Free Range Eggs

Planning changes may force real farmers to obtain permits

Proposed changes to Victoria's planning laws will mean that permits will not be required for back-yard egg producers with up to 200 chickens and hobby farmers with less than 450 hens. The new planning reforms seem to suggest that genuine egg farmers aiming to make a living will now have to obtain permits for an activity that was regarded by most planning officers as an'as of right'use on land in a...
 

free range farms are not an avian flu risk

Genuine low-density free range farms do not increase the risk of outbreaks of avian influenza. A leading poultry vet has said that the two most recent outbreaks in Australia were on intensive farms with high stocking densities. In an article by Dr George Arzey in the January Poultry Digest,he said that the two outbreaks in New South Wales in 2012 and 2013 were in intensive'free range'flocks of 50,000...
 

Eggs in Australia could be contaminated

Contamination of eggs in europe with insecticide residues has led to concerns that similar contamination could be happening in Australia. Fipronil is an insecticide which is commonly used as an active ingredient for flea, mite and other pest control. Based on Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code we allow a Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) of 0.02mg per kg.Life on a free range farm in Australia
 

More egg producers to be prosecuted?

The judgement by Federal Court Justice J Siopis in the case of WA egg business,Snowdale Holdings over deceptive conduct in labelling eggs as free range, could open up many more major egg producers to prosecution, despite ridiculous amendments to consumer law approved by Ministers for Consumer Affairs. The eggs which Snowdale sold and promoted as free range eggs during the relevant period came from...
 

Avian Influenza still a big issue around the world

Animal health authorities in the Philippines believe that highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in poultry has been brought under control. There have been high-level discussions with the poultry industry in South Africa on how to tackle the worsening disease situation there. Veterinary agencies have also confirmed new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in commercial poultry in France,...
 

Corinella mini farmers'market September 23

Once again we will be at the next Mini Farmers'Market at Corinella community centre on Saturday September 23.Life on a free range farm in Australia
 

Senate could extend its farm gate price enquiry to cover eggs

It's a pity that the current Senate inquiry into farm gate milk prices isn't extended to also cover the treatment of farmers in the egg industry. Political interference in the definition of free range eggs has created a massive platform for consumer deception and unfair competition. Ministers for Consumer Affairs got it wrong when they allowed an intensive stocking density for free range egg production....
 

intensive'free range'law come into effect on April 18 unless Federal Court intervenes or politicians see sense

Unless politicians change their minds ( or the Federal Court changes them), the ridiculous new labelling regulations for free range eggs will come into effect on April 18, 2018? a year and a day after the Government published the new information standard allowing an outdoor stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare.Life on a free range farm in Australia
 

We aim to get hundreds more free range egg farms started

There is huge demand in this country for more free range eggs, but consumers know that they can't trust labels on eggs found in supermarkets, especially after politicians approved a high density stocking rate which allows families to be ripped-off. Everyone can help to establish more genuine, small scale free range egg farms by supporting a programme of webinars demonstrating all the processes involved....
 

Big producers'conned'politicians over'free range'standard

A report by Melbourne University in the Journal of Rural Studies shows how big producers in the egg industry pushed politicians to agree to the definition of'free range'that suited their intensive businesses. Australia?s egg industry was able to ?capture? the development of the national information standard, ensuring that ?free range? was legally defined as industrial-scale free range, with the tacit...
 

$1 million penalty foir false egg labelling

A West Australian egg producer has to pay more than a million dollars after the Federal court revealed the penalty for selling eggs which were falsely labelled as free range Snowdale Holdings was found guilty more than a year ago but the penalty of $750,000 plus $300,000 costs has just been announced. The action was brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission which said that the...
 

New welfare standards for poultry

Public consultation on new welfare standards to replace the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, Domestic Poultry is expected to begin within two months. Animal Health Australia has been preparing the new standards for over a year, in consultation with a variety of major interest groups. Details are at http://www.animalwelfarestandards.net.au/poultry/Life on a free range farm in Aust...
 

Egg industry workshops around Australia

The Australian Egg Corporation (Australian Eggs) is holding workshops for the egg industry around the country. Subjects being covered include:  Hen behaviour and beak treatment Egg Standards in Australia Salmonella intervention strategies and egg washing Water quality and biosecurity   Workshops will be held in Penrith NSW on August 1, Yass on September 5 and Taree on September 7, Geelong in Victoria...
 

Stupidmarkets'egg price war

The major Australian supermarkets, Coles, Woolworths and Aldi are taking advantage of consumers, thanks to Ministers for Consumer Affairs allowing intensively produced eggs to be labelled as'free range'. After caving-in to corporate lobbyists, the Ministers allowed eggs produced on intensive, industrial-scale facilities to be sold as free range. In the supermarkets, customers may as well buy the cheapest...
 

Nutrient loading on free range farms

The stocking density of farm animals is a critical factor in the long term sustainability of farmland. With chickens, the maximum outdoor stocking density of 1500 hens per hectare was established by the industry, academics, politicians and bureaucrats when they prepared the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals (Domestic Poultry). Nutrients and trace elements in manure accumulate in the...
 

Egg stamping'a waste of time'- Productivity Commission

If politicians take any notice of the Productivity Commission, they may halt the requirement for stamping eggs. One of the absurdities of the regulation is that not all eggs are stamped, some are stamped on-farm and some are stamped at a grading floor where there may be little traceability back to the farm. But in any event the Productivity Commission in its draft review of the regulations said that...
 

Academic study into using antibiotic growth promotants in poultry and egg production

A new academic study has been started to demonstrate something that all free range egg farmers know? that cage egg production is more efficient than free range. Keeping animals And birds in climate controlled sheds and feeding highly processed food is vastly more p[rofitable than letting livestock behave naturally ? which is why there are so many feed lots and high density factory farms. Researchers...
 

hens need to follow their natural behaviour for best performance

Academic researchers often produce theories and reports designed to demonstrate what'free range'means in the egg industry. Their findings are usually based on carefully arranged criteria set by an organisation which funded the research and expected 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...
 

Government regulations ensure the spread of avian influenza

Factory farms are incubating the next outbreak of Avian Influenza in Australia. Ministers who approved an intensive stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare have put the entire Australian egg industry at risk. Such high densities allow any disease outbreak to spread rapidly. One gram of droppings from a chicken infected with bird flu contains enough viruses to infect the entire flock.Life on a free...
 

Free range egg farm in Zambia

We have helped many people in Australia to set up free range farms. The way our system of production is easily replicated is one reason we won the Energy Globe Award for Australia in 2012. We have had requests for help from various parts of the world - today we sent off our eBook on setting up a free range egg farm to Zambia. We received a request for technical assistance to assist in setting up a...
 

$43 million a year rip off

Tom Godfrey of consumer group, Choice says that the political decision to allow intensively produced eggs to be labelled as'free range'will rip off consumers to the tune of $43 million a year. Consumers will be overpaying for dodgy free range eggs and the big producers will be protected from prosecution by changes to the Australian Consumer Law.Life on a free range farm in Australia
 

False claims on poultry stocking densities

False assertions by the egg industry that no maximum stocking density was set in the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals (Domestic Poultry) need to be revealed. The industry cobbled together an amended code which they peddle as the real thing and claim that it shows no maximum stocking density. They included in the main body of their version of the code, an edited item from the Appendix...
 

Small is beautiful

When large numbers of animals are farmed intensively on industrial units to maximise profits, problems are inevitable. Disease control and food safety are prime issues as is environmental sustainability. Since the Second World War, agricultural practices have gone through through massive changes, in mechanisation, chemical use and large-scale intensive farming.As a result of increasing the density...
 

Best Practice to combat feather pecking

A best practice guide for managing feather pecking and cannibalism in layer hens, put together by Dr Phil Glatz and Geof Runge confirms that beak trimming should be the last option for controlling the problem. The best options are selecting docile breeds in the first place, and limiting competition by reducing stocking densities. Almost certainly the major egg producers will ignore the'Best Practice'and...
 

