Farming Methods

WHY BUY FAMILY HOMESTEAD GENUINE FREE RANGE EGGS?

*** Please take note of below changes to farming practices, this information is also contained within a leaflet in our egg carton. We appreciate your understanding and support and would like to stress that we are dedicated to the welfare of our hens and providing you with the best genuine free range egg possible. Thank you for supporting our family business!

  • Australian owned & operated family business

  • Mobile chicken sheds

On our farm our Poultry sheds are mobile, this is done in order to keep the bacteria count down and in order to maintain grass cover (however naturally some grass closest to the hen house becomes worn). We physically move the chickens and the shed onto a fresh paddock. This is our standard for true free range egg production and it is a natural method of farming verses - factory farming.

  • Our farm is Accredited with the Free Range Farmers Association Victoria.

  • Our farm is Accredited with Humane Choice Free Range Eggs
  • Hens are never locked up *

Our laying hens have unlimited access to pasture i.e. hens are free to roam on an open range. Our laying hens are never locked up, not even at night. During day light, our birds only return to their shed in order to lay eggs or feed. We have numerous Maremma dogs that protect our free ranging hens from predators. They work all day and night warding off both low flying eagles and foxes. The only time that our hens would be locked up is for a short period of time when a shed is being moved around the paddock in the evening, or in case of an illness (when medication is added to water & the hens must drink the water prior to being let out).

*Please note that to assist with a recent predator problem problem (foxes) in the evening, we will be locking up our hens in the evening, which will take some pressure off our maremma guardian dogs. The hen houses will be reopened at day break. The welfare of our hens are our highest priority and we are doing this to ensure minimal attacks. We appologise for the change in farming practices.

 

  • Hens are able to express their natural behavior

Our hens are free to dust bathe, flap their wings and socialize with other hens.

  • Low stocking density

On our farm the Stocking density is a low 750 chickens per hectare . A low stocking density is essential to maintaining a healthy environment and the wellbeing of our birds. Our accredited member farms may stock at the Model Code of Practice which is still a low 1500 chickens per hectare as per the specific accreditation body guidelines.

  • Minimum waste production – Environmental Management System

Minimum waste production - We do our utmost to ensure that waste that our farm business generates is recycled i.e. waste cardboard boxes, manure, any organic material is composted on the farm. We are currently breeding worms, which will be put through our composted waste material in order to get worm castings, which we will spread over our 100-acre property.

The reason for this is that one-gram of worm castings holds six grams of water. The worm castings are full of natural microorganism that condition soil, rejuvenate soil and balances the soil. This will allow us to maintain our pasture and provide an even healthier environment for our chickens.

  • No pelletized food

Chickens are fed quality grains such as corn, wheat, peas, lupins etc- there is no palletized food. We believe that whatever the chicken eats ultimately ends up in our bodies through the egg, therefore we are very particular with the poultry diet.

  • No meat meal *

* We have an immediate change in poultry diet based on veterinary and animal nutritionist's advice due to severe heat stress caused by prolonged 40'C + temperatures. Our feed ration needs to include soluble meat protein (which is the norm in the egg industry). The extreme heat has caused weight loss in flocks and as such we have no alternative but to implement these changes to our poultry feed and farming practices.

  • No synthetic colour additives *

There is no synthetic colour additives therefore the yolk colour is determined by how much corn the chicken ate. If the chicken had more corn to eat then the egg yolk colour would be richer and if she had more wheat it would be paler. Currently we are planting Purslane on our farm in order to enrich the egg with a natural source of omega 3.

* Due to the extreme heat having decimated our green pasture (40'C+ consecutive days) we have included a natural pigmentation to assist with the yolk colour. We appologise for this change to our farming practices.

  • No debeaking or beak trimming

We do NOT de-beak our chickens as it is cruel and the chicken feels pain for the rest of its life even when drinking water.

  • No factory farming

Our method of farming is land based - it is extensive not intensive focusing on maintaining environmentally sustainable farming practice.