Harry Hodgson wanted hens for his sixth birthday, and hens he got! Since then, Harry's hens have been producing eggs, which, since around 1998, are 100% organic.
Harry was the driving force behind persuading his parents to convert the farm to Organic production. It started when he received a letter telling him that his hen food was no longer guaranteed not to contain any GM ingredients, and after shopping around he realised the only way he could guarantee this was to buy Organic hen food.
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 because its significantly difficult for them, imagine trying to make your way through a crowd of 45,000 people to get out a door, its not very easy!! This does however dramatically reduce the costs of production as the hens eat less food as they aren't running about outdoors, as a result many hens which are labelled free range despite having access to the outside 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.
The farm is a 300 acre farm, which is farmed completely organically. On the farm we produce beef from Aberdeen angus cattle, pork from a Landrace Duroc pig, famous for its tasty tender pork and lamb from our flock of mixed sheep including Scottish Black Face, Cheviots and home bred Mules. As well as the hens which produce eggs we also rear table birds. All of the produce mentioned can be bought through our farm shop, we have an onsite butchers where we make all our own burgers, sausages, ham, bacon and cooked meats as well as your classic joints and cuts of meat.
The farm is multi award winning for its high levels of conservation and diversification. We recently won the Silver Lapwing award for conservation in the England category. The farm is part of the Higher Level stewardship scheme and as a result over the years we have planted miles of hedges, field margins and beetle banks. The difference to wildlife has been quite remarkable with the wild bird population having a significant increase in numbers.
On the farm we now have, Skylarks, Grey Partridge, Curlews, Lap Wings, Snipe, Barn Owls, Tawny Owls, Little Owls, Fieldfares, to name but a few.
Harry's hens are happy hens, because they are 100% organic, 100% free range, in smaller colonies, and actually go outside!
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