Agriculture worker

A catcher in the poultry industry catches birds so they can be moved, transported or get treatment.

This may happen several times between different production stages and farms. Birds will be in groups and free to move around before loading.

Catchers must be able to move calmly and quickly to catch the birds using careful and specific handling techniques to minimise stress and ensure the animals are not harmed. Once caught, the birds are placed in special containers before transportation or treatment with vaccine.

A catcher could work in various types of farms and systems, dealing with breeding poultry birds, with layers producing eggs for the food chain or with birds bred for meat.

Working Conditions 

Catchers will generally work at least 39 hours a week, but this may be in the form of shifts. Early mornings, evenings and weekend work are all common. There are also opportunities for part-time and casual work.

Most Catchers work inside where birds are grouped and ready to be moved.



Salaries vary with experience, qualifications and between companies, but here's a guide to what you can expect.

Starting salary:


Ending Salary:



Getting started

To work in the poultry industry you should be able to handle and work closely with birds. New entrants would be given training to a standard set by the British Poultry Training Initiative.

What experienced workers can do

  • Prepare transport for livestock
  • Assist with the selection of livestock
  • Handle and restrain livestock
  • Assist with preparing livestock for transfer
  • Load and unload livestock
  • Maintain site bio-security.

Personal qualities you should have

  • Work on own initiative
  • Work in a team or with others
  • Self-motivated
  • Flexible
  • Able to solve problems.

Next steps

Some large poultry employers employ their own catchers but most use professional independent catching teams. Due to the size and structure of the Poultry Industry there are many opportunities to progress and move between farms and companies.

Industry links

My world of work

National Farmers Union Scotland

Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service

Scottish Crofting Federation

Scottish Machinery Rings

Scottish Tenant Farmers Association

Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs