Wednesday, April 26, 2017
The cold, wet weather here has caused a big drop in egg production at the farm. Clearly the chooks don't like the conditions. It means that we will have difficulty meeting our regular orders until production picks up again - but that's the lot of any free range egg farms if they are doing things properly. Makes it clear why so many keep their chooks locked up in climate controlled sheds.
Sunday, April 23, 2017
The answer to the age-old question about which came first is here: Science has spoken: the egg came first. The modern chicken is a domesticated descendant of the “Red Jungle fowl,” a bird native to the Himalayan foothills. Genetic experts have recently determined though, that there’s a bit of “Grey Jungle fowl” DNA mixed in as well, which accounts for the yellow legs found on the common chicken but not the Red J. Somewhere around 10,000 years ago, therefore – likely in a village or temporary camp in the vicinity of modern-day Thailand – the crossing of a wild Grey rooster with a tame Red hen (or vice versa) produced an egg from which emerged the first modern chicken. So unless the geneticists change their minds, it’s settled. Ten millennia later, this chick’s descendants have a reasonable claim to be the world’s most populous bird. Counting beaks in 2010, the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation found 19.5 billion chickens, producing 1.1 trillion eggs annually. from the website Progressive Economy
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Thursday, April 06, 2017
"Free-range" eggs were on the verge of disappearing from shelves in Britain as a result of the Government's bird flu housing order. Since December British-farmed poultry have been shut in barns under emergency measures to prevent the spread of avian influenza. The free range status of the hens locked in sheds was protected by UK law but by the end of February they had been inside for 12 weeks meaning that under EU laws they could no longer be sold as free range. The housing order banning birds from going outside was to be extended into March but instead the Government dropped the ban and most farms were allowsed to let their hens out. Until the change there was a real prospect that eggs previously from free range farms would have had to be re-labelled for sale as "barn eggs". There would be similar disruption here following major outbreaks of Avian Influenza. If the Government ordered all free range poultry to be locked in sheds, many of us would be forced out of business.Our hens are not beak trimmed, so if they were suddenly locked up in sheds, we would have a massive problem of cannibalism in our flocks.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Research conducted by Hannah Larsen and Dr Jean-Loup Rault, of Melbourne University has been helping to define what 'free range' means. Government standards such as 'meaningful and regular access to the outdoors' and a stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare are completely inadequate and demonstrate how Ministers are corrupted by big business with intensive, industrial-scale production methods - that's not farming. The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission has better guidelines, such as 'hens are able to move about freely on an open range on most days.The research by Melbourne University, funded by the Australian Egg Corporation Ltd was designed to demonstrate how many hens in a flock actually use the range area. The findings are published on the AECL website. See a summary here: https://www.aecl.org/assets/www.aecl.org/outputs/1UM121-Summary.pdf
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Free range eggs are a good source of dietary vitamin D, each egg from hens that spend most of the day outdoors contains about 10% of the required daily value . The vitamin D is concentrated in the yolk. along with most other nutrients such as folic acid. Research in Britain has indicated that when hens are exposed to direct sunlight, they tend to lay paler shelled eggs. All eggs are initially white, and shell colour is the result of the pigments called porphyrins being deposited while the eggs are in the process of formation. In the case of the Rhode Island Red, the brown pigment,derived from haemoglobin in the blood, is what gives the shell its brown colour. Araucana hens produce a pigment called oocyanin, which is a product of bile formation, and results in blue or bluish-green shelled eggs. There is no relationship between egg quality and shell colour. Nutritionally they are the same, but it's always surprising how many people still think that brown eggs come from free-range hens while white ones come from caged hens!The nutritional difference is a result of feed and free access to pasture, grubs and insects
Wednesday, March 01, 2017
The peace and tranquility of life on the Freeranger farm, next to the Grantville Nature Conservation Reserve in West Gippsland seems set to be disrupted. A drilling rig appeared on a property next to us in Stanley Road on Tuesday afternoon. The site was purchased some years ago by a sand extraction company and permits were issued on the basis that there was an urgent need for additional sand resources to meet demand in Melbourne. one permit condition was that their extraction must not adversely impact on water flows through to the Bass River. Presumably the company is drilling in February in an effort to demonstrate that groundwater is limited. They are drilling on part of the site most likely to reveal no groundwater.