Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Freeranger Facebook posts reach over 4000 people in January


Freeranger Eggs Facebook page had 4,068 visitors in January, the highest monthly figure for some time. One of the most popular posts was about the importance of rodent control and the threats posed by mice and rats.

Rodents are a major concern on many poultry farms due to spreading diseases, damage and feed loss. This is a major reason for keeping hens in mobile houses which are usually easier to keep rodent-free. Unless steps are taken to prevent their presence, the house mouse (Mus musculus), and black rat (Rattus rattus) may become unwanted (and frequently unnoticed) guests. Sheds are attractive to these freeloaders because they provide a home, food, and water. Both rats and mice only need a hole large enough to pass their head through, as small as a quarter-inch for mice or a half-inch for rats. Once inside the house, they can easily burrow into poultry litter, under nests, into dirt floors, and into insulation in the walls and ceilings. This may go unnoticed, because rodents are active mainly at night when farmers often are not present. Rodents are seldom seen during the day until their numbers reach epidemic proportions. However, even a small population of rodents can cause significant problems that cost money. Possibly, the most obvious problem with rodents is the feed they consume and contaminate. All rodents will eat poultry feed, and they contaminate and ruin much more than they eat. An adult rat eats up to 10% of its bodyweight in feed each day, so a large rodent population may eat several tonnes of feed each year.

Rodent control is also needed in grading rooms and carton storage areas to limit contamination.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Chickens on collectable cigarette cards


In days gone by, cigarette cards were all the rage. There are still avid collectors for cards on all sorts of subjects. One popular selection in the 1930’s and ‘40’s was poultry cards,from John Player and Sons, depicting a wide variety of chickens.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Intensive food production systems meet fluctuating consumer demand

Quantity over quality is the rationale behind intensive production techniques in the food industry, whether it's eggs. meat, grains or vegetables.

Balancing supply with demand has always been as issue for small egg producers like us – particularly in an area which is a holiday destination. A boom in demand as holidaymakers descend on the region, followed by a slump when they return home has been a natural cycle of business since we started producing eggs. But now, we have the added problem of fluctuating Government travel restrictions in response to the Covid19 pandemic. Big producers with coolrooms full of stockpiled eggs, are able to cope without missing a beat – just load up the trucks and send eggs off to the stupidmarkets.

However, selling quality, fresh eggs, is rather more challenging as we have no stockpiles to plunder when customers need extra supplies. Theres is no question that intensive egg producers are better able to supply fluctuating market demands compared with boutique egg farms meeting niche market requirements.