Monday, January 22, 2007

The size of eggs and value per kilogram

It's taken me a while to even think about this (and I have no idea why it took so long) but I've just worked out the relative value per kilo of the different size eggs our hens lay.
We offer six sizes of eggs starting with pullets eggs when a new flock begins to lay. They work out at $3.60 per kilo.
A 500 gram 10 pack (50 gram eggs) works out at $8 per kilo, a 700 g dozen pack is $7.80 a kilo, 770 g packs are $7.80 a kilo, 840 g packs are $7.70 a kilo and 950 g megga packs (some of these eggs are over 100 grams each) are $7.40 per kilo.
The pullets eggs obviously represent top value and we will pushing them at the Churchill Island Farmers' Market on Australia Day.
The protein content of eggs is 124 gram per kilo so it's the best value protein on the market.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Frequently Asked Questions about Free Range Eggs

The question I am asked most often is “How do I know your hens are really free range”? The answer is very simple – because we are inspected once a year by the Free Range Farmers Association to ensure that we comply with their regulations. If the inspector found that we had de-beaked birds on the property, we had too many hens in our sheds or that our pasture cover wasn’t adequate for the numbers of hens we had, our accreditation would be withdrawn. Similarly if we didn’t have an audit trail which showed how many eggs we produced and how many were sold – we would have a few questions to answer!

Then we are asked “How fresh are the eggs”? Demand for our eggs is so great that they are basically laid to order. Our regular deliveries often have to wait a few minutes (or a couple of hours) while enough eggs are laid the fill the orders. It’s great for the customers but a bit of a nightmare for us waiting to get enough eggs to start the delivery run. The answer is that the eggs are always fresh – some are delivered very soon after being laid (still warm), some may be delivered a day or two later as the order is filled. None of our eggs hang around in the cool room more than a day or two.

Another favorite is “How often do you collect the eggs”? We collect eggs by hand at least three times a day – mid morning, around lunchtime and mid afternoon. When we are desperate to fill an order we will collect more frequently.

Sometimes people want to know “How do you package the eggs”? Once they are collected and delivered into the air-conditioned grading room, the eggs are inspected for any obvious cracks or dirt. We wash none of our eggs – we believe that washed eggs should be regarded as seconds and not retailed. If a farm has a significant number of dirty eggs, it has a management problem! Any eggs which require more than a light buffing with a dry abrasive pad are disgarded. All first quality eggs are then candled (passed over a light mechanism to illuminate the egg and show any hairline cracks, air bubbles or blood spots inside. Any eggs which fail this test are also disgarded. The eggs then continue through the grading process where they are graded according to weight, placed into egg cartons (or on trays for restaurants) and labelled accordingly. It is a requirement for new cartons to be used and for labelling to include details of the producer, a 'best before' or 'use by' date, a nutritian panel and the production method - free range, cage or barn.
If you see eggs for sale in second hand cartons don't buy them, and better still, report the seller to your local council health inspector because it's your health which is at risk. All egg producers who sell their eggs (even if only a couple of dozen a week) must have a food safety program in place and must comply with the same regulations as registered producers.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Free Range Eggs - what are they? Consumer Survey

We've had a good response to the survey on what free range egg buyers think they are buying. Some of the early results have been collated and are published on this Blog, but we would like more input.

In many parts of the world there is no real national definition of the term free range which means the same to you as it does to producers. It is helping to get a meaningful definition by getting the industry to understand what consumers think free range eggs are.

In New South Wales a definition is published on the website of the Department of Primary Industries - but it is not enforced!

Please take a little time to respond with your thoughts about what “Free Range” means to you.
For example:

Do you think free range hens forage over pasture during most daylight hours?

Do you think there is a limit on the number of hens in one shed or on one area of land? If so how many hens and how large should the area of land be?

Do you think free range hens are de-beaked (or beak trimmed)?

Do you look for accreditation details on the label to ensure that the eggs you buy are really free range?

Is it OK to use lighting to extend daylight hours in free range sheds (to increase the numbers of eggs laid) ?

Do you buy free range eggs because: they taste better; more humane treatment of animals; or some other reason?

Where do you buy your free range eggs; from a supermarket, health food shop, local store, direct from a farm or do you have home delivery?

Please write as much or as little as you like on each topic and feel free to add any additional thoughts.

Email address:


Here is a transcript from an Australian TV program which details many of the concerns facing consumers and legitimate free range producers

Monday, January 15, 2007

Did we come from Mars?

With each passing year we (the human race) seem to get better at stuffing up this planet. To some this suggests that we have experience.

So does this mean that we moved here from somewhere else - such as Mars?
That is a pretty dry and dusty planet which seems to be the model we are hell-bent on re-creating here.

It doesn't take much of an intellect to work out the problems we are causing with deforestation. One of man's greatest achievements was the creation of the Sahara Desert - and we want to create more in Australia, the Amazon Basin and just about everywhere, all in the name of progress and the ultimate God - development.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Biodiesel - Chicken Power?

Two US entrepreneurs say they will spend $5 million building a biodiesel plant using chicken fat to produce fuel.
Chicken fat is an economic alternative to soybean oil – which accounts for around 90 percent of all biodiesel fuel stock, but is now increasing in price. Currently, Soybean oil costs around 72 cents a kilo, while chicken fat costs 42 cents.
Jerry Bagby and Harold Williams, through their company Global Fuels, plan to refine chicken fat and mix it with soybean oil to produce more than 13 million litres of biodiesel annually.
A nearby poultry plant will be an ideal source of the fat, which is usually shipped away to be rendered as a cheap ingredient to flavour soup as well as pet food, soap and other products.
It seems that cheap animal fats will be increasingly sought as a resource for biodiesel, and many large corporations will jump on the bandwagon.
Vernon Eidman, a biofuel expert at the University of Minnesota, estimates that within five years the US will produce 4.5 billion litres of biodiesel and that half of it will be made from animal fat. By that time, soybean-based biodiesel will account for about 20 percent of the total, he said.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Two clowns on trail bikes

It's New Years Day and two people on trail bikes have just ridden into the Grantville Flora Reserve - not a smart thing to do in summer (quite apart from it being illegal).
If they start a fire with their hot exhausts, people will whinge and wail - but the dumb thing is they are probably from a residential estate near the reserve and it's their homes which are risk.
The bikes almost certainly aren't registered either so if they hit someone there will be quite a legal tussle.
If these are kids, parents don't seem to realise (or care) the implications for them if their children are involved in an incident which causes injury or property loss.