We have called our eggs ethical eggs because we believe we are raising our hens in way that allows them to do all the things that hens love to do. To understand what makes a management system ethical, we believe we need to look at the ability of the hen to express its innate behaviours, to express its true chickeness! We believe there are five main behaviours that make a chicken happy. Hens love to forage. They spend most of their day voraciously scratching for bugs, worms, seeds, anything tasty hiding under the mulch or in the soil. Hens love to dustbathe everyday. The dust helps them keep away any parasites that crawl under their feathers. Hens love to roost. As their wild ancestors came from the jungles of South America, it is no wonder they are happiest high up in a tree or on the top perch. Hens love to sun themselves. As they stretch out one leg and its wing, the excess heat dislodges feather parasites and allows the hen to remove it when preening. Hens will seek out a dark secluded spot to make themselves a nest and lay their eggs.
Our farming system includes mobile sheds that house relatively small flocks. In our eggmobiles there are usually between 800-1500 hens and in the French chalets there are 1700-2000 hens. Because the flocks are small the hens can come and go from the chalet or eggmobile very easily. It is a place for them to sleep and to lay an egg. Sometimes if it rains they go inside. Essentially the hens live outside. The eggmobiles and chalets are moved across the paddock so the impact of the hens on the pasture is reduced. This allows us to rest certain parts of the paddock and also helps to spread the manure and therefore help the grass to grow more vigorously.