Airdrie Farm, near Dumfries in the south west of Scotland, is home to hen-lovers Semple Kelly and Emily Davidson. They’re passionate about maintaining the high standards needed to run a true free-range farm. Welfare starts at the very beginning of the production process – they put a lot of consideration into the siting of the poultry houses, for example, positioning them on free-draining, south facing pasture, to minimise build-up of bugs and diseases.
Like all our suppliers, Airdrie Farm passes a number of rigorous audits (often unannounced) throughout the year. “These audits are crucial to help enable us to maintain a high standard of bird welfare on our farm and we are proud to be part of an industry that focuses strongly in the welfare of free range birds,” says Emily.
Outside the poultry houses, trees are planted to provide shelter and to encourage the bees and butterflies to visit. The hens also enjoy spectacular views, looking out on the Solway Firth and over into the Lake District. Alpacas mingle with the hens and help to scare away foxes.
The insides of the poultry houses have been similarly well thought through. They’re designed to allow the hens to move freely and easily around the sheds with easy access to feed and water at all times. The temperatures are constantly monitored to ensure the hens are kept cosy and free from draughts.
And these hens are never bored, either! With trees, hedgerows, footballs, music and pecking blocks, as well as many other little toys and bells that swing on strings, they spend hours happily playing in them. The result of all this contentment is plain to see in the Airdrie Farm eggs.
“Our hens prove to us that they enjoy their lives…they produce a beautiful brown shelled egg, with a dazzling golden yolk, on a daily basis,” concludes Semple.
And their favourite way to enjoy their tasty, healthy Scottish eggs? “That’s easy,” they say… “poached on toast”!