In Aldino, a small town on the Reggelberg in South Tyrol, on 1200 m above sea level the Egger farm can be found.
Together with his family Nikolaus Lantschner has been overseeing the farm since 1998. The production of healthy food products has always been his primary goal.
Klaus understood how important eggs are in our diet and that is why he set his sights to produce free range eggs . Initially the farm had only 500 chicken but the steadily rising demand permitted to raise the livestock to 6000. The animals are divided in three groups.
Free range husbandry as basic concept
Free range husbandry means that there is a chicken-run outdoors besides the stall for the livestock. In contrast to cage system housing or barn systems this is the best form to raise chicken. The birds can follow their natural behaviour: they run, paw, peck…
There are also rigorous guidelines from the EU and vets do controls on a regular basis to make sure the guidelines are being respected.
The wellbeing of the chicken is the focus of our attention
The chicken can freely move, eat, drink and sleep inside the stall . On one square meter seven to nine birds can be kept. The floor is covered with straw where the chicken paw, clean their feathering and sleep. Besides the wooden bars, the animals preferred sleeping place, water and feed for the livestock are placed on an elevated lattice. The lattice lets the dung fall onto a conveyor belt that helps to keep the stall clean.
The stall has also some nests where the hens can lay their eggs. The nests prevent the eggs from getting dirty or breaking. Another conveyor belt brings the eggs from the nests to a room where they are weighted, cleaned and packed.
Between the stall and the chicken-run one can find a roofed section that has the floor covered with sand. . If the weather is bad chicken can find shelter there. The sand is used by the animals to take “baths” to clean their feathers.
The chicken-run outdoors is accessible to the animals every day. Here every hen has 4m² of the area for itself. To protect the livestock from predators the chicken-run is fenced and covered by a net. Without having to worry about their natural enemies the chicken can paw, run and also search for some insects in the grass.
The best feed for a healthy livestock
Also the feed has an important role in the production of healthy eggs. Together with Rieper (a local company) we created a special chicken-feed. All the ingredients are genetically unmodified, free from hormones, antibiotics and carcass meal. Everything that the chicken eat is completely plant-based and the ingredients of the feed are corn, soya, wheat, rye and barley.