Posted on 2019-07-22 08:20:13
An article by Shirley Bell
Animals are sentient creatures. The SPCA supports farming processes that treat them humanely and encourages people to purchase free-range eggs and chicken.
Mark Sandison, former Durbanite now living in Fishhoek, first drew our attention to Felicity Vanmoos’s Sunshine Farm in Drummond a couple of years ago. Then an article In Farmer’s Weekly by Lloyd Phillips described Felicity’s free-range chicken farm where birds are raised under caring conditions so that we can use their eggs knowing that production has been kind.
When Felicity sits down in any of her spacious chicken houses, chickens cluster around her. Some perch on her lap and shoulders, and even on her head. It is immediately apparent that these birds feel safe and contented.
Felicity and her husband, Pieter, bought Sunshine Farm in 1996. It was once a more conventional chicken farm, but Felicity found the recurring process of beautiful baby chicks growing quickly to the six-week stage and then being slaughtered too distressing. She felt an urgent need for a different approach and began a trial during which free-range eggs were produced by 25 layers.
The former broiler shed was converted into two large chicken houses for 6500 Hyline layers. They had free access during the day to both the inside area and the fenced outside area. These were unstressed birds, living in natural light, moving actively and freely, protected from predators, and cared for by farm manager, Nick Joubert, and eight farm workers.
A high level of cleanliness is maintained, and the birds receive a comprehensive range of essential vaccinations. They have a carefully nutritious diet, and on hot days vitamins and electrolytes are added to drinking water to keep them hydrated. Precautions are taken against Newcastle disease and infectious bronchitis.
Sunshine Farm is inspected regularly by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries inspection services based in Durban and has always earned good reports.
The free-range eggs, free from any residue from antibiotics, are laid by healthy, free-roaming, contented birds who lead comfortable lives. Felicity’s comment in Farmers’ Weekly was: “They’re such lovely creatures. They ask for so little but give so much in return.”
Things don’t change for the better unless people care. If you are buying battery chickens and eggs, find out what an inhumane process you are supporting.
Pictured: Felicity Vonmoos from Sunshine Farm