Hen Welfare

All our hens are housed in mobile houses that can be moved to fresh ground during their laying life. We bed the hens on straw that is turned and changed regularly – all houses have perches and nest boxes. Our smallest house houses 100 hens and our largest 300.

alpacas4

       Trusty fox patrol

We open up the houses at around 7 in the morning and always close them up securely at night. Although the hens are behind electric fences, just one rogue fox can cause a lot of damage. We also have 2 alpacas that help keep foxes at bay.

 

Free Range Hens

       Free Ranging Mobies

 

We give the hens ample access to good quality pasture and a daily portion of extra wheat as a scratch feed.  They have constant access to layers pellets to ensure they have adequate proteins, vitamins and minerals to ensure optimum health and  poultry grit to ensure good quality eggshells.

We select breeds that are hardy and adapt well to our environment. Our young hens, or pullets, start to lay at 18 weeks old and we spend the first week or two training them to lay in nest boxes. We use ‘roll away’ nest boxes so the eggs ‘roll away’ from the hen into a collecting area – this helps to keep the eggs clean and helps control broodiness. To start with we straw up the nest boxes to entice the young birds in – they like to lay in dark, cosy corners – once they get used to laying in there they don’t seem to mind the straw being taken away. The young hens really get into their laying stride at about 24 weeks old and will lay nearly an egg a day until their first moult at around 52 weeks after starting laying. She will start by laying small eggs that will get larger throughout the laying year. A hen will last, commercially for one laying year, possibly two before she becomes commercially unviable. Because hens can live for years and years we sell them on to people who would like a few in their garden/ smallholding.