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All of the raw eggs used in J D Wetherspoon pubs are free range and sourced from the UK. Unfortunately due to a temporary housing order issued by the Government, to limit the spread of Avian flu and protect both wild and farmed birds, the eggs we are currently serving could have been laid by hens temporarily housed in barns for their own protection and welfare.
Why are free range hens being kept inside?
Currently most free range hens within the UK, and across the EU, are being kept inside to keep them safe from bird flu. Although farmers would prefer to see their free range hens enjoying the outside, they understand that it is more important to protect the welfare of hens by keeping them inside temporarily.
Do hens mind being kept inside?
Free range hens are used to spending time inside their houses - all free range birds go inside at night. They are free to roam around the house and have nesting boxes, perching areas and scratching areas. They also have continuous access to feed and water.
To help the hens adapt to a new routine, farmers are spending more time with the birds and making regular checks on their welfare. Farmers have made it easier for hens to adapt by providing some additional activities, for example hanging items, providing straw bales and other toys such as footballs and plastic bottles for them to play with, to ensure that their welfare is not affected.
How long will birds be inside?
Some free range birds in the UK have been able to go outside again from 28 February, but this can only be done on veterinary advice and if a detailed risk assessment is undertaken - the Government will be updating its advice at the end of April.
When this happens, hens will be gradually introduced to the outside to minimise stress. As soon as they are able, farmers will be actively encouraging their birds to take advantage of the range.