The couple behind The Wee Broon Hens in Ochiltree are upping sticks in a bid to accelerate their business and take it to the next level after a successful year of trade.

Gordon and Maria Atkinson-Ligat are first generation farmers whose egg-delivery business thrived during lockdown as residents sought fresh, local produce over supermarket-bought goods.

The husband and wife, originally of Muirkirk and Newmilns, have now made the dramatic move of selling their house to “push on” with their passion and continue serving Ochiltree and surrounding areas.

Cumnock Chronicle:

Maria, 28, told the Chronicle: “Gordon and I met seven years ago. Neither of us are from farming backgrounds. I was working on the poultry farm where he was the manager. I started as a weekend person but quickly progress in the job, then we started going out.

“We wanted to do it for ourselves but the farm we were working on had 100,000 birds so it was impossible for us to do what most farmers do as we weren’t born into it and had no ground.

“We purchased a shed on Gumtree and started doing doorstep deliveries of eggs. We slowly built up our customer base then when the pandemic started, things went mental overnight, in a good way. We woke up and the phone was blowing up with people wanting eggs. We weren’t expecting it.

“Within six weeks we told my dad that we’d ordered 500 hens and wanted to build a shed. He thought we were joking but we said no, it’s coming in six weeks. We built the shed that we’ve got now and are currently at 700 hens.”

Cumnock Chronicle:

Although the couple admit their lifestyle is “hectic” as they balance working on a dairy farm and milking cows at 3am with morning drop-offs, they hope to take on more staff in future so that they are not working completely alone.

Maria continued: “We decided to sell the house. We thought sod it, we don’t need it. Hopefully we can now get our heads down and keep working hard. Our plan is to buy a smallholding in the next year or two to produce more and sell to directors.

“It would be nice to stay in Ayrshire so we’ll see how it pans out. We want to employ people, too, and to be producing our own produce. That’s our goal as people care more about where their food comes from now.”

For more, visit The Wee Broon Hens on Facebook.