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Farmer Brown is the first egg producer in New Zealand to offer Colony laid eggs to New Zealand shoppers throughout the country. At the same time, the company has also launched a Free Range option to provide consumers with access to a full range of quality eggs.
Colony is an improved caged housing system which gives hens more space and increased ability to behave naturally and do the things hens love to do – nesting, scratching, perching and stretching their wings. It has been scientifically evaluated by New Zealand's National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), as meeting the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act along with Barn and Free Range systems.
The Animal Welfare (Layer Hens) Code of Welfare 2012, specifies that conventional cages are to be phased out by the end of 2022. They are to be replaced by Colony, Barn or Free Range housing which allows hens to express a range of normal behaviours.
Colonies provide a minimum 750 square cm per bird, and like an 'open plan' home, the hens have access to the full area with room to move and interact socially with other hens. They also have freedom of access to reserved areas for nesting, where most hens will lay their eggs each morning.
General manager of Farmer Brown, Hamish Sutherland, says Colony laid eggs meet quality and welfare requirements whilst remaining good value, which helps maintain the affordability of eggs for all New Zealand consumers.
"We made a deliberate decision to lead the way with Colonies during this phase in period rather than wait until the deadlines. Not everyone has the ability to buy Free Range eggs so providing more choice for consumers, with more welfare-friendly and sustainable options, is an incredibly positive step.
"We are mindful that today standard Cage eggs comprise over 75% of supermarket egg sales so economics remain a key driver for consumers purchasing eggs. Cage eggs are currently New Zealanders' favourite affordable protein, and they remain an excellent nutritional choice for families.
"Farmer Brown are New Zealand's best-selling eggs so it seemed right to be the first to offer New Zealand shoppers a complete range of quality eggs including the new Colony laid and Free Range options."