Wednesday, June 28, 2006

different production systems

We get a heap of calls and emails about different egg production systems and which eggs are best.
The reality is that choosing cage eggs, barn laid or free range is a matter of consumer choice.

There is no way that a genuine free range farm with a few hundred or even a few thousand hens can compete on price with a barn system which has 100,000 birds locked in a shed or 500,000 birds in cages.

The big operations have much lower input costs per dozen eggs - the feed price is lower if you buy 50 tonnes at a time, cartons are cheaper if you buy a semi-trailer load and labour costs are lower. Often only one person is needed to operate a shed (even it houses 300,000 birds) because virtually everything is computer controlled.

A true free range farm is labour intensive and ensures there is regular interaction with the birds and other animals on the farm. Collecting eggs, making sure water and feed are available at all times needs to be more than just pushing a button on a computer!

Phil Westwood

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