For flock's sake

Know the facts about your eggs

It’s worth understanding the difference between organic and free range. Many people choose free range eggs with the best intentions, not realising that organic offers a significantly higher standard of animal welfare – the highest of any farming system.

Freedom to roam

How much outside space are hens given in each system?

"Riverford believe in farming with maximum respect for animals, people and the environment.

They have been awarded a full suite of Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards for their excellent standards of farm animal welfare."

-Compassion in World Farming

Free range isn't all it's cracked up to be

Many so-called 'free range' birds actually spend little time outside.

  • Organic hens must have continuous, easy daytime access to a green outdoor range.
  • Free range includes no requirement about the number of exits from huge sheds. This can leave outdoors access very restricted.
  • Pasture is rested for just 2 months between flocks. Organic pasture is rested for 9 months, letting greenery grow back and keeping the soil clean.

It’s a hen's life

What practices are used in the industry and what systems are they permitted in?

Beak trimming

Caged

Free range

Organic

yes

yes

Never

Most UK hens are beak-trimmed. To stop stressed birds pecking each other, the front third of their beaks are removed using infrared burners – without anaesthetic. This painful mutilation is never permitted on Soil Association organic farms. Instead, hens have lots more space, keeping stress (and pecking) down.

Routine antibiotics

Caged

Free range

Organic

Yes

Yes

Never

40% of all UK antibiotics are given to farm animals, often used to prevent illness in poor conditions. This intensive overuse is contributing to the rise in antibiotic-resistant diseases. Organic only allows antibiotics to treat animals if they do get ill – which, with organic’s higher standards of welfare, is far less often.

GM feed

Caged

Free range

Organic

Yes

Yes

Never

Genetically modified (GM) crops aren’t allowed to be grown in the UK, except in research centres. Despite that, over a million tonnes of GM crops (usually maize and soya) grown abroad are imported to be fed to UK livestock every year, including free range and non-organic hens.

Inside space

How much indoors space are hens given in each system?

Maximum flock size

How many birds can be kept in one flock in each system?

Soil-Association-Logo

Look for the Soil Association organic symbol – it guarantees the best animal welfare.

In an eggshell

UK EGGS BOUGHT

CAGED

%

FREE RANGE

%

ORGANIC

%

Barn eggs are less common than caged and account for just 1.5%

Share this:

Where do Riverford's eggs come from?

Our eggs come from three small-scale organic farmers who go even further than the Soil Association’s rigorous standards to make sure their hens enjoy the best lives possible. One of our farmers is Jerry Saunders of Orchard Farm, Devon.

Jerry’s hens live in small flocks, ranging on rich pastures of grass and clover, with tree cover, shelters, hay bales and sandpits providing a safe, interesting environment for them to explore. In the sheds, there are areas to scratch about, high-up perches, plus hay, grit, and plenty of our organic veg to forage. The result is genuinely happy hens!

Choose organic eggs. Choose Riverford.

Everything Riverford grows, makes and sells is 100% organic, guaranteeing the highest standards of animal welfare, and no artificial nasties.

Choose from a wide selection of seasonal boxes – and top up with organic dairy, drinks, store cupboard staples and more. Delivery is free; no need to be home.

trust badge

Read Next…

Supporting family farms

Less Plastic

The best animal welfare

Our Story

Riverford_Logow

© 2019 Riverford Organic Farmers Ltd