Most of our organic eggs are award-winning Harry Hodgson eggs from Piercebridge Farm in Darlington.
Their whole farm is run organically meaning animal welfare is at the heart of the system and a truly free-range life for farm animals is guaranteed. Genetically modified crops and ingredients are banned.
From an early age Harry realised that it was imperative for all his hens to have access to grass and to roam freely to get a high quality tasty egg. Despite many hens being labelled as “free range”, the only real way to ensure this is to keep the colony sizes small.
For example, if you have 45,000 hens in one hen house, there is no way that all of the hens will leave the house each day because it is far too difficult for them. Imagine trying to make your way through a crowd of 45,000 people to get out a door, it is not very easy!!
This does however dramatically reduce the costs of production as the hens eat less food when they aren’t running about outside. As a result, despite having access to the outside, many hens which are labelled as “free range” will rarely, if ever, go outside.
Harry’s hens are in houses capable of holding no more than 600 hens, this means that all the hens can freely leave the house every morning to hunt for worms and eat the grass and clover from their organic paddock.
All organic hens are classified as free range but by regulation they are only allowed to live in much smaller colonies in houses that must be movable so that every year they can be moved onto a new fresh piece of pasture.
Organic farmers don’t have a wide range of medicines and quick fix solutions to any problems we may incur. So we have to plan and manage all aspects of production in order to prevent any problems. To prevent disease build up, for instance, they move the hens onto fresh ground every year, this is obviously impossible in a large static house.