Quality is at the heart of everything we do and that is why we are South Africa’s leading and most trusted free range supplier. From the very beginning, we are committed to giving our birds the best quality of life. We take animal welfare very seriously and that is why our chicks are raised in a stress-free environment.
We purchase day-old broiler chicks who are then immediately placed in our chicken sheds for a short brooding period. During the brooding period, the baby chicks are kept indoors and heaters are used to keep the sheds and the baby chicks warm and safe. This brooding period is typically also the same period that a chick will be protected under its mother’s wing in nature. Once the brooding period has been completed, the pop holes are opened and our birds have the freedom to naturally migrate and roam outdoors during the day on the grass which is double the size of the shed.
Once outside, our chickens have the freedom to roam, peck, and dust-bathe which helps them preen and maintain their feathers, soothes their skin and cools them down on hot days. At night our chickens naturally migrate back to their houses for warmth and safety. This is also where they keep themselves dry when it’s raining or unpleasant outside. We ensure that they have at least 6 hours of continuous darkness at night to ensure adequate rest. During this time, no bright lights are allowed to be turned on around the chicken houses. The atmosphere of the chicken sheds is not controlled and the birds breathe normal fresh air.
Our chickens are raised on a high-quality, maize-based diet that does not contain:
- routine antibiotics
- animal by-products
- growth stimulants (AGP's)
To confirm this, we regularly carry out tests with independent SANAS-accredited and DAFF-registered laboratories. Their feed is supplemented by daily foraging outside for bugs, seeds, berries and nibbles of plants. More movement keeps our chickens and their immune system happy and healthy, the natural way.
Our high-quality standards don’t just stop at our chickens’ quality of life. Our high-quality standards don’t just stop at our chickens’ quality of life. We are against the use of brine injections. Instead, we believe in providing 100% chicken with its delicious natural flavour and that is why we also air chill our chickens as opposed to water chilling, to maintain the quality of the meat.
All chicken waste is managed responsibly and sustainably with minimal to zero impact on the environment (soil, air, water). No farm waste goes to the landfill and the chicken manure in the sheds at the end of the cycle is used for composting.
We are committed and this is the reason why we supply top retailers, food service and hospitality partners, wholesales as well as our own Factory Shops with the BEST QUALITY and most trusted free range chicken.
At Elgin Free Range Chickens, our practices are grounded in our principles.
We work with nature, not against it, to give our birds the best quality of life.
We never add routine antibiotics, animal by-products, fish-meal or growth promoters (AGPs) to our chickens’ diet. Instead, we feed our birds a nutritional grain-based diet that boosts their immune systems naturally. This is supplemented by daily foraging for bugs, seeds, berries, and nibbles of plants.
We ensure that our chickens always have enough space to roam, peck, and preen comfortably. We have a strict maximum bird density per square metre in our chicken houses, and at least double the space for them to forage in the fresh air during the day.
Unlike commercial chickens that are kept in environmentally-controlled houses, our chickens are given a healthy dose of Vitamin D by spending each day in real sunshine and fresh air. We also make sure they have plenty of bushes for perching, shade, and shelter.
Our chickens are given grass ranges to roam, peck, and dust-bathe which helps them preen and maintain their features, soothes their skin, and cools them down on hot days. We also ensure that they have at least 6 hours of continuous darkness at night so that they get adequate rest. During this time, no bright lights are allowed to be turned on around the chicken houses.
Our birds are routinely monitored by specialised poultry veterinarians. Our vets work together with our growers to improve farming practices so that our birds are always the healthiest and happiest that they can be. By raising our birds in a stress-free environment with quality nutrition, we allow their immune systems to flourish naturally. We even plant specially selected herbs around their houses, such as Lion’s Ear, which is traditionally used to relieve respiratory problems, headaches and high blood pressure.
Our chickens naturally migrate back to their houses at night for warmth and safety. This is also where they keep themselves dry when it’s raining or unpleasant outside. We understand that harvesting birds can be a particularly stressful time if not managed sensitively. When this time comes, we catch our birds individually and in the dark at night when the birds are calm and restful to eliminate any unnecessary stress.
To us, being authentically free range means more than just free-roaming. It also means stress-free, and free to behave naturally.
We work with nature to keep our birds healthier and happier, which in the long run also improves the flavour and texture of the meat.
We only use a top of the range all-grain diet which boosts their natural immune systems so that there’s no need to add routine antibiotics, fish meal or growth promoters.
We also encourage foraging for natural herbs, berries and seeds for a well-balanced diet.
Our high quality standards don’t just stop at our chickens’ quality of life.
We are against the use of brine injections. We believe instead in providing 100% chicken with its delicious natural flavour.
We also air chill our chickens as opposed to water chilling to maintain the quality of the meat.
As a brand, we follow a good business journey. Part of this good business journey is to constantly implement actions to further reduce our carbon footprint. Our next step in reducing our footprint is the launch of our PET packaging.
What is PET packaging?
PET stands for Polyethylene Terephthalate and it is one of the most common polymers used for plastic packaging. It is mainly known for its use in the food and beverage industry. PET is a material that is environmentally friendly and 100% recyclable. When we say 100% recyclable we mean EVERY SINGLE PART of the packaging, even the lidding film. This means that our consumers do not have to take the time to dismantle the compartments. As every part is recyclable, less plastic will end up in landfills.
PET is also 100% sustainable and has a lower carbon footprint than other plastics because less energy is used. Once PET is recycled, it can be recaptured and reformed into the same original product, making the product lifecycle continuous.
PET is used in product packaging because of its strength, thermostability, and transparency. It is also lightweight, which reduces transportation costs and carbon emissions. PET is used by retailers because it promotes high product visibility: its lightweight allows for easier shelf stacking, and its shatterproof quality ensures safety, product integrity, and less breakage.
PET packaging is also extremely safe as it is BPA-free. BPA is not used in the making of PET material nor is it a chemical building block for any of the components. PET is a secure and hygienic material for packaging because it does not react when in contact with either food or liquids
As of April 2023, consumers can expect the refreshed packaging on all the EFRC fillet lines which include our breast fillets, mini fillets, drum and thigh fillets as well as the fillet trimmings. Our portion lines, which include thighs, drums and wings will also be seen in our new PET packaging.
This is just another reason why Elgin Free Range Chickens is the most trusted free range chicken producer in South Africa.