14,000 chickens live at Cornhill! They are originally a Columbian Blacktail breed, now known as the British Blacktail, which is an exclusive breed to Waitrose, whom we produce eggs for. Our hens do not lay as well as some other breeds, but they are more hardy to our inclement weather and are very good at ranging away from the house. When the chickens leave us at 72 weeks old, we move the shed down the field, washing and disinfecting it, ready for the next flock of pullets.
Our chickens live in purpose built houses, 3 of which we designed and made ourselves at Cornhill. Two thirds of the house is raised a metre off the ground on slats where they feed, drink, socialise and have access to the nest boxes where they lay their eggs.
The remaining third of the shed is floor level scratching area, where the chickens can scratch in the dirt under cover. We provide them a dry woodchip bedding, which they can dust bath in all year round, which is especially useful in the winter when it’s wet outside.
Free Range Eggs: our hens have a normal life with feed and water in constant ad-lib supply, and full access to grass fields to range, roam, scratch, dust bath and behave like every chicken should. The big benefit you’ll see is the taste of the eggs and the deep colour of the yolk – that comes from happy hens, eating worms and grubs from the fields.
We are a Waitrose egg producer: Waitrose work closely with us and the other farmers who supply their eggs to ensure the highest standards of farming are maintained. We have regular audits from Waitrose, the RSPCA Freedom Foods department, and the BEIC (British Egg Industry Council) to keep us on our toes, producing the best quality eggs for our customers.