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A Lake District farmer with 12,000 hens is offering tractor tours to help children understand more about where eggs come from.
Graham Wadsworth, 41, will take visitors to the Lakeland Maize Maze and Farm Park on personal tours around the 160-acre Raines Hall Farm site at Sedgwick, near Kendal.
Mr Wadsworth explained: “We do get the occasional young visitor not knowing that eggs comes from hens, so we thought a ‘tour-by-tractor’ would be a fun way of learning in a real farm environment. Our fresh, farm-produced eggs appear in many stores up and down the country including McDonald’s, and consequently have to meet the most stringent standards.”
Mr Wadsworth, a fourth generation farmer whose family have farmed the site since 1919, will take visitors on a fun 15-minute tour on board the farm tractor. The tour explains the process involved in taking care of hens as well as the stringent animal welfare standards required to be a supplier.
The farm’s 12,000 female hens have “room to roam” with over 30 acres of pleasant grassland - the equivalent of 15 football pitches. There is also 72m x 20m purpose-built chicken shed where the hens can shelter.
To give the 24-week-old hens the best environment possible, Graham has also planted over 1,000 trees because it is a better habitat for hens, which are naturally a forest bird which like shade and shelter.
The hens are free to eat when they like and their diet is a special mix of wheat and soya to encourage healthy eggs. They are able to come and go as they please with plenty of water available too. Around 11,000 eggs are laid every day.
To meet the highest possible standards as a supplier to wholesalers The Lakes Free Range Egg Company, the farm is also subject to a series of inspections and accreditations from the RSPCA Freedom Foods, the British Egg Industry and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
The farm also has 14 goats, a resident Donkey, ponies, dairy bull calves and three different rare breeds of sheep from the Western Isles of Scotland.
The farm moved into a poultry enterprise three years ago to help remain viable. It also diversifies into a tourism attraction every summer to become the Lakeland Maize Maze and Farm Park. Last year it was awarded with the title of Best Maize in England 2011 by the Maize Maze Association.
The farm offers a large outdoor adventure playground for families to take their children - featuring trampolines, a bouncy castle slide, a soft indoor play area, Meet The Farm Animals, Pets Corner, covered sandpit, petting sessions with rabbits and guinea pigs and a collection of pedal-tractors and a Go-kart Grand Prix.