New poultry welfare standards

New Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry are being prepared by Animal Health Australia. the draft standards will be subject to a 90-day public consultation process which is expected to be held later this year.The new standards will replace the current voluntary Model Code of Practice.Life on a free range farm in Australia
 

Look out for colouring additives in food

It's not only the colour of egg yolks which is manipulated to make them look more attractive to consumers.Chart from Kitchen Table Scraps. The same additives are used by fish farmers. Wild salmon forage for crustaceans, plankton and algae that contain naturally occurring colourful carotenoid plant pigments. Farmed salmon, are fed an artificial soy- and corn-based diet devoid of these natural pigments,...
 

Consumers duped by big businesses

Most of the meat and eggs sold in Australian supermarkets come from intensive production facilities (you can't call them farms).Consumers eagerly buy beef labelled'Grain fed'and believe they are getting a superior product. The reality is that they Are missing out on the full flavour of grass fed cattle.The same thing applies to eggs. Supermarkets only stock eggs from large producers even though some...
 

Colouring in poultry feed creates allergic reactions

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?...
 

Sustainable free range farming

The Freeranger Eggs farm is an example of sustainable farming. The 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. Despite all the political bickering in Canberra over emissions trading scheme targets, some small businesses have been playing their part in addressing the problem....
 

More people want to set up free range farms

We are getting more requests about running workshops from people wanting to set up free range farms. The extra activity has been brought on by the stupid 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.On-farm workshops have worked well in the past but they tend to disrupt the day-to-day farm activity...
 

Hens are enjoying the sun and warmer conditions

Our flocks of Isa Brown's are getting over the wet,windy conditions of the last few week and enjoying the sun. A drop in egg production is inevitable on genuine free range farms during cold, wet times with less daylight hours. The only way to avoid the problem is to lock the hens in climate controlled sheds like most other egg producers.Our egg production is slowly building and we should be back to...
 

Research shows animal welfare is not the main reason consumers choose free range eggs

Taste and nutritional values are the major drivers for decisions to choose free range eggs rather than those from hens kept in cages. That's been a view we have held for years, but now there is research to prove it: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08927936.2017.1310986Life on a free range farm in Australia
 

Search engine rankings

Almost every day we receive emails from companies offering Search Engine Optimisation services. They tell us that they can increase traffic to our website and increase our sales. I have no doubt that these clever souls could increase the number of visitors to theFreeranger Eggssite but there is no way that would result in increased sales? because we don't have any extra eggs to sell. We sell out completely...
 

Dealing with the risk of Avian Influenza

Good biosecurity measures are vital on any poultry farm to reduce the spread of many diseases - particularly serious ones such as Avian Influenza. It is generally a matter of commonsense and putting the right procedures in place. The Vietnam government has produced a booklet advising farmers and the points are relevant here in Australia.http://www.fao.org/docs/eims/upload/206313/AImanual_vietnam_en.pdfThe...
 

World egg production set to hit 100 million tonnes

Outbreaks of avian influenza in many major egg-producing countries have reduced egg production expectations, but total world egg volumes will still reach 100 million tonnes by 2035. Since the year 2000 world egg production increased by 36.5 percent, or an average of 2.8 percent per year. In 2014, a laying flock of 7.2 billion hens produced almost 1,320 billion eggs worldwide, nearly 70 million tonnes....
 

Food Allergy Week in May

Eggs are often seen as a high risk factor for allergies and intolerances. The problem is usually caused by the colouring additives used by many producers to enhance yolk colour. 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...
 

More evidence of political stupidity(or corruption) on'free range'definition

There is now more evidence about the stupidity (or corruption of the various State Ministers for Consumer Affairs and the Federal Minister for Small Business who approved the new high density standard for free range egg production. 100.000 hens per hectare is well beyond the bounds of possible land sustainability see here:http://zootecnicainternational.com/featured/nutrient-loading-free-range-layer-farming/Life...
 

Effective vaccines for avian influenza in poultry not available yet

Vaccines have been developed to combat avian influenza in poultry and bird flu in humans. But scientists are reluctant to approve the mass vaccination of chickens because they believe it may not reduce the risk of infection. The vaccines appear to mask the symptoms so poultry keepers may not be aware that their birds are infected. This could allow the virus to spread widely and may cross over to humans....
 

