Saturday, December 29, 2018
The Victorian Government has trashed requirements for egg farm annual inspections by Councils which ensured compliance with food safety regulations. Councils no longer have any role with the registration of egg farms. Our Council Bass Coast Shire told us “All businesses that sell eggs now fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources”. The government has failed to advise of any proposed inspection requirements.The mega department of DEDJR incorporates Agriculture and we believe that this bureaucratic change will allow more dodgy egg producers to set up businesses without any scrutiny because the Department has few extension staff to undertake inspections, it follows the ludicrous political decision to allow eggs produced in intensive facilities to be labeled free range.
Saturday, December 22, 2018
The farm is back on-line now after last week's electrical storm took out our phone line and fried the modem. We have a new Net Comm Wireless modem bought when we were supposed to be connected to the National Broadband Network.It's finally being put to work after lying on the office floor for 6 or 7 months.
Our eggs are now stocked at Macca's Farm, Glen Forbes. They have a wide range of produce including Angus beef, free range pork, lamb, strawberries - and now our eggs.
Thursday, December 13, 2018
Monday, November 12, 2018
In addition to a Canadian breakthrough in identifying male embryos in chicken eggs before hatching, German scientists have developed alternative technology which will revolutionise the egg hatching industry. Scientists at Leipzig University, have developed a laser method that may spare millions of male chicks which are culled every year. They aim to provide the technology free to hatcheries throughout the world by 2020. The method allows hatcheries to determine the sex of chicks before they hatch by extracting a small sample from each egg to test for a hormone.
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Friday, November 02, 2018
A small number of 15week old Isa Brown point of lay pullets will be ready for pick up at the farm in the last week of November. They are vaccinated and fully beaked. $28 each. Second year birds are also available at just $14.
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Australian egg farmers responded to fast growing domestic demand with the record breaking production of 6.2 billion eggs in the 2017-18 financial year. Statistics from Australian Eggs also show average consumption in Australia has risen to 245 eggs per person per year. Australian Eggs says the long term trend of increasing free range demand has continued with the proportion of free range supermarket volume increased to 45%, which for the first time was just above cage egg sales at 44%. But, of course, the eggs in supermarkets are not really free range – they are just labelled to maximise profits for corporate producers. Our eBook and webinars will help to boost the number of genuine free range farms to better meet demand.
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Help to set up local small farms to secure sustainable farming and combat climate change. Every community should be able to buy food from farmers in their area rather than rely on produce trucked from warehouses across the country Free range webinar participation The first webinar on setting up a free range farm is scheduled for World Egg Day next year, Friday October 11. A crowd funding appeal has been established to ensure a top quality presentation for participants. https://www.gofundme.com/2tar52c Donations will need to pick up by June if we are to run the first webinar on schedule.
Saturday, October 06, 2018
Next Friday, October 12 is World Egg Day. It was founded by the International Egg Commission (in Vienna in 1996. The idea behind the day was raising awareness across the world, of the important place eggs have in human nutrition. The first webinar on setting up a free range farm is planned for World Egg Day next year – Friday October 11 if sufficient funds are raised in a crowd funding appeal by Freeranger Eggs of Grantville, South Gippsland. The farm already has an eBook available for anyone who wants to establish a genuine free range farm. The crowd funding appeal is at https://www.gofundme.com/2tar52c
Sunday, September 30, 2018
The hens as laying a huge number of very large eggs at present, some well over 100 grams each so we have plenty of Megga packs available - net weight is a min of 950 grams with most over 1kg. We label them as 'Meggas'. Now our new flock has started laying we also have pullets eggs available - small egg that are ideal for young children or as canapes.
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Starting a free range egg farm can be a rewarding business – as added income for an existing venture or as a stand-alone business. Low density production results in more sustainable production and climate benefits in the form of carbon sequestration, it also produces eggs that taste better than those from intensive systems where the hens are fed a processed diet. Political changes to the definition of ‘free range’ has put the spotlight on eggs and has increased demand for genuine free range eggs. But where do people start. A series of webinars on establishing small free range farms is being designed by Anne and Phil Westwood of Freeranger Eggs. We believe that encouraging new small-scale start up farms is a better option for the industry and consumers than trashing regulations to allow intensive production systems to label eggs as free range.The current fundraising appeal has stalled and we need to kick it along so we will be ready for the first webinar in October next year on World Egg Day Anyone who wants to encourage more people to set up genuine free range egg farms can support our 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 and overseas. 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
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Genuine free range poultry farms should be best placed to ride out the storm coming with spiralling feed costs caused by a shortage of grains. The cost of poultry feed is certain to continue to rise given the expectation of a lower grain harvest this year. Our feed cost is currently $475 a tonne and it will probably peak at around $550. With a low stocking density. our hens are able to get around 50% of their feed from the paddocks, so the cost of the supplementary ration may not be a major financial burden.
Friday, September 07, 2018
We areencouraging people to set up more free range farms to help meet strong consumer demand for genuine free range eggs. Local and overseas enquiries are being received asking about the suitability for different climates of an eBook and webinars being developed for egg production. The answer is Yes, the information in the webinars and the eBook is applicable virtually anywhere. The only significant differences are in local regulations and climatic conditions. Clearly extreme weather will require special attention – as will potential predators. It’s rather different protecting chickens from Grizzly bears, lions or tigers compared with protecting them from foxes or Tasmanian Devils. A growing number of people realise that all eggs on supermarket shelves are from intensive production systems – despite claims on labels.To ensure that the webinars are produced to a professional standard, we need significant support for our crowd funding appeal. Details about the eBook and a crowd funding appeal for the webinars can be found on the Freeranger Eggs website. www.freeranger.com.au The crowd funding appeal is here: https://www.gofundme.com/2tar52c
Wednesday, September 05, 2018
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 the level of unfair competition from big business against small family farms.Another is that consumers won’t accept that definition. 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.
Saturday, August 25, 2018
Our new flock of ISA Brown pullets will start laying any day to keep up supplies for our regular customers. The 200 young hens settled in well and quickly accepted their big white Maremma guardian. We will soon have pullets eggs eggs available as well as our normal range of egg sizes from 950gram Megga dozens, 840g, 750g and 700g packs.UPDATE Monday, they have now started laying 3 or 4 eggs a day.
Sunday, August 19, 2018
Many egg producers could be forced out of business with looming increases in the cost of poultry feed as a result of an expected poor grain harvest caused by drought. Egg farmers across Australia are facing skyrocketing costs for feed, with grain prices rising as much as 60 per cent, from $280 to $450 per tonne in six month and expected to climb higher. With feed making up at least 60 per cent of egg production costs, many producers are losing 20 per cent on their farm gate or wholesale prices. the problem is most acute for cage and barn operations and the many thousands of intensive producers who pretend they are free range. Businesses with high stocking densities of 10,000 hens per hectare are unlikely to remain viable - so maybe we can all say 'goodbye' to the crooks.
