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 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, we move the hens onto fresh ground every year, this is obviously impossible in a large static house.
Most children on their sixth birthday don’t ask for hens but that’s Harry for you.
At the age of six Harry set up an honesty box in the farmhouse porch selling the eggs he didn’t eat for his breakfast.
The ethics that Harry started with as a six year old haven’t changed over the years.
The hens still live in small colonies way below the regulatory level.
Fewer hens in a shed increases costs but puts less stress on the hens and ensures free and easy access to their organic pastures and nesting boxes.
- 1986 Harry was born
- 1992 Harry Sixth Birthday where he asked for some hens
- 1994 Harry won at Lowther Show with a Bantam Cockerel
- 1995 Harry moved his hens out of a brick stable into a purpose built mobile wooden hen house capable of holding 100 hens
- 1999 The farm started its conversion to Organic due to Harry’s concern about the contamination of conventional hen food with GM ingredients
- 2001 The Farm finished its conversion and was certified organic
- 2002 Harry Won an award for the taste of his eggs
- 2005 Harry went to Agricultural college to study
- 2009 Harry returned to the farm full time after working for Mitsubishi Cars for a year
Harry’s hens are happy hens, because they are 100% organic, 100% free range, in smaller colonies, and actually go outside!
“Harry Hodgson’s Free Range Organic Eggs are in a class of their own and we seldom buy eggs from anywhere else. We run a bed and breakfast business here and many of the customers comment on the quality of Harry’s Eggs. Quite recently my wife Caroline was preparing breakfast for some customers, the first two eggs were double yokers and the third was a triple yoker which neither of us have ever before experienced. Harry’s eggs are the best!”
“A job well done, I first met Harry in the very early days of the shop opening. We must have looked old to this eager young boy, never the less he came forward, smile on his face, and went into every detail of organic eggs and chicken. He answered all our questions with great charm and still for one so young. We were enchanted with this lad. I ordered eggs and chicken for the following week and have been eating Harry’s perfect eggs ever since, no others have passed my lips. He always has time for an awkward old lady of ninety years, may he and his perfect Harrys eggs continue long, I eat no others, again may they continue ever long. Thank you Harry and eggs.”