+ What do your hens eat?

Our hens are fed a balanced diet to provide all the nutrients they need. Sourced from a registered organic feed mill, the main ingredients are wheat, sunflower, peas, soya, full fat soya, maize, maize gluten, alfalfa and limestone - all organic and GM free

+ What breeds of hens do you have?

The main breeds are hybrids: Columbian Blacktails, Lohman Browns and Goldlines

Columbian Blacktails are a cross between Light Sussex and Rhode Island Reds, and other breeds such as Black Rock
Lohman Browns are a hybrid of Rhode Island Reds
Goldlines are a cross between Light Sussex and Rhode Island Reds

+ How are your eggs graded into sizes?

Each and every egg is weighed and, depending on which band it falls into, it is classified as Extra Large, Large, Medium or Small. The current Lion Code bands are:

X Large above 73g
Large 63-73g
Medium 53-63g
Small 53g and under

+ Why does shell colour vary and do brown eggs taste different to white ones?

Younger hens tend to lay darker brown eggs. As the hens get older, the colour of their eggs tend to become more varied. There is evidence to suggest that the hens' exposure to the sun's ultra violet light can cause the shells to become paler. However, there is no difference in taste or nutritional value between light and dark eggs

Pure white eggs come from different breeds of chicken like the White Leghorn and are much more common in the USA

+ What are 'mis-shaped' eggs?

'Mis-shapes' is just our own generic term for any egg that can't be packed as a Class A egg

This can be for a number of reasons. Some egg shells are a bit tarnished or dirty, or simply an odd or unusual shape - maybe they are bumpy or rather thin. However, there is no difference in taste or nutritional value between any of these and Class A eggs

They are very popular at our Farm Counter and at the London Farmers' Markets, because they are both great fun and great value. The thinner shelled ones are not suitable for boiling as they may crack in a pan of boiling water, but are fine for scrambling, frying, poaching or making cakes. Our customers have many different names for them at the London Farmers' Markets including 'uglies', 'seconds' and 'difficult childhoods'

+ What is the code printed on your Class A eggs?

Every Class A egg sold in the UK from flocks of more than 50 hens requires a unique farm ID number

Our eggs start with a '0' denoting organic and free range, followed by UK as country of origin and then by a 5-digit unique code that traces back to the farm

The first number on an egg represent the following:

0 Organic and Free Range
1 Free Range only
2 Barn
3 Caged

If an egg is classified as organic it will also be free range - organic criteria require hens to be free range

+ The shop I buy your eggs from isn't on the Egg Finder map - why is that?

The map shows all the locations that we deliver to directly from the farm. However, several times a week we also deliver our eggs to a couple of trusted wholesalers that we work with to expand the availability of eggs to areas that we just can't get to ourselves

+ What bodies are you accredited to and audited by?

Organic Farmers & Growers - the primary UK organic certification body who audit our farm and hens annually to ensure we meet the high standards they require and that we comply with all EU and British Organic standards

The Soil Association - an organic certification body similar to Organic Farmers & Growers, it also audits the farm and hens annually. Soil Association standards sometimes vary from Organic Farmers & Growers on certain issues such as hen house size

We are accredited to both as some of our customers specify the Organic Farmers & Growers standard and others that of The Soil Association

Freedom Foods - this is the farm division of the RSPCA who audit our farm annually to ensure we comply with all their requirements for hen welfare

British Lion Quality - a code of practice set by the British Egg Industry Council, the British Lion Code is an industry-wide standard for poultry and eggs produced in the the UK. Emphasis is placed on bio security, salmonella control procedures such as vaccination and environment testing. The standard is extremely comprehensive, further information can be found on their website

Animal Health Department of DEFRA - a government body that makes unannounced audits on us periodically to check we comply with UK and EU free range standards, placing particular emphasis on egg quality and grading procedures

County Council Trading Standards - we periodically have visits from the West Sussex County Council Trading Standard Service who check on egg labelling, packaging etc.

Local Council Services Department - we are also visited by Arun District Council Services Department with regard to our due diligiance procedures for egg handling and grading