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Free range egg producer digs deep to restore the pastures

Amy Brice

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Increased biodiversity, improved carbon sequestration and the fostering of vital networks of fungi beneath the soil are just some of the far-reaching benefits of The Traditional Free Range Egg Company’s brand new Birds & Herds free range eggs.

Pioneering the incorporation of poultry into the centuries-old practice of mob grazing, the multi award-winning Somerset-based free range egg producer and supplier has put the humble egg at the centre of a story that aims to revitalise the south west’s pastures. Beginning with herds of cattle staying bunched together, chomping and trampling to create a natural mulch, from the outset this system allows the soil to absorb more rainfall and successfully lock carbon away, having an immediate impact upon the local environment, as well as contributing to the welfare of the planet.

When the herds move on, the traditional birds ramble out of their mobile sheds and begin to fertilise the land by scratching through the manure, spreading nutrients and helping to increase biodiversity in every corner of the field, as different grass, plants and wildlife flourish around them. Along the way, the birds enjoy a varied salad bar of vegetation, as well as nutritious grubs and bugs that can be harmful to other animals, cleaning the land ready for the herds to eventually return.

Hidden from view, the recovery of the pastures is just beginning, as mycorrhizal fungi and other bacteria leap into action and create more abundant soil life beneath both hoof and claw. These beneficial fungi grow in association with plant roots and take sugars from plants in exchange for the moisture and nutrients they gather from the soil through their fungal strands. The mycorrhizas act as extensions to the root system and link the whole field together in a symbiotic union, just as it would have been before modern farming methods broke away from the natural order of the land.

Dan Wood, managing director of The Traditional Free Range Egg Company, comments:

“There’s more than meets the eye behind the beautiful shells of our Birds & Herds eggs and it seems that we’re only scratching the surface of its ultimate benefits for the environment. With hoofs and claws in partnership with nature, we’re trying to recreate the age-old balance of grazing animals and poultry working in harmony with the land, and then let Mother Nature do the rest. As a result, not only are we seeing the pastures flourish into abundant life once more, but the cattle and hens are happier than ever, with our traditional girls producing Great Taste award-winning eggs at their first time of asking! Best of all, we know the Birds & Herds story has only just begun.”

Birds & Herds free range eggs come in beautiful natural shades within half dozen packs and are currently available from independent retailers across the UK, including delis, farm shops, butchers and grocery stores.

For more information, please visit www.thetraditionalfreerangeeggcompany.co.uk.