Choline acknowledged as vital nutrient during pregnancy

Medical experts have formally acknowledged the importance of choline during pregnancy – This is a nutrient found in significant quantities in EGGS!

It is known that choline is important for liver function, normal brain development, nerve function, muscle movement, supporting energy levels and maintaining a healthy metabolism.

A study at the University of Rochester Medical Centre in the US concluded that consuming greater amounts of choline during pregnancy could lower an infant’s vulnerability to stress-related illnesses, such as mental health disturbances and chronic conditions, like hypertension, later in life. It is known that adequate levels of choline – an important nutrient that helps a baby’s brain and spinal cord to develop properly – are necessary to maintain normal pregnancy including the neural development of the foetus.

Choline is not found naturally in high levels in many foods. However, eggs are rich in the nutrient. Two large eggs contain more than half of the recommended intake for pregnant women.

It is not only the unborn child that could benefit from consuming more choline. It has been found that eating a diet rich in choline could help protect the brain from the effects of ageing.

Choline is just one of the vital nutrients provided by eating eggs, which are increasingly seen as a health-protecting superfood. One large egg provides varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, including nutrients that are not found abundantly in other foods, including vitamin D, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are present in egg yolk, and which are antioxidants that may prevent macular degeneration and consequent age-related blindness.

Fipronil in eggs

Pleased be aware that the chemical Fipronil (that has been found in Belgium and Dutch Eggs) has never and will never be used on our farm.

Fipronil is an insecticide that is used to kill lice and ticks on animals. It is banned by the EU for use in the food industry.

It is thought that it was added to disinfectant in some EU chicken farms.

This insecticide can damage the kidneys, liver and thyroid glands in humans if eaten in large quantities. The Food Standards Agency has said it is very unlikely that there is a risk to public health.

As a British egg producer, we follow stringent production standards to ensure that what we produce is perfectly safe and nutritious for consumers to eat. All our eggs are free from such chemicals.

They are fresh, nutritious and traceable.

Eggs are a ‘natural pharmacy’, new report reveals

Eggs are “nature’s very own multivitamin” according to a new study that says health professionals could actively promote the consumption of eggs.

Nutritionist Dr Carrie Ruxton, the report’s author, says that eggs are a “natural pharmacy” of vitamins, minerals and protein which puts them on par with most superfoods.

But with one exception, they are much cheaper and more versatile than your quinoa and kale.

The report, commissioned by the British Egg Industry Council, is aimed at promoting the growing evidence linking regular consumption of eggs to positive health benefits.

NFU poultry board chairman Duncan Priestner said: “The nutritional properties of eggs are overwhelming and it is fantastic to see these qualities recognised by experts in the health field.

“With their ability to provide essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and proteins, the egg has really secured its place in a healthy, balanced diet.

“Eggs in the UK are produced to very high production and welfare standard.

“The NFU continues to work with the public and industry, including the BEIC, to promote British eggs and the benefits they can offer.”

In the report, Dr Carrie Ruxton said: “In recent years, eggs have also found favour with health professionals both in the UK and USA when out-of-date advice to restrict egg consumption due to fears about cholesterol was finally overturned.

“This has given the green light to egg lovers to enjoy their favourite dish as often as they like.”

Our Birds are Out! Lifting of Temporary Housing Order

Our birds are out from under the housing order imposed recently due to the risk of avian flu.

The higher than average risk that caused the ban in the first place was from wild birds over wintering here in the UK.  The majority of these birds have now left the UK – presumably realising that the UK is a rubbish choice for a winter holiday.  Those that are resident wildfowl are busy with the breeding season and less likely to travel for food away from their nesting areas.

With this great news we are allowing the birds outside again to stretch their legs and enjoy the sunshine (when we have some). Of course when it comes to chickens there are always the rebels in the crowd and some have decided that being in the warm, next to the food and some cosy bedding is a better choice than venturing outside but we encourage to them out everyday.

The lifting of the temporary housing order does not mean the risks of avian flu have totally gone – it’s just that the risk is no higher than other areas of the UK.  We continue to adhere to strict biosecurity measures such as minimising the movement of birds in and out of the flock, cleaning footwear used in the barns and ensuring the birds are housed in clean and tidy areas.

Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said:
We continually review our disease control measures in light of new scientific evidence and veterinary advice. Based on the latest evidence on reduced numbers of migratory and resident aquatic wild birds we believe that kept birds in the areas we previously designated as Higher Risk are now at the same level of risk as the rest of England and may now be let outside.
However, all keepers must still observe strict disease prevention measures to reduce the risk of contamination from the environment, where the virus can survive for several weeks in bird droppings.
This does not mean business as usual: the risk from avian flu has not gone away and a Prevention Zone remains in place, requiring keepers across England to take steps to prevent disease spreading. We continue to keep measures under review and keepers should check GOV.UK for regular updates.
If you have any questions about avian flu or the recent housing order, please get in touch with us

Temporary Housing Order



You may be aware of the current temporary requirement from the government for all farmers to keep birds being bred for meat and eggs indoors as a precaution against a strain of Avian flu. The government is trying to limit the spread to protect both wild and farmed birds by requiring keepers of birds to keep them inside away from wild birds.

