Saturday, April 28, 2018

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

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

Food Safety inspections

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

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Black pepper and eggs make a great combination

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

Genuine free range egg production is more labour-intensive than cage farming

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

Free range farming webinars on track

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

Breakfast casserole to start your day

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:

Major guide on food allergies being prepared

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

We are doing our bit to combat carbon pollution

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. Freeranger Eggs gained international recognition in 2012 as the Australian winner of the Energy Globe Award.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Free range is a niche market in a boutique industry

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

Omelette Arnold Bennet

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

The need for more free range farms

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:

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Fake eggs and meat

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.

Top bacon and leek quiche

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

New Environmental Guidelines for egg industry

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

Intensive 'free range' standard may not survive

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.”

Feed delivered today

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

Freerange egg farming webinars on ethical and sustainable farming

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: 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.