Friday, August 17, 2018
CSIRO is calling for community input into research for Australian Eggs, covering sustainability,animal welfare and foods safety. To help them get a full picture, have your say! The survey is simple and doesn't take long to complete. https://research.csiro.au/eggs/
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
The spread of disease through large flocks of poultry has been a farming issue for years and was one of the key reasons for introducing cages to allow for intensive egg production designed to meet demand.High outdoor stocking densities - such as the 10,000 hens per hectare approved by politicians in Australia is a recipe for disaster - not only for the hens but for food safety and the viability of farms. Details about poultry disease control have been published by the Poultry Hub http://www.poultryhub.org/health/health-management/ The article does not cover the additional problems of land sustainability, potential contamination of eggs sold to consumers as well as contamination of waterways and groundwater caused by high nutrient loads.
Monday, August 06, 2018
Canadian research will soon end the killing of day old male chicks at hatcheries around the world. Industry body,Egg Farmers of Ontario is in the process of patenting a process which it says can determine the sex of a chick before eggs are incubated. Machinery manufacturers should soon have a prototype candling device available to determine the sex of embryos in eggs on the day an egg is laid.The hyper-eye technology uses Near Infrared Spectroscopy to deliver the outcomes. Research has been conducted in a number of countries, but it seems that Canada has beaten everyone to the punch by developing a system to identify male embryos and prevent them from being hatched. This will remove one of the major arguments from animal activists against egg farmers. They currently attack even free range farms over the destruction of male chicks at hatcheries because they are regarded as a by-product as they are unable to lay eggs.
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Sunday, July 29, 2018
We are receiving overseas enquiries about the suitability of our eBook and proposed webinars for egg production in different countries. The answer is Yes, the information in the webinars and the eBook is applicable virtually anywhere. The only significant differences are in local regulations and climatic conditions. Clearly extreme weather will require special attention – as will potential predators. It’s rather different tending chickens in arctic and equatorial conditions and protecting them from Grizzly Bears,lions or Tigers compared with protecting them from Foxes or Tasmanian Devils. Check out our website for details on obtaining an eBook and supporting the webinars.
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Our lay rate has dropped considerably because of shorter daylight hours - but now we hope production will start to pick up. Fewer eggs make it difficult to meet our regular orders - and means that we can't think of accepting new orders even though there is huge demand.This is the penalty for genuine free range egg farming. If we joined the majority of other egg producers we could maintain year-round production by locking our hens in climate controlled sheds with artificial lighting. But we don't think that's fair on the hens or on consumers who are prepared to pay a premium to meet the costs of genuine free range production. We get back to our old message - if you want free range eggs don't go to a supermarket because you won't find any there.
Friday, July 20, 2018
Australian Eggs is urging all free range poultry farmers to register to use a worming compound Flubendazole even though some studies have shown residues in egg. Australian Eggs claims that an increase in free range egg production has been accompanied by an increase in parasitic worm infestations, which negatively affects bird health. The reality is that there has not been an increase in free range production - just an increase in eggs labelled as 'free range' even though they are from intensive factory systems. Australian Eggs says"As there are limited anti-parasitic drugs available for use in laying hens, the industry is seeking to register an alternative drug, flubendazole, to treat currently untreatable parasitic worm infections". An application has been put forward to the AVPMA by Elanco, requesting the use of flubendazole across all free range laying hens. On those genuine free range properties where hens are at low stocking densities, there should be no significant worm burden problems. Minor infestations are easily treated with natural remedies. Problems are generally only found on the many intensive farms which masquerade as free range.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10435292
Saturday, July 14, 2018
Our eBook on starting a free range farm is still available. Just visit our website at www.freeranger.com.au to order.It's full of practical details on establishing your own free range egg farm. Once our webinars are underway, the eBook will be sent to everyone who registers.
Deception by major Australian egg producers over ‘free range’ claims has been confirmed by Australian Eggs, the industry’s peak marketing and research body. Newly released environmental guidelines for egg farmers state that “the majority of manure is deposited in sheds.” This is a clear acknowledgement that most hens on these so-called free range farms are kept in sheds despite legal requirements that they must have ‘meaningful and regular access to an outdoor range during the daylight hours of the laying cycle and are able to roam and forage on the outdoor range.’ If those conditions are met, politicians allow poultry farms with stocking densities of 10,000 hens per hectare to describe their eggs as free range, but the disclosure in the guidelines just released shows that most producers do not comply with the requirements.The revelation confirms the view of genuine free range farmers that the only way the 10,00 hens per hectare density can work is if the hens are locked in sheds and the manure is collected and transported off farm. Otherwise, the high density presents major environmental, food safety and animal health issues with the sheer volume of manure per hectare posing problems of land degredation and pollution.Many planning authorities are unlikely to accept such a high density and Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has said that “Local and State planning laws also apply to free range hen farms.” It is expected that the Australian competition and Consumer Commission will investigate the industry practice revealed by Australian Eggs and may launch more successful prosecutions in the Federal Court.
Saturday, July 07, 2018
The Freeranger Eggs property is ecologically important because it is a vegetated link between the Grantville Nature Conservation Reserve and the Bass River and forms part of the only riparian forest left on the river. Farm activities were designed to minimise off-site and on-site impacts. All creek lines are vegetated to maintain water quality run off into the Bass. A study backed by the Federal Government's Envirofund program found that free range farming practices are viable and have minimal impacts on the environment. The study, carried out on five properties in the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Authority area showed that properly managed free range egg farms have many benefits - including long term sustainability. The Freeranger Farm was one of the participants and we believe that low density production is the key to sustainability. "It doesn't make any real difference whether you are running cattle, sheep or chooks, if your stocking rate is too high you will run into trouble" is our philosophy. It's hard to justify European farming practices in many parts of Australia - they simply don't work with our soil types and climate. The frequency of droughts is a clear example of the stupidity in trying to maintain exotic pastures and growing crops which require huge and unsustainable inputs. Apart from the massive problems of erosion and salinity, the inputs needed to maintain unrealistically high production levels create unhealthy nutrient loads and reduce farm viability over the years. The report demonstrates that stocking densities have a direct impact on feed costs. Supplementary feed inputs rose significantly as stocking rates increased. Once the results were produced in table form it was easy to see that a free range egg farm with a stocking rate of 9 Dry Sheep Equivalent (DSE) per hectare, produced an egg laying rate of 70% with feed consumption of 26 kg per bird per year. A farm with a stocking rate of 75 DSE per hectare produced a lay rate of 65% with feed consumption almost double at 48 kg per bird. At current prices that's an added cost of nearly $10 a year for each bird - which doesn't sound much until you multiply it over the whole flock. The Freeranger Farm is at the most productive end of the scale. Pasture management here has been aimed at increasing the amount of native grasses in the vegetated cover. The report showed that soils on the farm were acidic and had relatively low nutrient levels. We regarded it as counter productive to try to change the soil balance to favour exotic grasses and a management style was chosen with a preference for adapting farm practices to fit the natural soil types on this farm. Microlaena stipoides is one of Australia's most important native grasses with a widespread distribution in the eastern States. Its bright green colour, drought and frost resistance as well as shade tolerance make it superior to any non-native species as it has evolved for thousands of years in the dry and unpredictable Australian climate. It is easily out-competed by exotic grasses in neutral or alkaline soil conditions, preferring acidic soils like those at Grantville. During the trial, lime was only applied to small test sites. The majority of the pasture had no inputs other than chicken manure from the free-ranging hens and native grass coverage increased by about 25%.The regeneration of native shrubs and trees has also been encouraged. There is also a high level of activity by earthworms and dung beetles. We appear to have at least two types of dung beetles on the property because there is evidence of activity all year round and some species are known to be dormant over winter. The farm is a member of the Western Port Biosphere Reserve. Deep Ecology management practices reflect our view that our activities must have minimal negative impacts. We are a part of the environment, not apart from it.The environmental values of the farm were recognised in 2012 when we won the Energy Globe Award for Australia. We are encouraging more sustainable farms like ours to be established by making our eBook available and preparing webinars on setting up a farm. Details are on our website. The first webinar on setting up a free range farm is planned for World Egg Day next year – Friday October 11, assuming sufficient funds are raised in our crowd funding appeal at https://www.gofundme.com/2tar52c
Tuesday, July 03, 2018
Academic researchers often produce theories and reports designed to demonstrate what 'free range' means in the egg industry. Celebrity chefs usually confine themselves to mistaken comments that bright yolk colour defines that an an egg is free range. The fact is that Yolk colour varies, depending on the hen’s diet. If the yolk colour is always a bright, golden almost orange colour, the hens have almost certainly been fed colouring additives. Academic findings are usually based on carefully arranged criteria set by an organisation which funds the research and expects specific outcomes. Far better to rely on the experience of those in the industry actually running free range egg farms. Some people are fixated on the issue of animal welfare and they lose sight of matters like food safety and land sustainability. Outdoor stocking density is a key example. Academics found it easy to come up with results from research on small scale or short term projects to demonstrate that stocking densities had little or no impact on hen welfare. But it has been impossible for them to demonstrate that high densities had no detrimental impact on pasture quality, pollution of waterways, groundwater and the long term productivity of the land as a result of excessive nutrient loads. The maximum sustainable stocking density for poultry has been established at 1500 hens per hectare to minimise land degredation and ensure the long-term viability of the land. Laying hens, like most if not all other animals, perform best when they are able to follow their natural behaviour. They clearly need shelter, food and water but they also need to wander around freely to forage, scratch, dust bathe and interact socially with others in the flock.
