The Black Rock hen is our favoured bird for free range egg production whether on a commercial or smallholder / garden scale.
In recent years we have added other breeds to our egg laying flock to give our customers a choice of egg colours - You might find dark eggs from our Marans and Welsumers; White eggs from the Leghorns and even blue eggs from our Araucanas or Cream Legbars.
You can buy our eggs directly from us. We do not sell chicken meat as we are not equipped with the significant slaughterhouse facilities that are required for on farm processing and there are no poultry handling slaughterhouses close enough.
Free range is the preferred management method for probably the majority of small poultry keepers in the UK.
It is not without potential problems and stresses for the birds.
If you are interested in setting up a flock of laying birds we can help you with the housing and equipment and advice on what you need for your situation. We have been helping customers all around the country for decades so have lots of expertise for many scenarios. We know that there are many factors to be taken into account and that one size or model does not fit all.
You must remember that if you are selling your eggs you need to make sure you conform to all the requirements by the Egg Inspectorate as well as all food safety requirements." - to find out more from DEFRA CLICK HERE. You must be registered if you sell any eggs to a customer who is going to sell on the product - that includes Bed and breakfasts; Hotels ; Restaurants ; Bakers - however small they are. Eggs are the best food in the world, but they are also potentially one of the most dangerous in food safety terms if you do not how to handle them correctly. And if you are not selling to the consumer, you have broken a link in the food chain.
15% of eggs produced in the UK are from registered free range producers - government statistics do not include most small producers with under 350 laying hens.
This year I will be bringing together more of the information you need to know to keep within the law for keeping and selling eggs, and meat. This have changed a bit in recent years.
We conform to all the regulations and exceed most, including:
Free-range systems provide outdoor space for roaming in addition to an indoor shelter. : ALL OUR BIRDS ARE IN MOBILE HOUSES THAT ARE MOVED EVERY 6-8 WEEKS depending on weather and ground use
EU law imposes an outdoor maximum stocking density of one hen per 10m2. From 1 January 2002, all newly built, rebuilt or systems brought into use for the first time must have an indoor stocking density not exceeding 9 hens per m2 usable area : OUR BIRDS HAVE FREE UNFENCED ACCESS TO PADDOCKS OF BETWEEN 4 - 10 ACRES - ON AVERAGE THE FLOCK IS AROUND 300 BIRDS. As one acre is just under 5000 m2 you can see they have plenty of space.
Every free-range flock needs to be moved to new land at least every two years because the droppings cannot be removed. This is one of the reasons for higher production costs here : OURS ARE MOVED EVERY FEW WEEKS!!
I have a lot of information to add to these pages this year - please come back soon to see what I find.
FREE RANGE EGG LINKS
Software and lots more links
British Free Range Egg Producers Association - lots of facts - how to start commercially etc.
A very good selection of articles on problems and practicalities of free range production
Tim and Jill Bowis
Kintaline Mill Farm,
Benderloch, OBAN Argyll PA37 1QS Scotland
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