Organic Spotlight: Rookery Farm

We are pleased to introduce Rookery Farm as one of our latest members - a producer of delicious organic eggs based in Flansham, West Sussex.

Organic Spotlight: Rookery Farm

Rookery Farm is a small, 150-acre family-run farm on the coast of West Sussex that has produced organic, free-range eggs for the last 20 years - their eggs are certified to both OF&G and The Soil Association. Run by Rupert and Robyn, their family has farmed that part of South East England for over 130 years. They take a slightly different approach to the vast majority of other British and EU organic and free-range farms, for example they have completely mobile hen houses! This means that they can rotate the whole hen house to a fresh piece of pasture when a new flock arrives.

A Typical Day

Each day starts at 5am, with the chickens being let out to graze at 8am where they are allowed to forage until they naturally make their way back indoors at sunset. Each hen lays, on average, 5 to 6 eggs per week which are collected by hand daily.

The ‘first sort’ is where the eggs are placed on trays and separated out with any noticeable imperfections (irregular shells, dirt or cracks) and the eggs that pass this stage are taken to The Shed for grading. This is where there is a ‘second sort’ is carried out. The eggs are the loaded onto a conveyor which carries them over candling lights, which reveals any flaws in the shell that aren’t easily visible to the naked eye.

After candling, each egg is stamped with a unique code identifying the farm and its location, and then they are graded into different sizes according to weight: X-Large, Large, Medium and Small. The eggs typically reach customers within 24 hours of collection.

Meet The Hens

The main breeds of hen are hybrids called Lohman Browns: a mix of Rhode Island Reds

The hens are fed a balanced diet of mainly wheat, sunflower, peas, soya, full fat soya, maize, maize gluten, alfalfa and limestone sourced from a registered organic feed mill – all organic and GM free.

Rookery Specials

Six or seven years ago, Rookery Farm started looking into the viability of introducing other, more traditional breeds of chicken to the farm. They sourced specialist hatcheries who could sell them one-day-old chicks for them to rear organically. After sixteen weeks of rearing, the chicks are fully grown and are moved to their laying house on piece of fresh pasture to start laying their spectacularly coloured eggs, the new ‘Rookery Organic Specials’.

The traditional breed flock is made up of Marans, larger black birds which lay the deep chocolate brown eggs; Blue Cheshires, which lay baby blue eggs and Russets, which lay green eggs.

Where to buy

If you’re in the local area, you can stop by the farm and pick some up at the shop counter. If not, you can use their handy ‘Egg Finder’ – just pop in your postcode and the closest shops to you will come up. Or, if you’re in London, you can find them at either Notting Hill or South Kensington’s Farmer’s Markets.

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