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Last year I listened to Mike Wilkinson give a presentation about his 48,000 free range hens which
he keeps in two multi-tier units, popular in Holland.
A multi-tier system offers birds different tiers within one building in which they can freely move
around. The hens are trained how to use the system from chick stage, a process controlled by Free-
dom Food regulations to ensure the chicks cope well with the learning process. This early educa-
tion gives the young hens confidence to jump from tier to tier and teaches them that food and water
is available on all levels, as well as showing them they can venture outside to free range.
Mike runs the farm with his wife, Lorna, and enthusiastic family, who enjoy collecting the eggs
and he is so proud of his welfare that he invites local school children to visit. He admitted on first
view, children see what they think is a cage – there is a lot of metal in a multi-tier system – but
Mike explains how the birds are free to move around the large shed and roam outside during day-
light. One 9 yr old lad, who clearly understood the concept, expressed his delight: “Wow, look at
that huge climbing frame for hens!” And that’s how Mike sees it too.
Mike’s birds have excellent welfare, which shows through their healthy weight, low mortality and
egg production which remains strong right through the laying cycle. But Mike is equally keen to
get his birds outside and this photo was taken 150 metres from the hen house … they look pretty
happy, healthy birds to me! It’s so nice to see them outside isn’t it.
Last year I listened to Mike Wilkinson give a presentation about his 48,000 free range
hens which he keeps in two multi-tier units, popular in Holland.
A m lti- i r system offers birds different tier wi hin one buildi g in whi h they can
freely m ve around. The h ns are train d how to use t e system from chick stage, a
process co trolled by Freedom Food regulations t ensure the chicks cope well with the
learning process. This early education gives the young hens confidence to jump from
tier to tier and teaches them that food and water is available on all levels, as well as
showing them they can venture outside to free range.
Mike runs the farm with his wife, Lorna, and enthusiastic family, who enjoy collecting
the eggs and he is so proud of his hen welfare that he invites local school children to
visit. He admitted on first view, children see what they think is a cage – there is a lot of
metal in a multi-tier system – but Mike explains how the birds are free to move around
the large shed and roam outside during daylight. One 9 yr old lad, who clearly under-
stood the concept, expressed his delight: “Wow, look at that huge climbing frame for
hens!” And that’s how Mike sees it too.
Mike’s birds have excellent welfare, which shows through their healthy weight, low
mortality and high egg production. Mike is equally keen to get his birds outside and the
photo on the opposite page was taken 150 metres from the hen house … they look pretty
happy, healthy birds to me!