At Rosedown Eggs we have a flock of 14,000 laying hens, increasing to 20,000 with the addition of our second free-range house in June 2007. We farm High Sex Bovans as we find they are an ideal breed for ranging freely, and produce high quality large eggs with strong shells. All of our hens are vaccinated against salmonella at 12 weeks and again at 16 weeks.
Our new free-range houses comply with stricter regulations than existing houses. We stock fewer hens per square metre to allow them more room to roam within the house. Within the main house the hens walk on plastic slats which allows air to circulate around them. The droppings then fall to the floor below keeping the slats clean. The hens are fed on a belt system which is raised off the ground, ensuring the food stays clean. The food is topped up at regular intervals during the day which keeps it fresh at all times.
The hens leave the main house via the scratch area which is a third of the total size of the house. This area is for the hens to scratch naturally under cover. We change the area regularly to keep it clean and interesting for the hens, alternating between sand, wood chips and wood shavings.
The hens leave the house through pop holes. They are then free to roam over the fields and hedgerows. Shelters placed around the fields give cover from wind, rain or hot weather.
The eggs are laid on comfortable mats in nest boxes. To keep the eggs clean the mats are angled so the eggs roll away from the hen once laid.
The eggs are collected by hand, and then graded according to weight before passing through the candling booth. This shines a light through the eggs to detect any cracks and imperfections, such as blood spots. Imperfect eggs are then removed and do not enter the food chain. The eggs are packed from the grader by hand.
We comply with all DEFRA regulations and have regular unscheduled visits from the DEFRA inspector. We also have regular animal welfare and hygiene inspections.
We are members of Taste of the West and you can also find our details in the Food Finder directory.