RSPCA Assured farmer proud of hen welfare standards

RSPCA Assured farmer proud of hen welfare standards

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Wilton Gate House Farm is in the gently rolling fields bordering the North York Moors National Park.

It’s quiet in this part of the world, a rural landscape that has changed little in recent years - at least on the surface.

“I started farming in 1980 when I was still a teenager,” said Andrew Hall, farmer and RSPCA Assured scheme member.

“Back then it was mostly dairy farms and they've all but disappeared now. A lot of farms had to change pretty drastically.”

Andrew knew he needed to be flexible and his 20 years of livestock and arable farm experience - and agriculture and business degree - have come in very handy.

Whilst still farming 160 acres of rented land for arable, cattle and sheep, Andrew also decided to take his farm in a new direction.

“Being part of the Eggsell co-operative and supplying only RSPCA Assured free range eggs, I’ve always had the hens’ welfare right at the heart of the business.
"I believe how you look after your flock impacts on the quality of the eggs."

Andrew Hall, farmer and RSPCA Assured scheme member

The farm paddock area soon became a popular small caravan site and, alongside it, a 6,000-bird free range laying hen shed began to take shape.

Now onto his sixth flock, all carefully reared to RSPCA welfare standards, Andrew’s hens are producing high egg yields in his well-organised and efficiently run unit.

The hens encourage more than a passing interest from holidaymakers at the caravan park, particularly children, who are fascinated to see where free range eggs come from.

He said: “I’m proud of the way we farm here and happy to talk to anyone who's interested, so it’s been a pleasure to have so many visitors in the first few years.

"These include the BBC, filming a programme about the way Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire puds are made!”

So, the next time you eat an Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire pudding, you might be sampling some rather carefully produced eggs, laid in that very county!

In 2015, Andrew won several awards recognising his hard work and high standards.

These include:

Date: 28 Apr 2016