Monday, July 02, 2018
There’s well known controversy about the definition of free range egg production and as a result there is a huge opportunity to enter the market by setting up your own free range business. There are two simple steps to help with the decision-making process – purchase an eBook from Freeranger Eggs on setting up a farm and donating to a crowd funding appeal to develop a series of webinars specially designed to provide answers.Encouraging more people to set up genuine free range farms is the driving force behind our crowd funding appeal which will allow top quality webinars to be developed and presented. Everyone can help to establish more genuine, small scale free range eggs farms by supporting a programme of webinars demonstrating all the processes involved. The webinars will encourage hundreds more farms to be established all over Australia. Freeranger Eggs in South Gippsland has run workshops in the past, but the webinars will reach far more potential egg farmers. An eBook on starting a free range farm is also available through the Freeranger website. Once the target is reached, the webinars will be free and all participants will receive a copy of our eBook.The Crowd Funding appeal is at:https://www.gofundme.com/2tar52c
Thursday, June 28, 2018
On June 27, the Victorian Government announced new animal industries planning reforms to improve the regulation of animal industries, environmental protection and community amenity. The reforms come into operation in September 2018 and give certainty to small-scale, low density egg farmers. The new planning rules may help to limit unfair competition from intensive enterprises claiming that their eggs are free range and should assist the ACCC in legal proceedings against intensive producers. We are still hoping that our crowd funding appeal suceeds and allows us to develop webinars to encourage the establishment of more free range farms.
Friday, June 22, 2018
We will run our first webinar on setting up a free range farm on World Egg Day next year – Friday October 11, assuming our crowd funding appeal is a success. World Egg Day, celebrated on the second Friday in October, was founded by the International Egg Commission in Vienna in 1996. The idea behind the day was raising awareness across the world, of the important place eggs have in human nutrition. The crowd funding appeal is at https://www.gofundme.com/2tar52c The webinars will be free for participants and everyone who registers will receive a copy of our eBook on setting up a farm.Free range egg production can be sustainable and ideal as a stand-alone business venture or to enhance income on an existing enterprise.
Saturday, June 16, 2018
The Federal Government is at it again with ludicrous legislation which does nothing to help consumers and imposes on small businesses.New country of origin food labelling requirements will become mandatory on 1 July 2018. Under the new system the Federal Government flagged in 2016, it is mandatory for most food grown, produced or made in Australia to carry a familiar kangaroo symbol and a bar chart with accompanying text that shows the proportion of Australian ingredients. It will add to the already overcrowded labels on cartons of eggs, with meaningless requirements imposed by politicians.The stupidity includes: We are the only fresh food producers forced to print nutrition panels on cartons even though the concept of the panels was to allow consumers to differentiate between the food values of similar products - such as various breakfast cereals, confectionery or drinks.Meat fish and vegetable producers don't have the burden oflabelling on their products - even though they clearly have differing nutritional values. All egg producers print the same nutrition panels on cartons so consumers are provided with no meaningful nutritional information on which to base purchase decisions. Anyway most of the panels use such fine print that they are illegible.Our labels already carry the words 'Product of Australia.' We are a small farming business and our labels are just black and white so why do the mongrels want us to print in colour? It's another example of kicking legitimate businesses who meet expected standards. Unregistered egg producers, operating in the cash economy meet no requirements as they are exempt from food safety and all other standards.Politicians are doing everything they can to drive small family farmers out of business. They are only interested in corporate giants who sell eggs in supermarkets. Our response to the polticians is to say 'enough is enough'. If the Government demands that we print new labels - they can bloody well pay the printer! Time for a revolution.
Friday, June 15, 2018
Egg production in Australia and throughout the world has increased in recent decades, and has reached an annual volume of 68 million tons worldwide. Australian production has hit 460 million dozen. The main reasons are that chicken eggs are a valuable source of protein and are also inexpensive.The huge demand for eggs has led to more intensive production, replacing traditional free range methods. This has resulted in serious environmental impacts. Those impacts will almost certainly increase with a high density outdoor stocking rate of 10,000 hens per hectare approved by Australian Ministers for Consumer Affairs. We need to encourage people to set up more small-scale free range farms to service their local areas to meet demand rather than concentrate on the corporate solution. Currently, about 7 million tons of eggs are produced each year in the European Union. Spain is one of the largest producers with 1,260 farms and an average of 67,700 chickens each. Together with France, Spain represents about 25 percent of European production, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Environment. In addition, the production of eggs, like other intensive produce, generates negative effects on the environment, including the emission of greenhouse gases or the contamination of soil and water. It was not until the 1980s that intensive livestock farming began to be considered an environmental problem, and since then, few studies have focused on the impact of laying hen farms on the ecosystem. To determine the environmental implications of egg production in Europe, a team of Spanish researchers has taken as model an intensive poultry farm located in Asturias, with 55,000 laying hens and an annual production of more than 13 million eggs. The results are published in theJournal of Cleaner Production. Read more at https://phys.org/news/2018-04-environmental-footprint-egg-industry.html#jCp
Friday, June 01, 2018
Starting a free range egg farm can be a rewarding business – as added income for an existing venture or as a stand-alone business. Low density production results in more sustainable production and climate benefits in the form of carbon sequestration. Political changes to the definition of ‘free range’ have put the spotlight on free range production and has increased demand for genuine free range eggs. But where do people start? A series of webinars on establishing small free range farms is being developed by Victorian free range farmers Anne and Phil Westwood of Freeranger Eggs, at Grantville near Phillip Island. The couple believe that encouraging new small-scale start up farms is a better option for the industry and consumers than trashing regulations to allow intensive production systems to label eggs as free range.The fundamental problem with an intensive stocking density is the unsustainably high nutrient load as each hen produces half a cubic metre of manure a year. At a density of 10,000 hens per hectare, that's 5000 cubic metres of manure on each hectare of land - posing a health risk as well as environmental damage. Sustainable production using regenerative farming methods is a far better option. The webinars will help participants understand the variety of regulations including food safety and Australia's crazy labelling requirements. 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 More details about our farm can be found on the farm website here
Monday, May 28, 2018
Here’s a great idea for breakfast – A Lebanese version of pizza called Manousheh. Roll out the pizza dough, spread tomato paste, onions, thyme and cheese of your choice. Crack two or three eggs on to the topping and bake.