Migratory wild birds coming to the UK are bringing the virus with them.

Avian flu poses no risk for consumers eating eggs. Eggs remain a perfectly safe to eat and, as always, have fantastic nutritional qualities.

With the heightened risk of contracting bird flu, which can kill a flock of hens very quickly, the government ordered all flocks to be kept inside on 6 December 2016.

As Free range egg farmers we would prefer our birds to be outside. However we will not risk the health of our birds. Animal welfare is a top priority for us and we will ensure that the highest standards of welfare are maintained while this housing order is in place. Although this means that our free range hens are being kept inside, the sheds have plenty of room for the birds to move around freely and include scratching and perching areas so birds can still display their natural instinctive behaviour.

We have also added additional stimulants like pumpkins and cabbages to keep the birds happy. 

You will soon see some stickers appearing on our free range egg boxes – so this short article will tell you what’s going on.

After 28 February 2017, the eggs produced by birds that are still kept inside can no longer be called free range. This is because European regulations state that after 12 weeks of the birds being inside, they must be classed as ‘barn eggs’.

Barn eggs are produced by birds which stay inside for their whole life, but that are free to move about the shed as they please.

As it stands at the time of writing, all free range egg farmers in Wales and Scotland and most in England will be allowed to let their birds out again from 28 February 2017. Some farmers in these areas may still consider the risk too high and in consultation with their veterinary advisers, decide to keep their birds indoors

In England the Government has identified specific areas of the country that may carry higher risk, for example areas near large bodies of water, wild bird sanctuaries etc. Farmers in  ‘Higher Risk Areas’ will not be allowed to let their birds out unless they put netting over the entire outside pasture area, which is not practical for the vast majority. Here at Beechwood we are within 3 miles of a Higher Risk Area and because of this we consider the risk to bird welfare to be too great to allow the birds outside at this time. Obviously the situation will be reviewed on a weekly basis in conjunction with advise from the Vets, the British Free Range Egg Producers Association and the Department of Agriculture. When it is safe to do so we will then return to normal free range practices.

For you, the shopper, this situation means that you will see stickers placed on egg boxes which explain that free range eggs will have been laid by birds kept inside temporarily for their own safety.

Stickers on eggs  



They will still taste great and will have been laid by birds who were allowed outside before 6 December, and that will be allowed outside again as soon as it is safe.

We really appreciate the support you give us all year round, and would like to thank you for your continuing support during what is a very difficult time.

If you have any questions, please do get in touch via our contact form

Interview with Nathan Rice

Why produce free range eggs?

Nathan: With the growth of the supermarkets and the price pressure on farmers today, producing typical caged eggs means having to use more intensive methods.  In my opinion, this significantly reduces the hens quality of life and the quality of the eggs you will get.  We choose free range because people understand what this means and want the hens that have laid the eggs to have a better life and are rewarded with a better egg.  Win, win in my book.

What do you like about chickens?

Nathan: You wouldn’t think it having so many birds around but they all have different personalities.  It’s funny to watch the outdoor one’s rushing for the door first thing in the morning and the lazy, sit in the box one’s who need coaxing out to get some fresh air.  They are a very curious bird and I always end up with a few following me around wondering what I’m doing.

How do you collect all those eggs?

Nathan: We try to train the hens to lay in nest boxes which we line with astro turf to mimic a natural environment.  95% do lay in the nest boxes but with chickens, there are always the individuals and 3 times a day we walk the sheds to collect any eggs laid on the floor.

Hens do get broody and will sit on the eggs all day if allowed, so we close the nest boxes at night and get them onto their perches in the barn, so any hidden eggs are collected at the end of the day.

What size of eggs do the chickens lay?

Nathan: The size varies as the chickens get older.  First lays tend to be very small and these tend be used by companies who want boiled eggs in salads etc or can be found in local farm shops (typically sold buy the tray).  As the hen grows and her body weight increases, so does the size of the egg to a traditional medium.  These tend to be popular amongst catering companies and chefs.  As the hen matures (around 30 weeks by this point) they start to lay large eggs and these we sell to the public through local shops, farm shops and local markets.  Occasionally we get the extra large eggs coming through and these we sell to people who like a hearty breakfasts!

What do the chickens eat?

Nathan: We provide our chickens with a cereal based diet that has all the vitamins and nutrients they need to keep them healthy.  However, being free range and on the go, chickens are great foragers and will find treats for themselves outdoors – typically insets, seeds, and grasses