AN enterprising Darlington businessman has set up a home delivery service – for eggs from his 16,000 hens.

When it comes to the ability to deliver a high-quality product safely to customers, you’d be forgiven for thinking it would be an impossible task in the case of fresh eggs.

But that’s exactly what Phil Twizell, of The Good Egg Fellas promises his customers, who include cafes, restaurants and bakeries throughout the UK.

Phil has had bespoke sturdy cardboard boxes made for transit and – while there have been one or two mishaps – the eggs arrive in perfect condition.

“With our eggs, you get the ultimate in freshness, as we get them out on the day of lay,” he says.

“The only way you can get them any fresher is to have your own hens.

“When we started out, we sold the eggs on the general wholesale market, which is quite volatile, but we have always sold a few privately to local customers – and that side of the business has grown organically.”

Phil previously kept pigs, but in 2009, he decided to devote life on his farm to hens.

“At the time, I didn’t know anything about hens,” admits Phil, who now prides himself on the exceptional quality on his RSPCA-assured farm.

His 16,000 hens have an impressive range to roam in, including the shelter of 4,000 specially planted bee-friendly trees and a winter garden, which enables the hens to shelter when outside.

“Before I started in free range, I did a veterinary husbandry course and lots of research on hens but hen husbandry has proved to be one of those things you learn as you go on,” he explained.

But with the help of some clever marketing from the team at North Yorkshire-based clickthrough digital Ltd, the demand for Good Egg Fella eggs delivered direct to the door is growing and growing.

“Our new website and the work Stephen Prince at clickthrough has done has helped to take the household sales to the next level,” says Phil.

“About 50 per cent of the eggs go to London, where they like the quality and freshness of the eggs.

The farm produces 105,000 eggs every week, but every 15 months, the flock is changed – and it takes six weeks before the new hens start producing.

“We had thought that to justify the cost of the delivery you need to get a decent quantity of eggs and we would need to sell them in minimum batches of 90 eggs – but we are increasingly selling trays of 30 eggs direct to households,” Phil says.

“However, if you have some friends and they all club together to buy 90 it works out a lot cheaper.”

The team also works hard to ensure the hens are protected from respiratory diseases, with a vaccine programme in place. Strict biosecurity protocols protect against avian influenza, including vehicles washing their wheels as they enter the premises.