Happy Hens Farm, located at a two-hour drive from Bangalore, became the first Indian producer to label its eggs as “free-range,” as an indication of their hens’ high welfare and space allowances. Free Range means hens have total freedom to access large open space to roam freely and to express their natural behavior. They have a pen / barn for night shelter. Fresh air, bright / pleasant sun shine, trees, green pasture to forage, flying to & fro keeps them fit & healthy.
Happy Hens is a venture by two passionate individuals-Manjunath M and Ashok Kannan. Happy Hens is supported by NAN – Native Angels Network. “At Happy Hens Farm, they believe that they have the responsibility to provide these animals every opportunity to express natural behaviour,” said Manjunath Marappan, the farm’s co-founder. “We welcome all our customers to visit our farms.”Humane Society International has been supporting Happy Hen Farms. “Humane Society International urges consumers to avoid purchasing battery-cage eggs” “By labelling their eggs as free-range, Happy Hens Farm provides Indian consumers with the information they need to make a better choice.”
Earlier this year, a report in The Hindu highlighted how the wrongful use of antibiotics in the poultry industry was spawning global superbugs and skewing up the food chain. But this is just one of many problems plaguing the conventional poultry industry.
The battery cage system of rearing egg-laying hens is notorious for its disregard of hygiene and the natural behaviour of the birds. “In the conventional poultry farm, seven to eight hens are squeezed into a cage that is only about as big as an A4-size sheet of paper. Birds have no space to flap their wings or even stand comfortably. Commercial farms may be labour-effective, but they are bad for the animals,” says Ashok Kannan, co-founder of Happy Hens, the company that produces and sells one of India’s first brand of free range eggs.
The birds are sourced from Government agencies as day-old chicks, and then reared for five months before they are ready to lay eggs. At any given period, Happy Hens has 3,000 chickens at the growing stage, along with its normal layer birds. “The hen can actually live up to 15 years in its natural state,” “But in their poultry farming model, the fertile period of the bird gets over in 20 months.” Some 200 mature layer hens are culled per week, their meat marketed in Bengaluru.