Enhancing Animal Welfare
The Lakes Free Range Egg Company is committed to our ethos of leading-edge animal welfare and environmental sustainability.
Our producer farms mainly have small flocks of around 10-11,000 birds and are members of the animal welfare organization RSPCA Assured – they are annually audited. Unannounced RSPCA audits are also carried out on a random basis. Our In-house advisors also support our producers with advice on management and welfare issues and provide regular training.
Our code of practice is further advanced than any other standards, allowing us to work with customers also aligned to exacting welfare benchmarks like Sainsbury’s and McDonald’s with their strict ‘McDonald’s Agricultural Assurance Programme’ (MAAP)
Improving animal welfare and the environment go hand in hand
Planting native trees and shrubs provides excellent cover for free-range hens, nurturing them to roam more freely outdoors and encouraging natural behaviour like dust bathing, flying and perching in trees or taking cover under the canopy. “We believe enriched ranges improve animal welfare and enhance production”
As industry pioneers, we were the first to enrich ranges with tree planting and remain the only packer demanding all producers have bespoke biodiversity action plans which include 20% range enrichment. Our producers have on average, 2000 trees/shrubs providing excellent cover for their flocks.
International published research on animal welfare
The Lakes Free Range Egg Company participated in internationally published research conducted by the Food Animal Initiative (FAI) and commissioned by McDonald’s UK. It shows that planting more trees on ranges encourages laying hens to roam more freely, which in turn reduces the amount of feather pecking and stress levels in the flock. This exciting piece of work will encourage roll out tree planting across UK free-range flocks and greatly increase bird welfare on free-range systems.
Laying Hen Welfare Forum (LHWF) Always looking at ways to improve animal welfare, David Brass is a member of the LHWF, working on non-beak trimming protocols and advising Ministers and DEFRA. This involves regular meetings in London, European studies and briefing tours.
Revolutionising chick rearing
Innovation in animal welfare continues with our latest project – a state of the art new rearing facility built with the aim of producing more active pullets that are less likely to feather peck, are better feathered, with improved bone strength and more mobility. Find out more about the new rearing facility by clicking here
“Rearing our own chicks means we have better control and can influence the development of our free-range hens from day one.”