Start up aims to produce chicken-friendly eggs

Is there a market for cruelty free eggs?

Chickens can live a long and happy life after their egg-laying days are over, says a new start up that hopes to find a market for cruelty-free eggs.

Most egg-laying chickens in France, even those on free-range farms, are sent to the abattoir after around 18 months as their production levels start to slow. But chickens can live for up to ten years, and the founders of chicken-friendly egg producers Poulehouse say it is unfair to send them off as soon as they are unprofitable.

Entrepreneurs Fabien Sauleman and Sébastien Neusch and agronomist Elodie Pellegrain had the idea for the business in 2016 after Mr Sauleman spent the summer looking after some chickens.

The company works with organic suppliers, and pays them a higher price per egg in return for a commitment that the chickens will not be sold to the slaughterhouse. Poulehouse is in the process of building its own shelter in Limousin, called the Chicken House, where these older chickens can be sent to live out the rest of their lives.

Since it was set up in February Poulehouse has already sold 60 000 eggs and the company hopes to be producing 50 000 eggs a week by the end of 2017, or 2.6 million a year.

At €5.99 for half a dozen eggs Poulehouse is selling a premium product, but believes there is a market for cruelty free foods of this sort. Biocoop, an organic food distribution company, began selling Poulehouse eggs in September.

Poulehouse recently raised almost €25 000 on KisskissBankBank, a collaborative platform for funding innovative and creative projects.

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