There are current debates concerning methods of egg production. All cartons must state the method of production so you can check whether the eggs have come from hens kept in cages or from high-welfare alternative systems such as barn, free-range or organic. All SPCA Blue Tick® labelled eggs come from farms approved by us to our strict high welfare standards. SPCA Blue Tick® approval can only be granted after an independent audit has been successfully conducted by a third party auditor contracted to the SPCA and extensively trained to our standards. Following this, the SPCA Blue Tick® will issue a 'Certificate of Approval' for the farm or the site that has successfully passed the audit.
What to look for when buying eggs
The SPCA Blue Tick® certification logo can be found on egg packaging in many supermarkets — look for your preferred retailer on our ‘where to buy’ guide. We only approve layer hen farms that adhere to our strict welfare standards. We do not approve of or certify battery or colony cage systems.
What do the different systems mean?
This system is inhumane and harmful to the hens. They are confined in battery cages for the duration of their short lives. Many factors make the battery cage environment extremely uncomfortable for the hens. Most battery cages are barely larger than the hens they contain, and in many cases hens are unable to move or turn around. There is insufficient room to act on natural instincts and normal behaviours such as wing flapping, grooming, preening, stretching, foraging and dust bathing.
Colony is an improved cage housing system that provides more space for hens. The colonies are equipped with nest boxes, perches and scratch pads. The government is currently reviewing the transition steps. All cages must be replaced by 2022 but there is a phase in period and at this stage it is likely the oldest cage housing will need to be updated by 2018. The phase in timing is presently under review by the Government.
Barn / Cage free
Hens roam freely inside (uncaged), have perches to roost on and space to stretch their wings. Nesting boxes provide a quiet space for egg laying and there is floor litter for scratching in. The SPCA Blue Tick® Accreditation Scheme approves barn operation if the farm meets our high animal welfare standards.
The key difference with free-range egg farming is access to the outdoors. The shelter provided may be fixed or portable, such as a shed, aviary, perchery or ark. In larger farms, flocks are housed in sheds fitted, which include nest boxes and perches, and birds are able to access the outdoors through pop-holes in the shed walls. Because the hens range outdoors and can therefore be more vulnerable to disease, predators, parasites and weather, close monitoring and other preventative measures are very important in managing the health and welfare of free-range flocks.
SPCA Blue Tick® Approved Eggs
SPCA Blue Tick® Accreditation Scheme is highly weighted on the stockmanship of the animals. Our standards are based on the Five Freedoms and cover all animal needs, not just the bare minimum.
Find out which egg brands are available under the SPCA Blue Tick® Accreditation here.
If you have a question about the SPCA Blue Tick® Accreditation Scheme, please don't hesitate to contact us for more information. Have a look at some of our more frequently asked questions to see if your query has already been answered.