Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Select the right chickens for you

 Here’s a run down by Eric Cooper of Grow Chicken in the US showing many of the chicken breeds available. At Freeranger Eggs, we find the hybrid ISA Browns are ideal as top layers with a high feed-conversion rate. They are docile, easy to handle and do well in a freerange environment. When we first established the farm we bought Lohmann Brown hens and they were excellent but we were forced to switch after a few years because Lohmanns were no longer available in Australia. Now they are back and can be found here as an option. The world of poultry farming is diverse and the importance of selecting the right chicken breed for your purpose cannot be overstated. From egg production to meat quality and even ornamental value, different chicken breeds have been carefully developed to serve a wide range of agricultural purposes. Now, we delve into the fascinating world of chicken breeds by purpose, highlighting their unique attributes and contributions to the global agricultural landscape.

When it comes to egg production, certain chicken breeds have soared above the rest, consistently delivering high-quality eggs. The Leghorn, for instance, is renowned for its exceptional egg-laying abilities. Known for its sleek appearance and white feathers, the Leghorn chicken has become synonymous with egg production. These birds are prolific layers, capable of producing up to 280 to 320 large white eggs per year, making them a favourite among commercial egg farmers worldwide.

The Rhode Island Red is another popular breed for egg production, known for its robust nature and brown eggs. Their steady production of brown eggs has made them a staple in backyard flocks and small-scale poultry farms. Whether you prefer white or brown eggs, these chicken breeds have you covered, ensuring a consistent supply of fresh eggs for consumers and farmers alike.

Meat Production:
When it's time to put chicken on the dinner table, certain breeds are bred specifically for their meat quality. The Cornish Cross, for instance, is the undisputed heavyweight champion in the meat production category. These birds are known for their rapid growth and excellent meat-to-bone ratio, making them a top choice for broiler production. They reach market weight in as little as 6 to 8 weeks, making them highly efficient in meat production operations.

In contrast, heritage breeds like the Plymouth Rock and the Sussex offer a more traditional approach to meat production. While they may take longer to reach market weight, their flavourful and tender meat is highly sought after by consumers who appreciate the taste of traditionally raised poultry. These heritage breeds also play a crucial role in preserving genetic diversity within the poultry industry.

Dual-Purpose Breeds:
For those seeking a versatile chicken breed that can serve both as a source of eggs and meat, dual-purpose breeds are the go-to choice. The Rhode Island Red mentioned earlier for its egg-laying prowess, also excels in meat production. Its balanced qualities make it a practical choice for homesteaders and small-scale farmers looking for a multi-purpose bird.

The Wyandotte is another dual-purpose breed known for its striking appearance, friendly disposition, and consistent egg and meat production. These birds are often chosen by backyard enthusiasts looking to enjoy the benefits of both eggs and meat without specializing in either category.

Ornamental and Exhibition Breeds:
Beyond practical agricultural purposes, some chicken breeds are cherished for their ornamental value and suitability for exhibition. The Silkie chicken, with its fluffy feathers and distinctive appearance, has captivated poultry enthusiasts for generations. Silkies are often kept as pets and are a popular choice at poultry shows, where their unique appearance garners attention.

The Polish chicken, known for its distinctive crest of feathers, is another favourite among poultry enthusiasts and exhibitors. Their striking appearance and lively personalities make them a hit at exhibitions and fairs, where their unique plumage and charm are on full display.

In summary, the world of chicken breeds is a diverse and dynamic one, with each breed serving a specific purpose in agriculture. Whether it's egg layers, meat producers, dual-purpose birds, or ornamental breeds, chickens continue to be a vital part of global agriculture. As consumers become more conscious of where their food comes from and how it's raised, the role of these diverse chicken breeds in sustainable and ethical farming practices becomes increasingly important.

For information about free range egg production check out our website www.freeranger.com.au

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

China's biggest non-cage egg farm

 Building of China's largest non-cage egg farm for half a million hens has started in Guangdong, a southern region.

The facility is on 100 acres and will be constructed in four phases in a joint venture by the province’s local government of Mashi and Guangdong-based egg supplier Tudama Agricultural Development Company.

Initially the sheds will house 200,000 hens but will accommodate 500,000 layers by the end of phase four. The scene in this picture is similar to many cage free operations in Australia which claim to be 'free range' and sell eggs in supermarkets. 

Eggs for well- being

 Freerange eggs have a wide range of nutrients needed for our well-being. They contain proteins and various vitamins including vitamins A, D, B12 and B2 as well as iodine and selenium. You’ll also find calcium, phosphorous, folate, biotin, choline and thiamine

The Well of Life Center in Philadelphia, was founded on the belief that the body has an incredible ability to heal itself, when provided with the right food. The Center helps people understand what is going on within their bodies, , and how to put back a natural balance. clinicians don’t treat symptoms with medication but instead find the underlying causes of each problem, from diabetes to cancer, weight gain to digestive issues.

Monday, September 04, 2023

Chicken numbers through the roof since 1990

 Global statistics show that the number of chickens worldwide has more than doubled since 1990. In 2021, there were some 25.8 billion chickens in the world, up from about 13.9 billion chickens in 2000. In 2023, the number is probably closer to 30 billion. Here at Freeranger Eggs, we are just a tiny cog in the egg supply chain with less than 1000 hens at a time.

Check how we do things on our website at www.freeranger.com.au

Friday, September 01, 2023

Gender identity for chickens


Mad acientists are at it again with'gender-bending' plans.Israel-based startup company Soos Technology,  is using sound wave energy to boost the hen population. Their proposed technology equips incubators with devices that introduce sound waves to fertilized eggs to alter gene expression. The result is genetically male chicks that express female physical traits, which means that these chicks will lay eggs.

Syracuse University says that according to Soos Technology, the treatment is safe for the embryos, non-intrusive to the eggs, and does not involve any form of genetic modification or hormonal intervention.

The researchers control the environmental conditions in the incubator during embryonic development using sound energy produced by vibration. By altering the sound frequencies and volumes, and the humidity and temperatures within the incubator, Soos Technology claims they can increase the odds of hatching a female chick from 50% to near 80%.It says"Our technology doesn't interfere with the way the industry is working and doesn't use GMOs. We are pushing the males to develop as functional females by mimicking nature and controlling the environment." The company won a $1 million grand prize in a New York agricultural technology competition. Full details here