Monday, September 29, 2008

New chooks arriving in a couple of weeks

We are preparing for the arrival of a new flock of Isa Brown hens in the middle of October. I completed some repair work on one of the mobile sheds yesterday and I'll be fitting some new skids to another shed today.

This flock will be 200 birds and we have another 200 arriving in November. We don't normally get flocks that close together but we need to ensure we have maxium production for the Christmas holiday period.

Our normal level of production is around 400 dozen eggs a week but during peak holiday periods down here demand soars to over 1000 dozen. Everyone wants more eggs - the shops. restaurants, home delivery customers and shoppers at the Farmers' Markets.

Trying to keep that balance right between production and demand is the big trick.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Free Range hens don't need to be de-beaked

Claims by a staff member of the Australian Egg Corporation that flocks of free range hens needed to be de-beaked to prevent cannibalism have been met with derision in the industry.
The Victorian rural newspaper, The Weekly Times, ran the story on its front page this week. Have a look at
The reality is that if hens show aggressive and cannibalistic tendencies it's an indication that the flocks are too large, the wrong strains of birds have been selected or that the farm has poor management practices (or all of the above). Beak trimming or de-beaking is not necessary on a true free range farm where the hens are not confined.

Friday, September 19, 2008

New pump on our house

I finally got sick of trying to the fix up the electric pump on our home water system. I bought a new pump on ebay about five months ago and it has been nothing but trouble ever since. It would work for a week or two and then stop.
The place I bought it from were helpful in sending a new part which got it going for a week or two and then something else would go wrong.
So.... yesterday I went out and paid over $1200 for a Grundfos pump which is now working well and hopefully will keep going.
The advantage of paying for a decent pump is that the major parts are stainless steel - and not the plastic insides disguised by a stainless steel outer cover.
It's great finally being able to turn on the taps again and have water come out in a rush rather than a trickle! Made it hard to have a shower.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Food Miles

An evaluation of the environmental benefits of 'Food Miles' as a measure for determining the greenhouse impacts of the food we buy has been conducted by staff of the Victorian Government Department of Primary Industries. Their report is at
It concludes that 'Food Miles' is not a valid indicator of environmental performance but carefully ignores that it can be a vital part of any farm's sustainability processes. We have a farm 'food miles' policy that limits our deliveries to within one hour of the farm. We don't claim that on its own, that makes our eggs and other products 'sustainable'. But combined with our production methods and the way we run our farm business, it is a part of our overall strategy to ensure we have minimal adverse environmental impacts.
It seems to be yet another example of bureaucrats locking themselves in a room and coming up with a document which ignores reality but which tries to push the economic imperitive and the god 'growth'

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Demand still outstripping our ability to supply

We are still receiving enquiries for eggs even though all our production is fully committed for supplying our existing customers.
The latest enquiry is from La Trobe University at Bundoora, Melbourne, which wants to phase out cage eggs and introduce free range.
They only need around 60 dozen a week but it's hard for us to guarantee to supply that many when our order book is already full.
The other issue is the distance involved. We have a farm food miles policy which restricts our deliveries to within one hour of the farm.
That's why the only markets we do are Farmers' Markets in our region. Churchill Island is only 15 - 20 minutes away and Inverloch, Korumburra and Pakenham are only 30 - 35 minutes.
We have passed the La Trobe Uni request on to other members of the Free Range Farmers Association to see if anyone is able to supply. It's important to encourage the changeover to free range (especially from an accredited source rather than the pretend free range often seen in supermarkets)