Thursday, May 24, 2018

Intensive 'free range'egg production is a con in Australia

Major grocery retailers in Britain announced last year that they were moving away from caged eggs from 2025.The British Free Range Egg and Poultry Association says there had been a general misunderstanding that this meant eggs from caged hens would be replaced with free-range. However, BFREPA says that retailers intend to meet their commitments by shifting to eggs produced in barn systems. It says this will be more cost-effective and help supermarkets to deliver a “value” product. It’s completely different here in Australia where politicians caved in to industry pressure and are allowing eggs from intensive farms to be labelled as free range.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Free range hens follow their normal life rythms without lights in sheds

Maintaining egg production on a free range farm is often challenging.As with many real farms, we are affected by daily weather patterns and the seasons. Egg production has been dropping here in recent weeks because of the drop in daylight hours. to consistently lay eggs, hens need about 14 hours of daylight and 8 hours of darkness when they're roosting. Once less than 12 hours of daylight is available, egg productions slows down considerably if not ceases completely. Some people think colder weather causes the decrease in egg-laying, but even chickens in warm climates produce fewer eggs once daylight hours decline. Big producers maintain egg laying numbers by installing lights in sheds to trick the hens into keeping on eating and laying eggs/ We prefer to allow our hens to follow their normal rythmns of life. This issue is the reason for the development of intensive systems hens locked in climate-controlled sheds (whether or not in cages).Clearly,the intensive system is far more cost-effective and profitable.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Politicians get another kick for allowing an intensive 'free range' standard for chickens

An Australian study has revealed the absurdity of intensive free range standards approved by politicians.The standards allow eggs to be labelled as free range even when they are are produced on properties with an outdoor stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare. It showed that free-range chickens spend more time outside when there are fewer hens per hectare and greater outside space available, according to research by the University of New England and CSIRO in conjunction with the Poultry Cooperative Research Centre. Dr Dana Campbell from the School of Environmental and Rural Science says greater consumer interest in animal welfare is driving change in the laying hen industry in Australia with an increase in free-range farms. Six small flocks of 150 ISA brown hens were tracked by researchers using radio-frequency identification tracking technology that identified individual hens by their microchipped leg bands. Each flock had access to one of three different outdoor stocking densityareas, the first was 2000 hens per hectare, the second 10 000 hens/ha and the third 20 000 hens/ha. “What we found is that hens with the lowest outdoor stocking density of 2000 hens per hectare spent more time outdoors, while  hens housed at the highest stocking density of 20 000 hens/ha spent the least time outside,” Dr Campbell said. The study found that on average about half the hens were outside simultaneously, using all available areas of the range. This study was probably the first which dealt with genuine free range poultry. Most other researchers confine their work to large industrial-scale flocks, because they generally fund the research.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

We can help anyone set up a free range farm

Starting a rural lifestyle venture – such as free range egg production can be a rewarding business – as added income for an existing venture or as a stand-alone business. Political changes to the definition of ‘free range’ has put the spotlight on free range production and has increased demand for genuine free range eggs. But where do you start? An eBook available and a series of webinars on establishing small free range farms is being designed by Victorian free range farmers Anne and Phil Westwood of Freeranger Eggs, near Phillip Island. Anyone who wants to encourage more people to set up genuine free range egg farms can support a Crowd Funding appeal to develop a series of on-line webinars. These will encourage more traditional free range egg farms to be established throughout the country. Freeranger Eggs is getting more requests about running workshops from people wanting to enter the free range industry. The extra activity has been brought on by the political decision to allow consumers to be misled by industrial-scale egg producers who are now legally allowed to label their eggs as free range. The Crowd funding appeal is at: https://www.gofundme.com/2tar52c

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Our eggs sell out every week

We are still selling out of eggs every week. Every Sunday, no eggs are left on the farm.As a farm policy we stipulate that we will only sell eggs that are less than a week old. In reality most of our eggs reach customers within a day or two of being laid – unlike eggs in supermarkets which are usually at least six weeks old before they reach the shelves. And, of course, eggs in supermarkets are all from intensive farms because they are the only producers with enough volume to meet stupidmarket demands. In addition, virtually all eggs sold in supermarkets are laid by hens fed colouring additives to enhance yolk colour. Many people have allergic reactions to those additives.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Yolk colour varies with the seasons

It’s a pity that chefs aren’t taught about seasonality in food when they go through their training. Even celebrity chefs on the myriad TV cooking shows mislead viewers and display great ignorance about the way seasons can affect food. Eggs are a great example. They rabbit on about being able to tell that eggs are free range because they always have a vibrant yolk colour. Well that simply isn’t true, With genuine free range hens,yolk colour will always vary, depending on how much green feed there is in the pasture. If the yolk colour is always a bright golden/orange, the hens are being fed colouring additives and the eggs may well be from cages or barns. So always look for variations in yolk colour. A couple of the additives are canthaxanthin and astaxanthin. For more about colouring additives and allergies, check out our website.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Australia's "free range" stocking density is not set in stone

The action of Australian politicians in allowing poultry farms with stocking densities of 10,000 hens per hectare to describe their eggs as free range, opens up some major issues. One is that consumers won’t accept that definition and another is that most planning authorities are unlikely to accept such a density because of issues like odour, contamination of land, aquifers and waterways. It's likely that many planning authorities will refuse permits for new free range farms because of the absurdly high standards developed by politicians. If you agree that this country needs more low density small-scale free range egg farms to meet consumer demand, please share the link to our crowd funding appeal. The money is needed to ensure webinars are presented to a professional standard. They will encourage more traditional free range egg farms to be established throughout the country. The Crowd funding appeal is at: https://www.gofundme.com/2tar52c

Food Safety inspections

We had our food safety inspection by Bass Coast Shire Health Department yesterday. As our current registration is valid until December 31, I assume that this inspection and certificate will take us through to the end of 2019. It's unfair that so many dodgy backyard egg sellers get away with not being registered and fail to comply with any standards. This week, the new ludicrous free range standard came into effect and now, those of who comply with regulations have to clutter up our labels with more rubbish - our outdoor stocking density. We have a maximum of 40 hens per hectare while the standard allows 10,000 on each hectare.