Thursday, 28 June 2012

A clayton's 'free range'


In my second image, below, these are available at my local supermarket. Clockwise from bottom left:
Manning Valley Free Range Eggs - clean and green - pasture based farming system - On average we run 1500 to 7500 a hectare

Nature's Free Range Eggs - no presence on the web

Kangaroo Island Free Range Eggs - Fresh tasty eggs from full beaked free range hens - Genuine Free Range Eggs audited by Animal Liberation, SA - Stocking density on the range on Kangaroo Island Free Range Eggs farm is 750 hens per hectare, this means each hen has at least 13 square meters of space to itself. Beak trimming is definitely not allowed on Fryar's free range farm, all hens are full beaked which enables them to peck & scratch at seeds, insects, grubs etc as nature intended.

Holbrook Paddock Eggs - free roaming grass fed hens - Our happy Isa Brown hens follow the mob of cows. They roost and lay their eggs in portable sheds which are moved onto fresh pasture twice a week. The hens are free to roam the paddock allowing them unlimted access to fresh grass, bugs and grubs. The hens then reward us with a premium quality free range egg. Two Maremma dogs live with the hens to protect them from predators as they are NEVER locked up.

So, what is free range? According to the Free Range Farmers' Association 'Consumer research has shown that most buyers of free range eggs expect the hens to have all-day access to pasture with a stocking density of less than 1500 birds per hectare and the hens must not be de-beaked or beak trimmed'.

The FRFA goes on
'But the Australian Egg Corporation has revealed that some 'free range' farms have a stocking density of 40,000 birds per hectare or more. Beak trimming is also widely practiced to combat feather pecking and cannibalism which are a consequence of high density stocking rates ... FRFA member farms have a stocking density limit of 750 birds per Ha.'.


I purchased the Holbrook Paddock Eggs today, but unless I can get an assurance from them as to their stocking rate, I will have to go back to KI eggs, even though they travel much further.

17 comments:

Virginia said...

I have a fascination shooting eggs myself! Interesting info about free range as well.
V

Clueless in Boston said...

I haven't seen free range eggs here, but I do buy free range beef (less fat, more protein) and organic eggs. I guess as you get older you start to think of these things more, at least I do.

Margaret said...

Thank you for the" heads up" I had no idea the labels were so misleading.
I go to a farmers market once a week in my town, so will remember to get my eggs there from one of the small stalls with genuine home grown vegies.

Thérèse said...

Quite interesting and there is always something to learn when you investigate the real meaning of the labels. Sometimes you get discouraged in the research...

Jim said...

Does anyone overseas understand "Clayton's"? I think it's Australian in origin.

Joe said...

Instead of marketing eggs as "free range" perhaps they should have to disclose their bird density stats.

Rae Walter said...

Good point Julie and something that is also of concern to me. I like Joe's idea of disclosing the stocking density ratios.

diane b said...

I have often wondered how can you prove the eggs are from free range chickens.

Julie said...

I guess it is all in the eye of the beholder, Diane.

Yes, having only 750 hens per hectare might be an aim, but only if the paddock is changed regularly. No good if the hens are scratching in bare soil that they have scarified over weeks and weeks.

I think only two of these 'henneries' would satisfy my requirements for humane treatment of laying hens.

I think I prefer the Holbrook place, just from the detail on their website. I shall email them re their stocking rate per hectare.

Kay L. Davies said...

Beautiful brown eggs, Julie. For some reason, the whole beak-trimming and de-beaking idea has escaped my consciousness until now. I'm sure I've heard of it, but I managed to make the whole ghastly idea inaccessible.
I had Dick buy eggs the other day because I needed to make a cake, and I was so disappointed because all the eggs were white. Factory eggs, I'm sure.
Sigh.
K

Mark said...

very informative, 'organic', 'free range' is a minefield. The best way to know something is organic is to grow it yourself, I have read amazing blogs of people who almost live off their unit balconies in regards to vegies and herbs.
I am lucky in the country as I know lots of places to get fresh eggs.

Lincoln Eye said...

I'd agree with Jim's comment - I think Claytons is unknown outside Australia. It prompted me to look it up and it has its own Wikipedia page where it explains that Claytons is a non alcoholic non carbonated beverage designed to resemble whisky "the drink you have when you're not having a drink". I think the term deserves wider use in the world - governments, national sporting teams anyone?

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Oh man Julie I was going to have scramblers for brekkie tomorrow, the box had 'free range' on it, thankfully I've thrown it away so I can't check too many more details, next time! Seriously, beak trimming..that's just bad!

Julie said...

Too much information can be bad for one's health, eh Grace?

I did google to see if Clayton's was explained and then promptly forgot to link to the explanation. It is a ripper of an expression, I agree. We use it all the time down here.

Steffe said...

There are two farms near me where I can buy the eggs directly from the farmer.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Your hear many arguments to and fro on the egg situation. I have come to the conclusion that barn eggs are not too bad.

Julie said...

But, being caged in a barn day and night may not be good for hens. The process is not determined just by the taste of the egg.