A major egg producer in North Yorkshire has invested a six-figure sum to benefit the welfare of its hens.
James Potter Yorkshire Free Range Eggs has invested in the region of £500,000 on a new state-of-the-art poultry shed and equipment to maintain the welfare levels of its hens.
The shed, which is set to be in operation by Wednesday, will encompass the latest developments in poultry housing. This includes a multi-tier structure which has been developed by observation of bird behaviour, and will, business owner James Potter said, allow the hens to express the same natural behaviour that they would in the wild.
When the hens are not inside the new shed, they will have access to a range with specially planted trees and vegetation to encourage natural foraging.
Mr Potter said: “Consumers’ demand for food from high welfare and trusted sources is increasing year on year and we have always prided ourselves on adhering to these principles in our farming.”
In 2013, the brand was awarded a Good Farm Animal Welfare Award by Compassion in World Farming, in recognition of its continuing dedication to farm animal welfare.
Mr Potter added: “This investment ensures that we stay ahead of the game in terms of hen welfare and continue leading the way in free range egg production.”
The Potter family has been farming hens in Yorkshire for three generations.
It was Mr Potter’s grandfather George Potter who first got involved with poultry. In the 1920s he would often win top prize’s with his Rhode Island Red and Light Sussex hens in the National Laying Trials.
Later, Mr Potter’s mother Susan bought 200 hens in order to have a supply of fresh free range eggs. Today, the family’s two farms are set in the Vale of York and it supplies eggs to Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s stores across Yorkshire.