Noble Foods has been selling eggs since 1920, and today own a number of egg brands in the UK and US. After nearly a century in the industry, collecting eggs at over 450 farms each week, from the Highlands of Scotland to Cornwall, the company knows it stuff when it comes to eggs – and hens. With this in mind, Noble foods introduced The Happy Egg Company in 2009, a company focused upon making happy eggs by keeping happy hens.
The Happy Egg company makes sure that every part of how they operate serves to increase or maintain the welfare of their birds. Only farms with enough acres of varying habitat to allow their hens to roam freely, and only farmers who can be ready twenty four hours a day to attend to the birds, are considered fit for producing Happy Eggs. Ten percent of each farm must be made up of forested or wooded areas, and retaining undergrowth and wild habitats is encouraged, as hens naturally like to peck and forage through differing environments.
Using research conducted at the University of Bristol, which found domesticated hens to be in many ways more intelligent than previously thought, the Happy Egg Company devised Activity Kits to stimulate the birds’minds. These are placed at points across their farms, encouraging them to interact, perch, peck and shelter. Specially-designed dustbaths are also placed across farms for Happy Egg hens to clean themselves. As they naturally roll in dust and sand to clean their feathers, the company leaves them to take care of themselves, thereby reducing stress and increasing welfare.
By utilising both recent research and Noble Food’s long heritage in hen farming, The Happy Eggs Co. creates an optimum environment for ethical egg production. Their hens lay, on average, one egg every twenty-six hours – in private, indoor nesting boxes, giving the birds a stress-free place to lay. The company has even place picture of cockerels near points on the farms where the birds congregate, as research has found that the presence of a cockerel among a group of hens lowers anxious and aggressive behaviour. More information about Happy Egg’s ‘Nice Pecks’campaign at http://thehappyegg.co.uk/our-news/campaigns#campaigns.
Through the Happy Egg Company, Noble Foods takes free-range farming to a level far beyond most free-range farmers. Unlike many, Happy Egg hens are given totally free roam, are stimulated in their environment, and are given the consideration and privacy need to lay eggs without stress or pressure. All this means that Noble Foods can fulfill its goal to produce not only the best quality eggs but also the most ethical. Ensuring hen welfare means happy hens, and it certainly seems the happiest hens lay the happiest eggs!