Where does Marks & Spencer Oakham™ chicken come from?
All Marks & Spencer fresh Oakham™ chickens (whole birds and portions) are reared on specially selected, known and audited farms in the UK. Oakham™ chicken is exclusive to Marks & Spencer. Our strict traceability policy means we can trace each bird back to the farm where it was reared. So proud are we of our Oakham™ chicken farmers, we even put the name of the farmer who reared the bird and the county where it was produced on the packaging.
What are the chickens fed?
We’ve developed our own Code of Practice for poultry feed to ensure the birds are fed a wholesome diet for optimum health and welfare. All poultry feed used in our supply chain originates from known, independently audited feed mills. Oakham™ chickens have an improved flavour and succulence because they’re fed a bespoke diet that’s cereal based with a high maize content.
We prohibit the addition of any animal- or avian-derived by-products in any of our feeds. This applies to the breeding birds as well as the chickens reared for food.
What are the living conditions for Oakham™ chickens?
Oakham chickens are reared in controlled-environment barns. The birds are housed on straw or wood shavings and have constant access to food and water. The temperature and lighting levels in the house are controlled by the farmer. We’ve adopted the RSPCA’s recommendations on stocking density, therefore birds are housed at a maximum of 30kg/m2. The environment in which the birds are housed is enriched to encourage bird movement and activity and features straw bales, which the birds use for pecking and perching. The chickens have natural daylight.
Our Oakham™ free-range chickens are reared in similar houses to standard chickens but have constant daytime access to the range on which they are free to roam. In the free-range system, the internal house stocking density is 27kg/m2 and the area of range is determined on the basis of 1m2 per bird. Conifer wigwams are used to provide overhead shelter for the birds on the range and encourage more chickens to leave the barn.
Are any Marks & Spencer chickens kept in cages?
No, none of our chickens are ever kept in cages.
What is the difference between a free-range organic and a free-range Oakham ™ chicken?
Both organic and free-range chickens have access to the outside. The principal difference is that the organic chicken feed, and the pasture on which it ranges, is organic.
How do you ensure Marks & Spencer Oakham™ chicken is produced to high standards of animal welfare?
We’re committed to the highest standards of animal welfare. Together with our suppliers we’ve developed detailed Codes of Practice, which fall in line with recommendations from the government’s independent advisory body, the Farm Animal Welfare Committee. We meet regularly with animal welfare organisations, such as the RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming. All farms supplying Marks & Spencer are audited by our own technologists and trained, skilled auditors who know our detailed standards. Before any farm can supply Marks & Spencer, it must meet the requirements of our Codes of Practice. Any that does not is simply not used.
Are they fed any antibiotics?
If a bird is ill or there is a threat of disease, the veterinary surgeon responsible for the care of that chicken is permitted to use antibiotics for treatment. We don’t permit the use of antibiotics for growth promotion in any of our chickens.
Are they given any hormones?
No. It is illegal to administer any growth-promoting hormones to any animal used for food production in the UK and throughout the EU.
Are Marks & Spencer fresh Oakham™ chickens really fresh or have they ever been frozen?
They are all fresh (Class A) and have never been frozen
Does Marks & Spencer fresh Oakham™ Chicken contain added water?
No, we don’t add any water to our chicken.
We hope you’re really enjoying your new Cook with M&S cookbook and all the delicious recipes inside. Unfortunately, we were so excited to share it with you that we didn’t notice there was a small misprint in our recipe for roast lamb with rosemary and anchovy gremolata on p111. The cooking time is 1 hour 25–45 minutes (depending on how you like your lamb cooked) not 25 minutes. We’ve included the full updated recipe here, and apologise for any inconvenience caused.
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