Sunny Queen Farms brand has committed to an outdoor hen density of no more than 1500 hens per hectare in their free range egg farms across Australia.
The move means that the brand will comply with the hen density range recommended bythe Model Code of Practice, a document produced by the Primary Industries Standing Committee and published by the CSIRO.
According to the company, the move will make Sunny Queen Farms the only major free range brand that can claim an outdoor density of 1500 hens per hectare.
As Choice points out, several smaller free range egg producers do meet the Model Code of Practice, with some having outdoor hen density of as low as 7 per hectare. However, many producers claiming to be free range have hen density of up to 10,000.
Free Range eggs account for almost 41 per cent share of total eggs in supermarkets, however Sunny Queen Australia MD John O’Hara said consumers may not be getting what they think they are buying.
“There have been a lot of conflicting opinions around different densities and definitions for Free Range. Consumers want more clarity so they know what they are buying,” he said.
O’Hara added that hens at Sunny Queen have access to the outdoors for at least 8 hours a day where they can forage and roam freely.
“We give consumers access to a live webcam at the farms so they can see first-hand the chooks roaming around outside – we call it our Chooktracker,’ he said.