The chicken is the most important link in our production process. As a consumer of our egg products, you consider the quality of the product extremely important. It’s for that reason that we see quality as inextricably linked to a chicken's living conditions because our reasoning is: "A chicken in good living conditions lays eggs of good quality".
To create healthy living conditions for the chicken, poultry farms must adhere to a range of conditions that apply throughout the European Union. All eggs in Belgium destined for consumption come from chickens that live in one of the four possible husbandry systems. Each husbandry system is characterised by a specific code printed on the egg or on the packaging:
- Code 0: eggs from organic hens
- Code 1: eggs from free range hens
- Code 2: eggs from barn hens
- Code 3: eggs from hens in furnished cages.
Every type of husbandry system is accepted by the European Union as good living conditions for chickens
The chickens live in large cages which are all fitted with a free-range area, laying nest and feed and drink facilities. A cage may contain a maximum of 60 chickens, and every chicken has a minimum roaming area of 750cm².
Barn hens always stay inside the barn, but they are all free to roam around. There is a mix of litter and feed sprinkled on the floor which the chickens can peck and scratch as much as they like and there are perches at various levels. A barn hen has a minimum space of 1,100cm².
In this husbandry system, the chickens can also go outside to peck and scratch. During daylight hours they prefer to walk around in the outside air, but at sunset they usually go back inside of their own accord. In addition to the feed they get from the farmer, they also eat grass, worms and caterpillars when they go outside to peck and scratch. In the indoor housing, the chicken has a minimum space of 1,100cm². At least 4m² space per chicken is provided outside in the pasture.
Like free range hens, organic hens also walk around freely in the outside air. They are provided with a space in the indoor housing of at least 1,660cm² and 4m² outside. This husbandry system is the closest facsimile of the lifestyle experienced by chickens living freely in nature.