What is free range?
No animal by-products are used in the feed and no routine antibiotic, growth stimulants or hormones are added. The chicks consume about 150 grams of feed in the first seven days. From day 8, they eat about 40 grams per day, this increases to 190-200 grams of feed per day at an age of 40 days.
The chickens have access to an appropriate wholesome vegetarian grain diet at all times. It is available in sufficient quantities so as to satisfy their diverse and complex nutritional needs. No fish meals or any animal by-products are used in the feed and no routine antibiotic or growth stimulants are added. The chicks consume about 150 grams of feed in the first seven days.
From day 8, they eat about 40 grams per day, and up to 190-200 grams of feed per day at the age of 40 days. Roaming and feeding outside on e.g. grass, supplements this basic food requirement.
Our chickens are housed in 1000 m² chicken sheds alongside the chicken runs, to which they have access to during the day, weather permitting. The sheds are temperature controlled, which is especially important when the chicks are little. When the chicks first arrive the temperature is kept on about 32°C. The lighting is controlled to ensure that they have sufficient rest. We give the chickens a minimum of 8 hours continuous darkness per 24 hour cycle to accommodate for adequate rest. Changes or alterations to the lighting programs can only be done when approved by the Group veterinarian.
When they are between 14–21 days old, we open the hatches to allow them to roam outside at their leisure. Our chickens have access to the outside area for a minimum of 6 hours per day during natural daylight hours. The chickens prefer early morning and late afternoon when the sun is not too bright. If the weather permits, we keep the house open for the whole day during normal daylight hours.
Access to the chicken run is given through doors, gates and pop holes. Where pop holes are used these are provided at the rate of at least 1 pop hole per 700 chickens and are about 100cm wide and 45cm high. A minimum of 50-60% living vegetation is maintained at all times. Outside shade is provided by trees or artificial structures.
Each chicken house has one or two “caretakers”, which stay with the chickens from placement up to slaughter age. They monitor the temperature, build-up of damp areas, adequate ventilation, lighting programs, injuries, outside areas, weights, feed, water and the general health of the chickens. The caretakers report directly to the farm managers.
A group veterinarian monitors and looks after all the health issues of the chickens, as per the strict Free Range Regulations and Best Practices.