Thursday, May 24, 2018
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
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 rythms of life. This issue is the reason for the development of intensive systems with hens locked in climate-controlled sheds (whether or not in cages).Clearly,the intensive system is far more cost-effective and profitable,especially for the crooks who label those eggs as free range and charge a premium.
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Thursday, April 26, 2018
The Central Food Technological Research Institute in India suggests that black pepper may help the body regulate cholesterol. High cholesterol levels can lead to high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. It may also help digestion by stimulating the taste buds, signaling to the stomach to produce hydrochloric acid. Without sufficient hydrochloric acid, you can develop heartburn. According to a 2010 study at Michigan State University, black pepper exhibits anticancer, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Colorado State University reports that together, turmeric and black pepper decrease breast cancer stem cells. Additionally, black pepper is a source of chromium, manganese, vitamin K and iron. Piperine The alkaloid piperine is the active component of black pepper. Piperine is also the source of the tickling sensation that can lead you to sneeze when you inhale the spice. This effect may be irritating, but it is useful for breaking up congestion. Piperine might also be responsible for black pepper's anti-carcinogenic properties, make it easier for your body to absorb some nutrients, and may act as an anticonvulsant. No scientific research isolates how much black pepper you need to ingest for it to be effective in these capacities. Chromium Black pepper is a good source of the mineral chromium. Chromium helps your body metabolize fats and carbohydrates. It also stimulates synthesis of cholesterol and fatty acids, which is important for brain function, according to the National Institutes of Health. Chromium is also important for metabolizing insulin. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, low chromium levels increase triglycerides, blood sugar and the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Peppercorn is ground up over scrambled eggs is pretty good for you. Black pepper, like most spices, is very low in calories. Evidence is there that black pepper helps your heart health and fights against cancer.
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
A panel forum at the US Egg Industry Center in Arizona with representatives from four major egg producers has said that all cage-free housing systems require at least three times more labour to manage than cage facilities. That is no surprise to anyone in the industry, after all the major reason for the introduction of cages was to produce cheap eggs with lower labour inputs. Cage-free farms, with hens kept in sheds are really half-way houses. The hens are still confined – just not in cages. The businesses still enjoy the cost benefits of scale. Genuine free range farms where the hens have unrestricted access to pasture and have low stocking densities are significantly more labour intensive with smaller flocks and hence are more costly to operate.
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Work is progressing on setting up a series of webinars on establishing free range farms. The success of our crowd funding appeal will be essential for top results.Researching how to prepare a webinar has demonstrated that there are many pitfalls for the unwary. It’s not just a matter of pulling out an existing power point presentation used in on-farm workshops. We need to prepare engaging graphics and videos. There are many webinar templates and platforms to choose from, each of which has pros and cons. Selecting the right one will be crucial for success and one of the considerations will be determining the number of participants expected. Will the technology work seamlessly? Direct participation is essential for questions to be answered in real time.
Monday, April 23, 2018
Here's a great breakfast to jump-start the day. Place 6 rashers of bacon in a large skillet and fryuntil evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain bacon s on paper towels; crumble into pieces. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease bottom and sides of a casserole dish. Layer sliced potatoes, red bell pepper, , onion, and jalapeno in the dish. Sprinkle 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese on top. Scatter bacon pieces over the cheese. Whisk 6 eggs,a little milk, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, and paprika together in a large bowl. Pour over layers in the casserole dish. Bake in the preheated oven until set, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and top with remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese. Continue baking until cheese is melted and golden.
Sunday, April 22, 2018
If you agree that Australia 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 Allergy week is fast approaching Starting on May 13 and a major guide is being produced in the UK, covering symptoms, causes and treatments for conditions such as Eczema, Asthma, Hay Fever, and Hives. Some people claim allergic reactions to eating eggs - but often the reaction is to the colouring additives widely used in poultry feed rather than the eggs themselves. There is no requirement for the use of colouring additives to be declared on labels. Here’s a sample of the guide:
Friday, April 20, 2018
Freeranger Eggs at Grantville is an example of sustainable farming. Some small businesses are doing more than Governments to combat carbon emissions and climate change. The Freeranger Eggs farm management plan takes a three pillars approach to how the farm operates. Animal welfare is one pillar, but equally important are land sustainability and food safety. Growth is not a part of our philosophy. we need to encourage people to set up more farms, not upscale existing farms. We believe that will support more people working the land effectively and will ensure long-term food security. Despite all the political bickering in Canberra over emissions trading scheme targets, some small businesses have been playing their part in addressing the problem. Freeranger Eggs has been getting on with mitigating the impact of carbon emissions. The farm's carbon footprint is limited by imposing a food miles policy for deliveries, using recycled materials and equipment whenever possible, utilising solar power and mechanical processes and an effective waste reduction programme. As a result, the 1200-chicken farm generates only about 60 tonnes of CO2 each year. But it is better than carbon neutral, it is carbon positive. The average organic matter in soil tests was 4.1 per cent in 2004, in 2006 it was 6.0 per cent, and in 2009 it was 7.9 percent. Calculations based on 2-inch deep samples, show that over those five years the farm sequestered about 14 tons of CO2 per acre or four tonnes of carbon per acre on the grasslands. Further testing and calculations have not been carried because there has been a total lack of interest in the results. The farm applies no chemical fertilisers, herbicides, or pesticides and this policy increases the biological life in the soil and increases the rate of carbon sequestration. Rotational grazing is practised on the pastures – taking advantage of photosynthesis to pull CO2 into the plants and then into the roots from where it transfers to the soil. In addition, every year at least another tonne of CO2 per acre continues to be sequestered by the regular regeneration of Kangaroo Apples (Solanum laciniatum) in the main paddocks. Native vegetation has been protected on approximately 100 acres of the property and regeneration there sequesters a further tonne of CO2 per acre. This brings a grand total of 1500 tonnes of CO2 sequestered on this property over five years – an average rate of 300 tonnes per year compared with the farm's carbon output of around 60 tonnes. On days of full sun the solar panels on the farm shed generate 13 - 17kW of electricity a day and as on average the farm consumes just 9kW a day it helps the bottom line. Loss of biological diversity in agriculture is a growing global problem. The lack of diversity created by monocultures and a dependence on costly agrochemicals, fertilisers and seeds, is resulting in the loss of genetic heritage in agriculture. The Freeranger farm is a true free range operation with small flocks of chickens in separate paddocks with mobile roost houses where eggs are laid.An eBook is available on setting up free range eggs farm s and we are developing a series of webinars. Crowd funding is being sought to prepare the webinars . Details on the freeranger eggs website. Www.freeranger.com.au Freeranger Eggs gained international recognition in 2012 as the Australian winner of the Energy Globe Award.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Free range eggs are a niche part of a boutique industry. Genuine free range farms with low stocking densities don’t have sufficient production to meet the delivery demands of major grocers – which is why you will never see real free range eggs in a stupidmarket. Only intensive production systems meet the requirements of grocery chains, which is why there has been political approval of an intensive outdoor stocking rate of 10,000 hens per hectare in Australia, Most in the industry and many consumers still believe that the figure of 1500 hens per hectare enshrined in the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, Domestic Poultry, is the appropriate maximum.
