A "inspirational" Wiltshire farm has earned world-renowned accreditation for its welfare.

New MacDonalds Farm near Kingsdown is now Certified Animal Welfare Approved and Certified Non-GMO by A Greener World (AGW) for their laying hens.

Matthew and Louise MacDonald manage their flock of hens outdoors on pasture, where they are able to perform natural behaviours like running, dust bathing, pecking and scratching 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 barn eggs.

Matthew said: “Welfare is hugely important to us and our main aim is to produce the best quality produce from the happiest animals.

“Our birds are free to roam our herbal-rich pasture where they can eat plants, insects and seeds, and also receive a totally natural feed diet, including corn, flax and kelp.

"In return, they lay our hugely popular ‘Quattro Coloured Eggs’, with mixed shell colours ranging from the palest pastel blue to the richest, spotty chocolate, and there are always a minimum of four colours guaranteed in each box!"

This is the third Wiltshire farm to meet the AGW programme standards, which were developed in collaboration with scientists, veterinarians, researchers and farmers across the globe to maximise practicable, high-welfare farm management.

The accreditation earned by the MacDonalds verifies that animals are raised outdoors on pasture in accordance with world-renowned welfare standards using sustainable agriculture methods on an independent farm.

A Greener World UK and Europe executive director Wayne Copp said: "New MacDonalds Farm’s certifications from A Greener World recognise that high standards of animal welfare and environmental management are not only good for farmed livestock and the planet, but that labelling with our seal makes good commercial sense in speaking clearly and directly to consumers seeking food they can feel good about.

"What New MacDonalds Farm has achieved is nothing short of an inspiration for all forward-thinking UK producers.”

The Non-GMO certification is an optional, additional accreditation for farmers meeting Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW standards of production and offers assurance of high-welfare and non-GMO farming practices.