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Hens finding shade from the sun

Organic Eggs

Organic poultry must be reared in open-range conditions and cannot be kept in cages. The following conditions apply:

Mixed Colour EggsStocking density:

  • 6 hens per m 2
  • no more than 3,000 birds per house


  • structures with their own dedicated grazing, air space, ventilation, feed and water


  • natural light may be supplemented by artificial means to provide a maximum of 16 hours light per day with a continuous nocturnal rest period without artificial light of at least 8 hours


  • at least one nest for every 8 hens or
  • at least 120cm 2 /bird of group nest space


  • at least 18 centimetres of perch space for each hen


  • at least one third of floor space shall be solid and covered with a litter material such as straw, wood shavings, sand or turf
  • a sufficiently large part of the floor area available to the hens must be available for the collection of bird droppings

Pop holes:

  • pop-holes of a size adequate for the birds
  • a combined length of at least 4m per 100m_ area of the house available to the birds
  • several pop holes giving direct access to the outer area


  • access to an open-air run whenever the weather conditions permit
  • access for at least one third of their life
  • mainly covered with vegetation
  • the maximum external stocking density is not greater than 4m 2 in rotation/bird, provided that the limit of 170kg of N/ha/yr is not exceeded
  • birds must be provided with protective facilities
  • adequate numbers of drinking and feeding troughs

In the UK to produce organic eggs you must be registered with one of the appointed UK organic certification bodies. For further information telephone Defra on 0207 238 5605. Alternatively, you can get a list of UK organic certification bodies and their contact details on the Defra website.

Chickens on an Outside Perch
Hybrid Chickens foraging free range
Lone Chicken with Mirror for company
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