Saturday, April 14, 2018
75g smoked haddock A little milk 25g butter 150ml cream 3 or 4 eggs Salt and freshly ground pepper 2-3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese chopped Parsley for garnish Put the smoked haddock into a small saucepan. Cover with milk and simmer gently until it is cooked enough to separate into flakes (about 10 minutes). Drain. Toss the haddock over a moderate heat with half the butter and 2 tablespoons of the cream and keep aside. Separate the eggs, beat the yolks with a tablespoon of the cream and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Whip the egg whites. Fold into the yolks with the haddock and add half the grated Parmesan cheese. Melt the remaining butter in an omelette pan. Pour the mixture in gently and cook over a medium heat until the base of the omelette is golden. Spoon the remaining cream over the top and sprinkle with the rest of the finely grated Parmesan. Pop under a hot grill for a minute or so until golden and bubbly on top. Serve in the pan or slide on to a hot dish, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately with a green salad.
Friday, April 13, 2018
There is a huge need to ensure that more free range egg farms are set up to meet top environmental standards as well as consumer expectations. Australian Eggs is revising environmental management guidelines for layer farms . If the guidelines are meaningful they will result in best practice on farms. Everyone can help to establish more genuine, small scale free range eggs farms by supporting a programme of webinars demonstrating all the processes involved. The webinars will encourage hundreds more farms to be established all over Australia, either as new ventures or as an added income stream for existing farms. Freeranger Eggs and the FreerangerClub in South Gippsland have run workshops in the past, but the webinars will reach far more potential egg farmers. An eBook on starting a free range farm is also available through the Freeranger website. Once the target is reached, the webinars will be free and all participants will receive a copy of our eBook.The Crowd Funding appeal is at:https://www.gofundme.com/2tar52c
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Fake eggs have been around for years, they are manufactured products designed for use in cooking to replace real eggs. They haven’t taken the world by storm but that has not deterred scientists from turning their attention to meat. Laboratories around the world have been working on developing artificial meats and politicians in the US are looking at ways to regulate the new developments. As laboratory-produced foods loom closer to a reality, lawmakers in the US State of Missouri want to protect their livestock and poultry producers. The proposed law prohibits representing a product as meat that is not derived from livestock or poultry.
6 rashers bacon 2 large leeks (white and light green parts), sliced, salt Freshly ground black pepper 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves 6 large eggs 2 c. heavy cream 1 c. whole milk 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg 6 oz. Gruyère, grated (about 1 1/2 cups) 1/2 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley Mix basic pie dough. Chill and then roll into a 16-inch circle. Place in a deep 9-inch springform pan, lifting and pressing it into the bottom and up the sides of the pan; chill 1 hour. Poke bottom and sides of dough with a fork. Line with foil, leaving a 4-inch overhang. Fill with baking beans. Marbles or pie weights; chill 20 minutes. Heat oven to 425°F. Bake crust 15 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights. Cover edges with foil, and continue baking until completely dry, 8 to 12 minutes. Reduce oven to 325°F. Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, 7 to 8 minutes; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Add leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 6 to 7 minutes. Add thyme and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; cool. Whisk together eggs, cream, milk, mustard, nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a bowl. Fold in the Gruyère, parsley, and cooked leeks. Scatter bacon on bottom of crust, then top with egg mixture. Wrap pan with foil and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake just until set around the edge but still wobbly in the centre, and a knife inserted it the comes out with no runny egg attached, 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Cool in the pan at least 30 minutes before unmoulding.
Friday, April 06, 2018
Victoria’s Environment Protection Authority and consulting group Integrity Ag Services are helping Australian Eggs to develop new environmental management guidelines for layer farms. We hope that revised guidelines reflect best practice -especially in view of the intensive stocking densities which have been approved for free range egg production. Politicians and bureaucrats succumbed to pressure from industrial-scale egg producers and big grocers. They ignored implications for land sustainability from such high densities. A laying hen produces half a cubic metre of manure a year. So with a stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare, farmers who follow the advice will see their land covered with 5000 cubic metres of manure per hectare every year. As chicken manure has high levels of nitrogen, 1.5%,phosphorus,0.5% and potassium 0.8%, the land will likely be rendered useless for farming within a few years. Contamination of groundwater and water courses is also likely.
Tuesday, April 03, 2018
The intensive free range poultry stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare, approved by politicians, may not have the support of Federal Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud. In response to questions from us about the impact of high nutrient loads on farms, Mr Littleproud wrote: “Local and State planning laws also apply to free range hen farms. In assessing an application, local councils must consider design aspects such ass amenity, odour, waste, noise, runoff and other environmental and planning impacts. These planning laws and arrangements put in place by local and state governments are designed to protect the interests of animal welfare, water conservation and agricultural productivity.” We have made many comments about the absurd new free range standard including “Consumers, poultry and the environment are being put at risk by new free range egg production standards allowing chickens to be run at stocking densities of 10,000 hens per hectare. Each adult hen produces half a cubic metre of manure a year, so at that density, each hectare of land will be covered by 5000 cubic metres of poultry manure every year - - an unsustainable nutrient load which politicians are encouraging.”
Five tonnes of chook feed was delivered to the farm today by our regular supplier, Reid Stockfeeds from their Traralgon mill. A custom mix is prepared for our hens, using no meat meal or colouring additives. As our hens have unlimited access to pasture, they get around 50% of the feed they need from the paddocks, but to maximise egg production and maintain bird health, the ration of grains needs to be available to them at all times.
Sunday, April 01, 2018
More donors are still needed to ensure that free range webinars are developed and presented. There’s well known controversy about the definition of free range – but with eggs in supermarkets there’s also debate about egg sizes. 700 gram cartons are frequently called ‘Extra Large’ when the reality is they are no more than medium size. At Freeranger Eggs, our 950g Megga packs can legitimately be regarded as extra large, especially as each carton generally weighs over a kilo – that’s right, a dozen of our Meggas weighs over 1kg! Of course we have other sizes – 840g, 750g, 700g amd 600g. Encouraging more people to set up genuine free range farms is the driving force behind our crowd funding appeal which will allow top quality webinars to be developed and presented. Everyone can help to establish more genuine, small scale free range eggs farms by supporting a programme of webinars demonstrating all the processes involved. The webinars will encourage hundreds more farms to be established all over Australia. Freeranger Eggs in South Gippsland has run workshops in the past, but the webinars will reach far more potential egg farmers. An eBook on starting a free range farm is also available through the Freeranger website. Once the target is reached, the webinars will be free and all participants will receive a copy of our eBook.The Crowd Funding appeal is at:https://www.gofundme.com/2tar52c Corporate egg producders are keen to limit the number of genuine free range farmers as a shortage of free range supply allows them to continue labelling their intensively farmed eggs as free range and pocket the extra money. Surprisingly, quite a few free range farmers are also not keen to encourage more entrants into the market because they see it as too much competition. In fact, the mis-match between supply and demand is so big that there is virtually unlimited potential for new entrants into the market without affecting the sales of established producers.
