Backyard Poultry Forum • View topic - Free Range finally defined - but is it fair to the chooks?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:43 pm 
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Prime Pekin
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Stocking density will be 10, 000 birds per hectare.

http://www.poultryworld.net/Eggs/Articl ... g_standard


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:57 am 
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Proud Rooster
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The large operators have always wanted to own the term "free range" for its feel-good effect on consumers.
If I had chooks stocked at one per square metre of bare ground I would feel dishonest selling eggs as "free range".
Smaller commercial producers who make the effort to rotate poultry on pasture are disadvantaged by the decision.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:00 pm 
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Newbie
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And here I am worried that ours have enough room.
That's not exactly free range, is it? Basically just a step up from cages in terms of room.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:45 pm 
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Prime Pekin
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It's pretty crap really. If I buy eggs I ensure the info given tells me birds per hectare. I base my buying decision on that - recently that was Willow Zen at 130 birds per hectare.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:42 am 
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Proud Rooster
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Well bear in mind that chickens will be in clumps all about the place, some bunched up eating, dustbathing, annoying each other etc. While others will be off by themself for a bit. They will be moving about all over the place, and considering it takes a large amount of birds to pay for themselves, they will most likely be in quite large areas, so will be able to flap about imagining they are going to take off at any minute giving themselves a thrill, which we know they enjoy. They will still be able to behave like a proper chicken, and it is not going to be out of reach of poultry farmers currently running them in cages for cost efficiency. So, more of those will be likely to consider changing over, as free range eggs fetch a premium. I reckon at this point the main thing is getting the caged birds out of cages, this will help, so I'm counting it as a win for chickens. Then once free range is the new established norm, people can decide what constitutes a decent amount of room that will still return a fair profit for the farmer. I think the real issue is that we have as a society been spoiled with unrealistically cheap eggs for too long. I mean, everybody seems to like the idea of free range eggs, but then at crunch time, a lot of those people will complain if their eggs cost too much more than cage eggs. Most people that don't raise chickens themselves have no idea of the costs involved in creating that egg.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:48 pm 
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Prime Pekin
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Great points Aisha - anything is indeed better than cages.

But history suggests once something is encoded in law it is difficult to change.

Fingers crossed that isnt the case this time.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:29 am 
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Showy Hen
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I didn't realise some companies add stock per hectare on packaging. Society should be able to easily work this out. I feel if more people understood how sad egg farming industry can be, they would change their own thinking faster.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 1:32 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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In theory I'm all for free range rather than caged however it will open a whole new kettle of fish in terms of poultry health.
Birds which were previously protected in sealed, bio secure facilities will now be exposed to all that nature can throw at them. There will be a need for more chemical input in the way of vaccinations, maybe preventative medication and parasite treatment - none of which the GP will trust in the end product.
If these are not used, losses will be huge - another welfare can of worms.
Runoff will also be a concern. In a shed the manure is collected and taken off site. On open range it will cause toxic build up in soil and pollution in ground water and waterways. Management of this will be costly and difficult. I can understand the Industry's concerns.
There will be no option but to significantly increase the $ of eggs or we will have another sector of primary producers being bled to death by the 'Big Two'.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:26 pm 
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Fiesty Fowl
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I wonder how many people with back yard chickens actually work out how many square meters there pens are and how many they have in that area ,
I think there will be a lot that run higher than 1 per square meter. I mean I never give it a thought as long as they look like they got room my main yard be about 15 meters by 12 and there be about 50 - 60 chooks in there

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:04 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Definitely food for thought.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:30 pm 
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Prime Pekin
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sue55 wrote:
In theory I'm all for free range rather than caged however it will open a whole new kettle of fish in terms of poultry health.
Birds which were previously protected in sealed, bio secure facilities will now be exposed to all that nature can throw at them. There will be a need for more chemical input in the way of vaccinations, maybe preventative medication and parasite treatment - none of which the GP will trust in the end product.
If these are not used, losses will be huge - another welfare can of worms.
Runoff will also be a concern. In a shed the manure is collected and taken off site. On open range it will cause toxic build up in soil and pollution in ground water and waterways. Management of this will be costly and difficult. I can understand the Industry's concerns.
There will be no option but to significantly increase the $ of eggs or we will have another sector of primary producers being bled to death by the 'Big Two'.


You sound as if you have a lot of knowledge in this area Sue55.
Is sounds as if free range then not really a viable egg producing solution in your experience?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:28 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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I'm just not sure that it's a practical option. Given the number of eggs that are sold/consumed, the amount of area which would need to be dedicated to free range production would be huge.
I think that some sectors of the public have been caught up on the romance of happy chooks, free to live a lovely life on green pastures for happily ever after and haven't considered the realities in terms of economics, the environment and poultry welfare and management.
That's why I have my own chooks, managed under a small scale system of compromise - large pens, regular access to range and forage, sufficient eggs for my needs and plenty to share - but I'm fortunate enough to live the dream.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:30 pm 
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Prime Pekin
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I envy that Sue55....I have a city fringe property that is allowed to have 10 chooks though really the ground cannot support 10 ( I have 8) and I am getting big worm loads...so I buy eggs and hide them in my trolley in case the neighbours see them as I am always worming my girls (only 3 of whom are laying anyways as 2 are too old and 3 are too young)


There is no easy solution but I do hold hope that some young inspiring entrepreneur will find a solution - like these girls did for one aspect of poor poultry industry practice.. http://www.mimictec.com/

:thumbs:


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