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 Post subject: A win for the chooks!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:55 am 
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Prime Pekin
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http://www.animalsaustralia.org/features/progress-free-range-egg-labelling.php?ua_s=e-mail


Last edited by Cackles on Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 11:56 am 
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there have been many more free range eggs sold than is physically possible from the number of free range hens on farms for decades. It seems labeling food is a big problem in general, and is very deceptive and sneaky, unfortunately the only way to know where you food truly comes from is to grow it yourself or at least see it for yourself.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 2:36 pm 
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There is still a lot of work to be done. Fifteen hundred hens per hectare is not free ranging. That is the standard the egg industry is going for so they can incorrectly label their eggs as free range. Just more deceptive practice.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 5:03 pm 
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chookyinoz wrote:
There is still a lot of work to be done. Fifteen hundred hens per hectare is not free ranging. That is the standard the egg industry is going for so they can incorrectly label their eggs as free range. Just more deceptive practice.



It is a huge improvement on 20,000 birds per hectare ....which is what they were initially asking be the standard for free range.

If one hectare = 107639 sq ft that is 5.38 square feet per bird at 20,000, but at 1500 is 71.57 square feet per bird. (provided my math is correct :roll: )


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 8:15 pm 
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Maths looks good. There is more to it than square feet though. For example, letting out birds into the same muddy bare ground every day is a lot worse in my opinion than letting them free range in a lush field with electric netting and moved everyday.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:54 pm 
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Unfortunately Free Range doesn't necessarily mean good welfare - the term is being used for misleading marketing. The general public needs educating and the industry needs to be much more accountable.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 10:05 am 
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TookTook wrote:
chookyinoz wrote:
There is still a lot of work to be done. Fifteen hundred hens per hectare is not free ranging. That is the standard the egg industry is going for so they can incorrectly label their eggs as free range. Just more deceptive practice.



It is a huge improvement on 20,000 birds per hectare ....which is what they were initially asking be the standard for free range.

If one hectare = 107639 sq ft that is 5.38 square feet per bird at 20,000, but at 1500 is 71.57 square feet per bird. (provided my math is correct :roll: )


No matter how big the 'free range' area is, 99% of the birds only ever go something like 30m from their barn, which having chooks ourselves we all know would be bare dirt almost totally devoid of any greens or anything. I remember seeing something saying that the 'enrichment' gained by free ranging in this manner is actually negated and probably surpassed by the negative effects including aerial predator stress etc. The pictures on labels and promotional material of lush green grass are BS.
This is definitely not the same as what Andy describes, which is what most people probably imagine free range is supposed to be.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 12:00 pm 
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Andy Vardy wrote:
Maths looks good. There is more to it than square feet though. For example, letting out birds into the same muddy bare ground every day is a lot worse in my opinion than letting them free range in a lush field with electric netting and moved everyday.


Totally agree Andy.

This is a topic I am rather passionate about and have done my own research into. I won't repeat it all here as I have a blog post on the topic (http://thefeatheredgarden.blogspot.com.au/search/label/Humane%20Treatment%20of%20animals).

However this site I link to in that post http://www.sustainabletable.org.au/Hungryforinfo/Free-range-egg-and-chicken-guide/tabid/113/Default.aspx has a useful table comparing different labelling regulations and requirements (eg AEC regulations for free range compared to FREPA) to help people choose which to buy for conventional free range and organic meat chickens.


For example whilst the AEC has no specifications regarding ground cover, the Humane Choice Org (http://www.humanechoice.com.au/) state:

" pasture cover should not fall below 40% and consideration must be given to the soil's health, production capacity, structure and nutrient balance "

The RSPCA approved eggs require: "the range must be well maintained with enough edible vegetation and shade/shelter " and so on through the six accrediting bodies examined.

sue55 wrote:
Unfortunately Free Range doesn't necessarily mean good welfare - the term is being used for misleading marketing. The general public needs educating and the industry needs to be much more accountable.


sue55 I reckon information such as the table I have been quoting from on the The Sustainable Org site above, if shared by all of us on Social Media can go a long way to spreading the word.


Sash wrote:
No matter how big the 'free range' area is, 99% of the birds only ever go something like 30m from their barn, which having chooks ourselves we all know would be bare dirt almost totally devoid of any greens or anything. I remember seeing something saying that the 'enrichment' gained by free ranging in this manner is actually negated and probably surpassed by the negative effects including aerial predator stress etc. The pictures on labels and promotional material of lush green grass are BS.
This is definitely not the same as what Andy describes, which is what most people probably imagine free range is supposed to be.


The Sustainable Org site as well as specifying the "pasture cover - essential to maintain birds health and minimise environmental impact" include some welfare related items such as ease of access to that range and beak trimming.

This is fantastic information for the consumer to enable informed decision making.

Also, interestingly I think you will find that information you saw about aerial predator stress etc came from the AEC themselves...I used to have a link to the fact sheet on their site from my blog a year or so ago but it appears to have been removed I see on checking just now. https://www.aecl.org/media/fact-sheets/


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 8:24 pm 
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If the law comes in for 1500 hens to the Hectare,the price of free range eggs will skyrocket & then most egg buyers, will go back,to buying, shed layer eggs.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 10:29 pm 
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Macar, that may well be. But for every person who goes back to the old system there could be one converted to free range - if only you help them be better informed.

Remember the story of the starfish. http://illuzone.net/short-story-the-boy ... -starfish/

:-) :thumbs:


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 1:30 am 
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There is an organic free range egg farm in my area that is sited in an open beef cattle pasture. The grass is tall & lush green & the chooks are red. Just like on the labels of egg cartons.
The man has the chooks in batches of 200 or so to each trailer shed. The trailers are lined up across the paddock some many meters apart.
He moves the trailers a few meters every few days so that by the end of their lay, the chooks have moved from one end of the paddock to the other. The chooks are accompanied by 2 maremma dogs.
It is hard to see where the chooks have been grazing because the cattle follow along pretty closely to get the freshly fertilized pasture.
That stocking rate would be in the vicinity of 1500 birds per hectare. They farm gate retail their eggs for $9doz & wholesale for around 2/3 that price I think.
These people got the idea for that form of management from a farm in Victoria. So it is doable.
It's also that strategy I have in mind if I do free range commercially.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:08 am 
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yes, if you look at the polyface farm, that is the best method in my mind also. Taranaki have copied this principle and seem to be having great success also.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:14 pm 
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ClissaTSoyFreeChooks wrote:
It is hard to see where the chooks have been grazing because the cattle follow along pretty closely to get the freshly fertilized pasture.
That stocking rate would be in the vicinity of 1500 birds per hectare. They farm gate retail their eggs for $9doz & wholesale for around 2/3 that price I think.
These people got the idea for that form of management from a farm in Victoria. So it is doable.
It's also that strategy I have in mind if I do free range commercially.


I might be wrong, but I believe you have the relationship backwards; the chooks probably follow a few days behind the cattle, distributing the cattle manure as they pick out the bugs. That's how Salatin/Polyface does it.

Andy Vardy wrote:
yes, if you look at the polyface farm, that is the best method in my mind also. Taranaki have copied this principle and seem to be having great success also.


Yeah I agree. Salatin is kooky bordering on crazy, I don't agree with his ideas on some things, but most of his farming methods to me are spot on. Seems weird that they are 'unusual' and not the norm.


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