Monday, March 26, 2018
A huge opportunity exists in Australia for more free range egg farms to be established. Figures show there is an annual shortfall of around 100 million dozen free range eggs. Figures from Australian Eggs and the market research group Ibis World show that free range demand is about 40% of the total 400 million eggs sold in Australia each year – that’s a need for 160 million dozen free range eggs but there currently are less than 100 free range egg farms. So, Anne and Phil Westwood of Freeranger Eggs in South Gippsland hope to achieve a crowd funding target to develop webinars encouraging more free range farms to be established. Everyone can help to establish more genuine, small scale free range eggs farms by supporting a programme of webinars demonstrating all the processes involved. The webinars will encourage hundreds more farms to be established around Australia. Ideally farms can be set up close to townships all over the country to supply local demand.Free range eggs can provide an excellent additional income source for existing farms or smallholdings. Freeranger Eggs has run workshops in the past, but the webinars will reach far more potential egg farmers. An eBook on starting a free range farm is also available through the Freeranger website. Once the target is reached, the webinars will be free and all participants will receive a copy of our eBook.The Crowd Funding appeal is at:https://www.gofundme.com/2tar52c
Saturday, March 24, 2018
All major egg producers and many small ones - even those which claim to be free range and organic - use colouring additives in the feed they give their hens. Their use is completely unnecessary in a free range flock, as hens running on quality pasture and at low stocking densities will obtain enough carotenoids from the green feed in the paddock to maintain good yolk colour. The colour will vary – depending on the time of year and what each hen has been eating – but many egg producers want to con consumers by using additives to provide consistent, bright yolk colour. Many of those additives are synthetic - adding to the chemical cocktail mix in food. But even those which are claimed to be 'natural' are manufactured in factories – often in China. What the manufacturers mean by using the word 'natural' is that the additives may be derived from natural products but are processed and concentrated into a powder or liquid. Three of the most widely used egg yolk pigmenters are: Canthaxanin or Canthaxanthin which appears to be an unsafe additive. It can cause diarrhoea, nausea, stomach cramps, dry and itchy skin, hives, orange or red body secretions, and other side effects. Do not use canthaxanthin if you experience breathing problems; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, tongue or throat; a skin rash or hives; you are pregnant or breast-feeding or you are allergic to vitamin A or carotenoids. Capsicum Allergic reactions to capsicum may occur. Stop eating eggs with capsicum-based colouring and seek emergency medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives. Other less serious side effects have also been reported. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider if you experience upset stomach; heartburn; diarrhoea; migraine attacks or burning sensation in the mouth or throat. Use of Capsicum is not recommended if you are pregnant. If you are or will be breast-feeding while eating food containing Capsicum, check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby. Capsicum colourings can bring on anaphylactic shock. See details about which plants generate these problems on this site at the University of Maryland: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/anaphylaxis-000008.htm Marigold Some people experience breathing problems, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, tongue or throat. A skin rash or hives may occur. We use no colouring additives and no chemicals on the farm. We use natural methods to control pests such as mites - such as putting aromatic herbs in nest boxes and using diatomaceous earth. More information on the Freeranger website.
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
A full range of eggs is available at the farm in Stanley Road, Grantville- 950 gram packs of Meggas, 600g, 700g, 750g or 840g in dozens. We also sell eggs on trays if needed. There is a big yellow cool box inside the front gate which can be accessed anytime. Our eggs are also available from the Grantville Pantry, Corinella General Store and Angels Health Foods, Cowes.When setting up a free range farm it's important to organise sales outlets.Our eBook is a valuable tool. For info Check out our website.
Monday, March 19, 2018
Freeranger Eggs - a niche market in a boutique segment of the egg industry Have your say on egg farm sustainability
With a very low stocking density on our 80 hectare farm - just 15 - 40 hens per hectare instead of the intensive 10,000 hens per hectare on most so-called free range farms, our operation is fully sustainable. We invite readers to visit our website to see how we do things. Very few farms operate in this way, most 'free range' producers are intensive operations with tens of thousands of hens confined in small areas. They may not be in cages but they are not able to range freely on pasture.Everyone has a chance to have a say on what they think of the sustainability of egg farms. The CSIRO’s social and economic systems research division is developing a community engagement proposal to collect comments from the community. Australian Eggs will then use that information to concoct a sustainability framework to guide the industry. The information could relate to any impacts the egg industry is having across areas such as the lives of people, animal welfare, environmental impacts and economic viability. Have your say on egg farm sustainability
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Freeranger Eggs is all about producing genuine free range eggs as well as educating consumers and other farmers
Freeranger Eggs is a multi- platform business. Our main activity is operating a sustainable farm producing free range eggs for customers in our local area. We use our website, blog and facebook page as educational tools to provide clear information to consumers – and also to encourage the establishment of other low density farms, Free range eggs are a niche market in a boutique industry and industrial-scale producers should not use the term ‘free range’. Our eBook on setting up a free range farm is available through our website and we are preparing a series of webinars to reach as many people as possible.
Saturday, March 17, 2018
CSIRO’s social and economic systems division is developing a community engagement project proposal for a sustainable agriculture Initiative and Australian Eggs says it will consider public release of its farm Sustainability Framework in April. Australian Eggs' idea of sustainability is likely to be underwhelming, so we propose to try to push the agenda with something like this:Farmland, the environment, consumers and poultry are being put at risk by new free range egg production standards allowing chickens to be run at stocking densities of 10,000 hens per hectare. Each adult hen produces half a cubic metre of manure a year, so at that density, each hectare of land will be covered by 5000 cubic metres of poultry manure every year - an unsustainable nutrient load which politicians are encouraging. When the most recent version of the Code was approved by the Primary Industries Ministerial Council and printed in 2002, it was a development of an earlier version. There has been no science or research behind high density free range proposals (other than the certainty of increased profits). No scientific review of production processes has been undertaken to demonstrate that the standards contained within the current voluntary Model Code are no longer applicable to the industry. The stocking density of 1500 hens per hectare for free range hens was developed by applying well established principles of agronomy. The issue of the upper limit on the long term stocking rate was debated strongly at the time, following pressure from local Councils and the EPA about how some farms were operating. Experience was taken into account of people who had farmed free range layers in the 1950’s and 60's, when all egg production was based on free range principles. Hens were often run under citrus trees It was recognised that for an operation to be sustainable, the stocking rate had to be low - less than 300 birds/acre (750/hectare). It was agreed that such a system should be regarded as Free Range egg production and the hens were to have access to the range during daylight hours. There was some dispute by new entrants to the industry who believed that they could design pasture rotation systems around their sheds that would allow higher rates. So it was decided to take an empirical approach and work out what the maximum stocking rate could be to avoid the measurable negative impacts of nutrient run off and soil degradation and still be theoretically possible to maintain pasture cover and avoid the issue of dust. Some argued that as most hens were in sheds at night and may be locked in for part of the day so that only a portion of the hens actually entered the range area at any one time, the impact was lessened. The dairy industry was very big at that time and local agronomists had data on the effects of applying very high rates of poultry manure on irrigated pasture. The agronomists studied the data on the maximum nutrient uptake a well maintained irrigated pasture could support and also avoid the problems of salinity build up observed in the dairy pastures. The stocking rate was calculated and a stocking density of up to 600 birds/acre (1500/hectare) was regarded as the maximum possible for long term sustainability. Those currently involved in free range egg production agree that the fundamental elements of the Model Code, or other regulations introduced by Governments should be: a maximum stocking density of 1500 hens per hectare; stocking density must be reduced in conditions where pasture or other vegetative cover cannot be maintained at the maximum stocking density; no beak trimming of hens is permitted except when other methods of controlling outbreaks of severe feather pecking or cannibalism have been tried and failed (using the same criteria in the current Model Code); and pullets must be allowed to range freely once they are fully feathered (about six weeks old). Phil Westwood is an environmental auditor, a former auditor for the National Egg Quality Assurance Program and a former President of the Free Range Egg and Poultry Association of Australia.
