While we’re famous for our chicken eggs, don’t think they’re the only birds on our farms. We firmly believe that variety is the spice of life, so we also have flocks of laying quails, ducks and geese. Therefore when it comes to ordering eggs don’t get chicken vision, eggsperiment!
All our flocks are relatively small in today’s commercial free range industry. We feel that compromises have to be made if bird numbers increase beyond a certain number. As producers and packers we choose to keep most of our flocks around 6,000 birds, this enables better management of the birds and the grass range.
With flocks in Norfolk and Suffolk we can supply a locally produced egg to three counties. It also makes good economic and environmental sense to deliver graded, packed eggs to each area and then pick eggs up from farms to bring back for grading. The geographical spread of flocks also minimises the risk of diseases such as bird flu affecting our supply base.
Our chicken coops have pop holes, giving the hens access to feed and water at all times and allowing them to range in the fields all day. These pop holes close at night to protect the flocks from predation. Birds are actively encouraged to range and express their natural behaviour.
All chickens are purchased at 16 weeks old from reputable rearers who adhere to strict welfare and hygiene policies undertaken to Havensfield Standards. Birds are vaccinated against common poultry diseases and salmonella before being delivered. All sites undergo a full clean-and-disinfect program and allowed to rest prior to delivery of new birds.
We carefully select breeds that suit free range systems. Whilst they may not be the most prolific layers they do ensure good quality eggs throughout their lifetime. It is also important to recognise that nutrition plays a key role in bird welfare and sustainability. They are very different in their management and extremely good in our relatively small flocks. A fieldsman employed by the pullet company advises and helps program each new batch of pullets giving us information regarding performance in rearing and any changes in genetics.