Julie Engel raises Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) sheep at The…
Anna Thomson and Laura Thomson raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) laying hens at Joyful Wren Farm in Champaign, IL. Sisters Anna and Laura are the fifth generation to farm the family’s prairie land property in Central Illinois. Their grandparents farmed the land previously, and the two sisters were taught to try new things and experiment. “Many of our practices to restore the soil health are inspired by the conservation practices our grandparents had in place many years ago,” says Anna.
Joyful Wren Farm’s laying hens are an integral part of the farm. Anna and Laura also grow 2 acres of vegetables and the chickens contribute to produce production through pest management and fertilization. “There is an interconnectedness on the farm, and through their natural behaviors, our laying hens really do contribute to the overall success and management of the farm,” says Anna.
Joyful Wren Farm is committed to encouraging the natural behaviors of their laying hens, raising them outdoors on pasture where they can flap their wings freely, run, dust bathe, and peck and scratch for grubs and seeds. Pasture-based management not only provides the highest welfare conditions for the hens, but also produces healthier eggs containing three times as much vitamin E, seven times more beta-carotene, and twice the omega-3 fatty acids as industrial eggs.
With the growing disconnect of consumers from the source of their food and growing demand for meaningful welfare standards, Joyful Wren Farm found it essential to have third-party validation demonstrating their exceptional practices to a market hungry for truthful information about their food. “The Animal Welfare Approved program really appealed to us because the standards aligned with our animal management goals, and the clear requirements made it easy for us to implement these practices on our farm,” says Anna.
Joyful Wren Farm Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pasture-raised eggs are sold direct from the farm through the farm stand (open daily from 7:30 AM to 6 PM). For more information about Joyful Wren Farm visit joyfulwren.com or contact the farm by calling (312) 715-7627. Follow the farm on Facebook and Instagram.