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Consumers, poultry and the environment are being put at risk by new free range egg production standards allowing chickens to be run at stocking densities of 10,000 hens per hectare. Each adult hen produces half a cubic metre of manure a year, so at that density, each hectare of land will be covered by 5000 cubic metres of poultry manure every year - - an unsustainable nutrient load. It’s not only Australia where intensive production is causing concern. In Wales,even though stocking densities are far less than the Australian standard, the nutrient levels are creating widespread concerns because of the potential impact on rivers and wildlife. Wales Online reports that particular concerns have been expressed for mammals like otters and dormice as well as for fish like eels and brown trout. Wildlife officials say “We have a number of concerns, mainly around the sheer number of these units that have been operating, new ones that have been given consent and applications that are in the pipeline. “Whilst nobody objects to farmers wanting to diversify and increase their profitability, there is a worry that the amount of phosphate that comes from chicken manure is damaging to the river system”. Consumers and farmers need to put pressure on politicians to set more realistic standard s in Australia to ensure land sustainability, animal welfare and food safety.
Sunday, March 11, 2018
New labelling requirements and standards for free range egg production are likely to destroy any remaining consumer confidence in the Australian egg industry. The standard allows intensive production systems to be classified as free range and protects intensive producers from prosecution under Australian Consumer Law. The new standard allows unscrupulous producers to continue to mislead customers. Ministers have regulated that an outdoor stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare is classified as free range . Phil with Raphael, one of our Maremmas
Thursday, March 08, 2018
It’s slow-going, but we still hope to achieve our crowd funding target to develop webinars encouraging more free range farms to be established. Everyone can help to establish more genuine, small scale free range eggs farms by supporting a programme of webinars demonstrating all the processes involved. The webinars will encourage hundreds more farms to be established all over Australia and other parts of the world. Freeranger Eggs in South Gippsland and the Freeranger Club have run workshops in the past, but the webinars will reach far more potential egg farmers. An eBook on starting a free range farm is also available through the Freeranger website. Once the target is reached, the webinars will be free and all participants will receive a copy of our eBook.The Crowd Funding appeal is at: https://www.gofundme.com/2tar52c
Tuesday, March 06, 2018
The new information standard on free range eggs adopted by Ministers for Consumer Affairs comes into effect on April 26 even though it is meaningless and contrary to the interests of the industry, and consumers. The standard allows intensive production systems to be classified as free range and protects intensive producers from prosecution under Australian Consumer Law. The new standard simply allows unscrupulous producers to continue to mislead customers. Ministers have regulated that an outdoor stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare is classified as free range and from April 26 all egg cartons must carry a stocking density even thought the cartons are already overcrowded with meaningless information which baffles consumers. Loopholes in the standard ensure that almost any excuse can be given for keeping hens locked up. There is no mechanism for checking each operation – so it would have been more effective to leave things as they were and let the ACCC launch prosecutions. Adopting the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals (Domestic Poultry) would have been a more realistic standard. Intensive egg producers will simply divide the amount of land they have by the number of birds to come up with a completely misleading stocking density – but which meets legal requirements. The business may have a million hens in various sheds but because it operates on a large property it will be able meet the absurd standard. In our case we have a modest 80 hectare property – which means that the law allows us to have 800,000 chickens. We currently run about 400 and during periods of peak demand we increase numbers to 1000 or 1200 birds. This gives us a current stocking density of 5 hens per hectare and maximum stocking rate of 15 per hectare. Why should we be forced to put that on our cartons and do we have to keep amending it when a new flock is brought in? This problem would not arise if politicians had done their jobs and produced an effective free range standard. Free range would be the only words needed if a proper standard had been adopted.
Friday, March 02, 2018
On a small free range farm, it can often be difficult to maintain a balance between demand and production. The are so many variables - including the weather and the number of daylight hours, which both have a dramatic impact on production. But it's not just the number of eggs laid. One factor which many people don't appreciate is the size of eggs. Production may be terrific (as it is right now) but we currently have a large number of small 50 - 55 gram eggs ( which are described as large in stupidmarkets). Most of our customers want larger eggs. Some restaurants will only take 70 gram eggs which can make it difficult to maintain supplies to them. Our gate sales are an important part of our business, but many customers have a preference for big eggs. We can only supply what our hens lay - unlike many egg farmers, we don't buy in eggs from other suppliers to meet a shortfall.
Thursday, March 01, 2018
All major egg producers and many small ones - even those which claim to be free range and organic - use colouring additives in the feed they give their hens. Their use is completely unnecessary in a free range flock, as hens running on quality pasture and at low stocking densities will obtain enough carotenoids from the green feed in the paddock to maintain good yolk colour. The colour will vary – depending on the time of year and what each hen has been eating – but many egg producers want to con consumers by using additives to provide consistent, bright yolk colour. Many of those additives are synthetic - adding to the chemical cocktail mix in food. But even those which are claimed to be 'natural' are manufactured in factories – often in China. What the manufacturers mean by using the word 'natural' is that the additives may be derived from natural products but are processed and concentrated into a powder or liquid. Three of the most widely used egg yolk pigmenters are: Canthaxanin or Canthaxanthin which appears to be an unsafe additive. It can cause diarrhoea, nausea, stomach cramps, dry and itchy skin, hives, orange or red body secretions, and other side effects. Do not use canthaxanthin if you experience breathing problems; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, tongue or throat; a skin rash or hives; you are pregnant or breast-feeding or you are allergic to vitamin A or carotenoids. Allergic reactions to capsicum may occur. Stop eating eggs with capsicum-based colouring and seek emergency medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives. Other less serious side effects have also been reported. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider if you experience upset stomach; heartburn; diarrhoea; migraine attacks or burning sensation in the mouth or throat. Use of Capsicum is not recommended if you are pregnant. If you are or will be breast-feeding while eating food containing Capsicum, check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby. Capsicum colourings can bring on anaphylactic shock. See details about which plants generate these problems on this site at the University of Maryland: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/anaphylaxis-000008.htm Marigold Some people experience breathing problems, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, tongue or throat. A skin rash or hives may occur.
