Outdoor hen party video goes viral (+ video)

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A video showing thousands of free-range hens rushing out to large open paddocks in Northland has gone clucking mad online with almost 1.2 million views.

The video published last Saturday has been viewed more than 1,193,000 times by people from around the world as of yesterday.

The 5 minute 31 seconds of footage shows a huge flock of happy hens heading for their 4ha playground at Otaika Valley Free Range, south of Whangarei, Northland, after the doors to the barn are opened at 8am.

The wave of orange-coloured hens spread out across the grassy paddock with some lining the edge of a cattle trough to drink water.

At night the hens return to the security of a barn.

Otaika Valley sales manager William Sandle said the company posted videos all the time but this one had caught the eye of international websites.

"I think it's surprised a lot of people to see hens with lots of space. It was only when we were inundated with overseas emails and Facebook posts we realised our farm had gone viral," Mr Sandle said.

"For us, the video shows our day-to-day world but for others it provides a glimpse of free range farming, and it's entertaining. Our hens do what and when they want."

The company has had inquiries from as far as Germany about the video.

Otaika Valley Free Range is one of New Zealand's largest producers of free range eggs and its production has recently been noticed by Countdown who are now selling the brand through 50 of its upper North Island supermarkets. It also supplies free range eggs to McDonalds.

The video has gone viral just a few days after another New Zealand farming video, of a flock of sheep blocking a road near Gisborne, went viral with 2.5 million views.

Called "lamb-pede" on YouTube it was posted by a Canadian tourist.

- Northern Advocate

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