There are two reasons why we have poultry; to clean and fertilise the fields whilst they rotate around 300 acres of the farm and to provide wonderful tasting birds and eggs. Our free-range chickens are ready for the table in 100 days, unlike the fast growing commercial breeds, which are forced to ‘mature’ in only 39 days.
The secret to good free-range poultry is for them to spend most of their time outside getting around 30% of their food from grass and insects naturally. We have developed a system, which ensures our poultry spend most of their days outside, unlike many so-called “free range” systems where the birds hardly ever go outdoors. Our chickens are kept in very low-density houses, which are open on to the ground and are moved on to fresh grass every week. None of our poultry are caged in any way and are free to roam happily across our fields.
The breeds we use were developed in France for the outdoor Labelle Rouge market. After extensive testing we selected the one breed that we believe produce the best meat. As with our other poultry, they spend their entire daytime outside on our pastures.
Our pure bred French hens each lay approximately 180 eggs per year, where as a conventional hybrid hen will lay over 320 per year. A hen’s diet has a major influence on the nutritional value of the eggs produced. A good diet of whole grains, fresh pastures and all the worms and insects they can find creates eggs with an Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acid ratio of close to 1:1. Most commercially produced battery eggs have a ratio of approximately 16:1.
These are reared free range, organic and spend their days out doors enjoying the herbs, grass and insects on the 15 hectares that they roam on.