Low stocking densities and quality feed are keys to good bird health

High levels of production and efficient feed conversion are needed if egg farms are to survive. Free range farms are able to maintain effective disease control when low stocking densities are maintained. It's essential for poultry health to provide high quality natural feed and clean water. A protein content of around 18% is required for hen health and good production. Organic acids and their salts...
 

New standards don't lift free range egg numbers in the marketplace

The Australian Government's standards for free range egg labelling do nothing to meet consumer expectations about what'free range'means. They certainly don't increase the numbers of free range eggs in the marketplace. They simply protect unscrupulous operators from prosecution by the ACCC when they label intensively produced eggs as'free range'. The guidelines allow an outdoor stocking density of...
 

Isa Browns are ideal free range hens

At freeranger eggs, we choose Isa Brown hens because they are ideal for free range production. They are docile and are prolific layers of brown-shelled eggs. They tend to lay all year, but production does drop during winter when there are less daylight hours. Some farmers install lights in the sheds to trick the hens into laying more? but we prefer the natural approach and let the hens have a rest...
 

ACCC action over milk - there may be more over eggs

It's great that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is taking Murray Goulburn to court for'unconsionable conduct'in misleading dairy farmers over milk prices. Dairy farmers have been placed in an impossible position which has led to many being forced out of business. Politicians and bureaucrats have had a hand in this too. For years, dairy farmers have been told to'Get Big or Get Out'so...
 

Big drop in egg production

The cold, wet weather here has caused a big drop in egg production at the farm. Clearly the chooks don't like the conditions. It means that we will have difficulty meeting our regular orders until production picks up again - but that's the lot of any free range egg farms if they are doing things properly. Makes it clear why so many keep their chooks locked up in climate controlled sheds.Life on a free...
 

Which came first - the chicken or the egg?

The answer to the age-old question about which came first is here: Science has spoken: the egg came first. The modern chicken is a domesticated descendant of the?Red Jungle fowl,? a bird native to the Himalayan foothills. Genetic experts have recently determined though, that there?s a bit of ?Grey Jungle fowl? DNA mixed in as well, which accounts for the yellow legs found on the common chicken but...
 

Top 50 among poultry blogs

We are proud to say that this blog is regarded as one of the world's top 50 poultry blogs.Best,Life on a free range farm in Australia
 

Free range eggs in the UK were almost history

"Free-range"eggs were on the verge of disappearing from shelves in Britain as a result of the Government's bird flu housing order. Since December British-farmed poultry have been shut in barns under emergency measures to prevent the spread of avian influenza. The free range status of the hens locked in sheds was protected by UK law but by the end of February they had been inside for 12 weeks meaning...
 

Research into'free range'meaning

Research conducted by Hannah Larsen and Dr Jean-Loup Rault, of Melbourne University has been helping to define what'free range'means. Government standards such as'meaningful and regular access to the outdoors'and a stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare are completely inadequate. The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission has better guidelines, such as'hens are able to move about freely...
 

Sunlight affects egg quality

Free range eggs are a good source of dietary vitamin D, each egg from hens that spend most of the day outdoors contains about 10% of the required daily value . The vitamin D is concentrated in the yolk. along with most other nutrients such as folic acid. Research in Britain has indicated that when hens are exposed to direct sunlight, they tend to lay paler shelled eggs. All eggs are initially white,...
 

Drilling starts on sand extraction site near Bass River

The peace and tranquility of life on the Freeranger farm, next to the Grantville Nature Conservation Reserve in West Gippsland seems set to be disrupted. A drilling rig appeared on a property next to us in Stanley Road on Tuesday afternoon. The site was purchased some years ago by a sand extraction company and permits were issued on the basis that there was an urgent need for additional sand resources...
 

Farmers'markets losing their attraction in Victoria

Farmers'Markets seem to be losing their attraction in Victoria? probably because too many are now operating. In the early days they were great vehicles for selling farm produce, but recently buyers have been put off by seeing markets spring up all over the place, often with the same stallholders. Producers are rebelling against exorbitant fees charged by some market managers. As a result of declining...