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
The nutrients in every egg you eat only come from the feed available to the chickens. Ingredients fed to the hens make a profound difference to the quality of each egg. We are a low density, genuine free range farm and our hens are free to roam at all times, grazing on predominately native pasture and eating whatever seeds, insects, bugs, worms etc.they find – they can only do this because they have full beaks. Most egg farms, even those which claim to be 'free range',do not have fully beaked birds. They choose to beak trim their hens to avoid problems resulting from aggressive behaviour within their flocks because they have too many hens. Violence resulting in injury or cannibalism is only a serious issue on intensive farms. If a problem of aggression within the flock arises, either the farmer has bought the wrong type of hens - or he (or she) has too many!! The maximum number in each flock on our farm is 350 hens, and we usually run four or five flocks. Many so-called 'free range' farms have many thousands of hens in sheds and they limit access to the outdoors - if the hens go outside at all.This is the way a producer has enough eggs to supply major supermarkets - so if you want genuine free range eggs, don't go to a supermarket. With mobile laying sheds regularly moved around the paddocks, we are able to maintain pasture growth all year. We provide a supplementary grains-based ration containing no meat meal to satisfy all the nutritional requirements for our hens to maintain good health and an excellent lay rate. We specify no meat meal in the feed for our hens because it is often processed from chickens - either from so-called 'spent hens' which are no longer productive on big farms or from day-old rooster chicks which are discarded at the hatcheries.For more information about how our farm operates or to read our eBook on setting up a genuine free range farm, check out our website: freeranger.com.au. We are also planning webinars to encourage more people to set up proper free range farms. How are Freeranger Eggs different? Our free range hens spend as much time as they like outdoors grazing on pasture and doing what they do naturally-scratch around for bugs and worms. There is no need for them to be locked up as birds in each flock are protected from predators 24 hours a day by their Maremma guard dogs. Our feed(which supplements what our hens find in their paddocks) is from a certified feed mill which uses precise nutritional information to formulate a diet especially for us to ensure a superior, tasty, natural egg. Most 'free range' eggs are laid on farms with high stocking densities and with beak-trimmed birds. Freeranger Eggs has an outdoor stocking density of 15 - 40 hens per hectare. On our 80 hectare property we run 1200 hens but during busy holiday periods with extra demand we may run an additional flock taking our total numbers to 1500. As our sheds are only roost houses with nest boxes for laying, the hens spend very little time indoors, unlike most farms where hens are kept indoors most of the time and lights are installed to keep the hens eating and laying eggs. Our hens are allowed to live a natural life – so when it gets dark, they sleep. It means we don’t have a lay rate as high as on a big commercial farm but the chooks are happy.
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
The world-wide wave of avian flu has resulted in the loss of nearly 120 million poultry In global animal disease terms, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is waning in its second global wave but it is estimated to have led to the loss of almost 120 million head of poultry. New outbreaks have been reported in Cambodia, Japan, Taiwan, India, Iraq, Turkey and South Africa in the last 12 months.
Sunday, February 25, 2018
Politicians are putting consumers and chickens at risk over their new 'free range' stocking density standard.They need to be convinced to change their minds on a standard of 10,000 hens per hectare for egg production. The sheer volumes of manure make intensive free range production dangerous for animal health, and us humans eating contaminated eggs. Intensive cage eggs are likely to be less dangerous than intensive free range. Outbreaks of food poisoning have increased in Western Australia apparently as a result of poor handling of eggs. Eggs are safe if handled properly on farm, during delivery and in kitchens. Problems are likely to increase after politicians approved an intensive standard for free range production which risks major contamination. As each hens produces half a cubic metre of manure a year, hens on farms complying with the new standard, allowing 10,000 hens per hectare will be living in a huge dung pile of 5000 cubic metres every year.
Nutrition Here is a list of nutrients found in eggs: Free range eggs have even greater nutritional value, as long as the hens are really free range and able to roam around a paddock, eating whatever takes their fancy. vitamin A vitamin B-2 vitamin B-12 vitamin B-5 vitamin D vitamin E biotin choline folic acid iodine iron lutein and zeaxanthin phosphorus protein selenium Protein A medium-sized egg typically contains 5.53 grams of protein. Around 12.6 percent of the edible portion of an egg is protein which is in both in the yolk and the egg white. Fats One large egg contains about 5 grams of fat. The majority of fat in an egg is unsaturated and is regarded to be the best type of fat to be included in a balanced diet. Saturated fats should be limited to less than 10 percen of your daily calories. For example, a diet consisting of 1,800 calories should limit saturated fat to no more than 20 grams. A large egg contains less than 2 grams of saturated fat. Omega-3 fatty acids Eggs are also a rich supply of omega-3fatty acids. These are mainly in the form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which helps with the maintenance of brain function and normal vision. These fatty acids are most commonly found in oily fish, and so eggs provide an alternative source for people that are unable to eat fish. Eggs and cholesterol One medium-sized egg that weighs 44 grams typically contains 164 milligrams of cholesterol. However, evidence has shown there is little, if any, relationship between cholesterol found in food and heart disease or blood cholesterol levels. As eggs are low in saturated fats, the effect that they have on blood cholesterol is deemed to be clinically insignificant. Of course eggs labelled as free range in supermarkets, which meet the 10,000 hens per hectare density approved by politicians have the same nutritional values as cage eggs - because the hens eat exactly the same processed food.
Monday, February 19, 2018
Everyone can help Freerangr Eggs reach our initial target of 100 donors to the crowd funding campaign for developing webinars encouraging more free range farms to be established. The webinars will be free for participants and each will receive a copy of our eBook on setting up a free range farm. To help, click https://www.gofundme.com/2tar52c
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Free range egg farmers in Australia will be hit with greater compliance costs - thanks to incompetent politicians and bureaucrats. Already , eggs are the only fresh food which is required to carry a nutrition information panel. Producers of meat, fish and vegetables are not required to print nutritional information panels on their products - so why are egg farmers penalised? To make it even worse, all egg producers print the same nutritional information on their cartons, because they are downloaded from a central site - so they are all identical- serving no useful purpose for consumers. The Nutritional information panels on food products are supposed to allow consumers to compare the food values of different products. breakfast cereals,processed foods etc - but egg producers who comply with regulations are caught up in this rubbish in a meaningless jumble of red tape. The details are usually so small that no-one can read them.On top of that, because politicians were too lazy to adopt a clear definition of free range, from April we will be required to add on our already over-crowded labels the number of hens we have, per hectare.
Rebekha Sharkie, Federal MP for Mayo, South Australia, a member of the Nick Xenophon Team has tabled an amendment in Parliament to Australian Consumer Law – which, if passed, will properly define the meaning of free range eggs. The amendment reads: “eggs will only be permitted to be represented as free range eggs if they are laid by hens that are able to move about freely on an open range during daylight hours on most days, and that the majority of such hens do in fact move about freely on an open range during daylight hours. The amendment will ensure that eggs cannot be represented as free range eggs if they are laid by hens that are subject to a stocking density of more than 1500 hens per hectare. It seems unlikely that the amendment will be supported, but good on her for trying! This is exactly what Ministers and bureaucrats should have done to ensure the integrity of the egg industry.