with The Sustainable Poultry Network.  I thought it would be good to go over the reasons we signed up and why we’re walking away.  (BTW, here’s a post regarding a visit by Jim Adkins, the head of SPN )

The Sustainable Poultry Network (hereafter referred to as SPN)  is all about raising and developing heritage poultry and doing it in healthy conditions.  That’s a great hook because it’s what we want to do.  We had some Buff Orpingtons and some Barred Rocks and were ready to step up to a commercial operation.  The operation that we wanted had to be good for the animals though.

One thing that we recognized was that it’s one thing to keep chickens alive, but it takes more knowledge to judge and cull your chickens, as well as other commercial processes.  SPN promised that with our membership we would have two visits a year as well as 50% off training.

The bad news is that we haven’t seen any training that’s been offered at a 50% discount.

We were promised a second visit in October and it never happened.

One of the things that SPN promises is coaching.  The only coaching that happened was when Jim came out to see our flock at 16+ weeks of age.  Our birds were under-weight and Jim pointed out some concerns with the field peas in the feed.  While I learned from Jim while he was here, the wife and I were very frustrated.  We had gone through 16 weeks of raising birds with no direction only to find we had messed up.

Members of SPN operate either as breeders (selling chicks within SPN) or as growers, raising the birds to butcher size.  We had agreed that we were going to sell chicks.  This was discussed with Jim Adkins during his visit last summer.

We haven’t heard anything regarding selling our chicks.

To summarize, we paid $1,500 to become SPN members and we paid $8 a chick (100 minimum order) to get SPN chicks so we could have a certified flock.

We got one visit. and 99 birds.

I’m not going to try to judge the motives of the owners of SPN.  I can say that we didn’t get what was promised.  I can’t recommend this group to anyone.

UPDATE 6/9/2015:
Got an email from Jim today, requesting that I call him. I replied not to contact us. Jim then posted a comment to this article, which I’ve approved and you can read in the comments section. I would like to note that it’s a whole year since we heard from Jim–a full 8 months past the agreed time. As for trying to reach me repeatedly–sorry, Jim. That’s not the truth. My google number hasn’t changed and my emails requesting to be removed from your spam list have been ignored. You haven’t responded to us.

4 thoughts on “Bad Experience with The Sustainable Poultry Network

  1. Pingback: Measuring Delaware Chicken Growth | This Happy Homestead

  2. This is Jim Adkins! Unfortunately SPN has made several attempts to reach out via email and phone calls with no response? In addition the mentoring agreement you signed specifically says that you must initiate the on farm appointments with your coach! We have not heard from you. We care deeply about customer service, it you will contact us we’ll complete our mentorship or refund you accordingly. We look forward to hearing from you.

  3. Too bad so many people are ripped off by this man. Yours is but one of the many, many, many people who have had a bad experience with SPN. A very wise man said to me “Be sure not to drink the Kool-Aid from cousin Jim, you will surely regret it and your wallet will never be the same.” Hopefully, he will soon stop or be stopped!
    There are so many knowledgable farmers and breeders of rare poultry who are more than willing to give advice without a fee. That, is the TRUE farmer’s way. A few recommendations, The Fancy Chick, Fine Fowl Farm, Cedar Crest Farm And Feed, The Fourteen Acres

  4. I am not part of the SPN but I am a sustainable farmer and I have worked with Jim on a few occasions. Jim is very passionate about what he is doing and he is carrying around knowledge in his head that is practically extinct. His project of preserving and refining the top level production genetics that has almost vanished from the earth is tremendously important. What Jim and his affiliates are doing is some very high level and valuable stuff. If you already are seriously working with poultry and want to take your flock(s) to a much higher level, Jim could be a tremendous asset for consulting and for sourcing genetics, and you could be very helpful with furthering access to these precious resources through breeding. If you are being unrealistic and have no experience and will to follow through, consulting with Jim would probably be pretty worthless. Complaining that Jim didn’t come to see your flock until they were 16 weeks is a little suspect too, this type of bird is just maturing at 16 weeks… was he supposed to evaluate a juvenile flock for conformation and culling? I’m commenting on this just because it is coming up as a top google hit for Jim and I think it is unfair and counterproductive. It’s clear that you got in to something that was beyond your skill and gumption level and someone like Jim is not going to hold your hand. This sort of thing is better for people with some real experience who are being very realistic although it could be fine for a beginner but the learning curve is very steep and there are always big setbacks. Jim’s project is helping carry forward the genetics for a return to traditional poultry farming That is a very important project. I am getting ready to order turkey chicks through his network to base a large project on, because his work is actually giving me easy and affordable access to Frank Reese’s standard bronze turkey genetics that are in line with the genetics from the 1930’s. That is an incredible thing and I am very appreciative of it. If you do not understand the significance of that you really should not be making your voice so loud and self assured.

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