Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 617

4 1 22 SEPTEMBER 2022 Food&Drink higher welfare Hens at the Andrews’ farm (left), which produces free range Essential Waitrose eggs (below left); Yvonne Andrew at work (far left and below) “One of the nicest times of the day for me is when I let the hens out in themorning,” says Yvonne Andrew. “I go down there to the sheds at about nine, and they’ll bemaking a noise already, keen to get outside. I open the popholes, and they all come jumping out and o they go, running down the range. It’s really nice to see. “The hens come to us when they’re about 16 weeks old, almost ready to lay, and usually we’ll keep them in for a few weeks, while they get used to everything. You have to show themhow to go to bed at night, putting themup on their little perches, and get themused to laying their eggs in the nest boxes eachmorning. Because of the avian flu epidemic, we had to keep this flock indoors for longer, so they took a while to adjust to going out, but now they love it. “Once the popholes are open, they’re free to go in and out as they want to. They’ve got a lovely range with trees and hedges, and they please themselves, really. They can wander back into the sheds if they want food or a drink, or they mooch about, pecking around and sitting in the shade of the trees. “On a warmday, the hens will sun themselves, but they don’t like it too hot – a cool, cloudy day is what they prefer. The sheds are nice and roomy, with plenty of ventilation, so if they’re not keen on the weather, they’ll stay indoors. Towards the end of the day, the last feed goes into the hoppers and when they hear that, they’ll start wandering back to the sheds. We close the popholes, then they’re safe for the night. “SupplyingWaitrose eggs means working to high welfare standards, and we’d want to do that anyway. If you look after your birds, they’ll look after you and produce good, tasty eggs.” ‘On a warmday, the hens will sun themselves, but they don’t like it too hot – a cool, cloudy day is what they prefer’ ‘They all come jumping out and off they go’ Yvonne and Peter Andrew supply Essential Waitrose free range eggs from their family farm inmid-Wales, where the hens are at liberty to roamduring the day Our QR codes will take you to inspiring recipes, such as this poached egg and avocado on toast