Sure the carton says “free range”, and there may be photos of verdant pastures and room for the chickens—but are you really getting what you think you are? Who’s to tell?
Despite the free range Model Code capping stocking density at 1 500 hens per hectare, some farms cram in more than 20 000. And some eggs come from flocks of up to 120 000! Is it any wonder when over half of the free range eggs sold in Australia come from only three producers? They’re Novo, Pace Farm and Manning Valley and are responsible for the myriad of brands you see in the major supermarkets.
Coles and Woolworths have even set their own free range standards—with a stocking density of 10 000 hens per hectare. That’s nearly seven times the Model Code limit. And large producers that have both caged and ‘free range’ chickens, tend to believe the free range system is flawed.
With people willing to pay for the extra cost of producing free range eggs, all these players can see is ka-ching!
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If you’re unsure if your eggs are free range or not, look for organic or animal welfare certification.
Alternatively, seek pastured eggs; if you have a concern, simply ask the farmer! These hens are raised all or most of their lives on pasture and are moved every few days to enrich the soil; they’re free to dust bathe, scratch and forage, to eat worms and grubs.
Their quality diet means rich and creamy eggs for us. And buying direct, the eggs will be actually fresh, with round, golden yolks, holding firm when poaching.
Look for these brands at farmers’ markets and local independent stores near you. Taste the difference and tell your friends!
Support local farmers and eat delicious fresh food to boot; check our other directories: milk, eggs, pork, fruit and vegetables, garlic, turkeys and chickens.
Contribute: Do you know a farm that should be here? Email info AT flavourcrusader DOT com for inclusion. Learn more about the directories.
12 Good Eggs, Barham
Glen and Mardie Gray’s girls roam the paddock enjoying country air, Barham sunshine and shady Red Gums. They sleep and lay in caravans, that are shifted twice weekly, protected by electric netting and Maremma dogs.
Arden Farm, Orange
John and Kate Polain’s chickens graze freely, protected by two Maremma dogs. The farmers’ production is free from synthetic fertilisers, insecticides and herbicides.
Brigadoon Harvest, Tooraweenah
John and Estelle Joseph’s chickens scratch in the mulch piles, mow the green grass shoots and take luxurious dust baths. The chickens live in a mobile house that is moved every few days. They keep things simple and natural; lots of sunshine, wholefoods, grass and bugs.
Brightside Produce, Captains Flat
Emily Yarra and Michael Kobier produce a range of heirloom vegetables and pastured eggs on their new, small biological farm.
Buena Vista Farm, Gerringong
On a picturesque property, Fiona and Adam Walmsley have almost 300 laying hens, mostly housed in two mobile chicken caravans. The chickens enjoy big fresh paddocks of grass, moved every few days to a fresh spot.
Burrabee Farm, Burra
The Jones family’s chickens are free to roam, scratch, bathe and feed an entire paddock, and sometimes on their neighbour’s. At night, the chickens are locked away to protect them from predators.
Bush Chick Eggs, Wamboin
Tania Tahana has around 280 Isa Browns, living in fixed housing, in two half-acre bush paddocks, with a stocking rate of fewer than 750 hens per hectare. Because they live in a bush setting, they have plenty of leaf litter to scratch around, as well as dust bathing areas.
Byron Creek Farm, Byron Bay
Each week the sheep graze the path, followed by the hens, to ensure a smorgasbord of fresh bugs, insects, grasses and weeds.
Cackleberries by Lashbrook Farm, Old Junee
On Anna and Bryson Lashbrook’s farm, the chickens are free to roam outside, and at night they are tucked into their shed for safety and warmth. They feast upon fresh fruit and vegetable scraps daily, with continual access to a custom grain mix and rain water.
Carbeen Pastured Produce, Manildra
Rodger and Katherine’s hens are housed in trailers; the chickens are moved daily, following in rotation behind their cattle and sheep. They’re fed grain to complement their grass and bug diet.
Clarendon Farm, Pitt Town
Ian Littleton’s hens follow the natural rhythms of a wild hen’s year. They’re free from artificial light so there are fewer eggs during autumn and winter. Hens past their laying prime reside in retirement paddocks. An electric fence and Maremmas protect them from predators.
Corndale Grove, Corndale
The Demeter certified bio-dynamic farm grows, harvests, dries and mills grain for their chickens. The chickens are moved to fresh pasture continually, housed in mobile sheds, and protected by electric fencing.
Cornucopia Biodynamic Farm, Paterson River
Kerry Marshall lets her chickens roam freely throughout the day with nightly sheltering in their mobile homes. Every few days the homes are pulled to fresh pasture for a fresh supply of fresh green pick; supplementary feed is certified organic grain.
Egganic, Mangrove Mountain
The Steel family’s chickens roam chemical-free paddocks, kept safe from predators by electric fencing and Maremma dogs. They lay and roost in a mobile shed and eat fresh green feed and certified organic mash. Tip from @UrbanGreenSpace
The Farm, Byron Bay
The Farm have two flocks of layer hen: an older flock of about 300 hens, housed in a mobile A-frame chicken house, and a younger flock of 450, housed in a chicken caravan. Both flocks are rotated on pasture, moved weekly to ensure the hens have a fresh supply of grass and bugs.
Farmer Brown’s Happy Hens, Gollan
Hugh Maurice’s chickens are never locked up; they lay and roost in mobile caravans that are moved every few days. In return for the fresh pasture and change of vista, our girls fertilise the land and lay delicious eggs.
Farmer Browns Pastured Eggs, Dunedoo
The Fergusson family’s pastured hens live unrestricted in an 85-hectare paddock adjoining a large area of protected woodland. The hens lay their eggs in mobile sheds by day and perch comfortably at night. Maremma dogs provide protection.
Glenrose Eggs, Kyogle
Eden and Jason Bruessow run 2000 chickens on their certified biodynamic farm. The hens free range on pasture, and are regularly rotated. Milk from the jersey cows is curdled and fed to the hens daily. Mareema dogs protect the flock.
Grace Springs Farm, Kulnara
Tony and Virginia Mall’s chickens are housed in mobile shelters, which are rotated to regenerate the pastures. Coming soon.
Grandma’s Eggs, Gunning
Stephen Clancy, wife Maureen, son and daughter-in-law are the team behind Grandma’s Eggs. Their chickens are free to roam outside 24 hours a day with portable housing, protected by two Maremma dogs.
Grassy’s Grass Fed, Yass
The McGrath family operates Grassy’s Grass Fed, but the most important members of staff are the three Maremma dogs who allow the hens to roam free when they wish. Housed in mobile trailers and moved onto fresh pasture regularly, the chickens improve the soil and produce quality eggs.
Gunning Bum Nuts, Gunning
Craig and Theresa Robinson’s chickens have access to pasture all day, every day, and are rotated through chemical-free paddocks. They also have access to fresh rainwater in enclosed tanks.
Hayters Hill, Byron Bay
Brothers Hugh and David Trevor-Jones are fourth generation farmers with a 120-hectare mixed farm just five minutes from Byron Bay. Their 2 000 chickens are systematically rotated on pasture with plenty of room to move.
Holbrook Paddock Eggs, Holbrook
Sam and Prue Pincott’s 2 600 hens roost and lay in portable sheds which are moved onto fresh pasture twice weekly; they’re free to roam the paddock with access to fresh grass, bugs and grubs. Two Maremma dogs protect them from predators, as they’re never locked up.
IdleWilde Farm, Bulga Plateau
Darren and Liane’s hens are free to roam from dawn to dusk on green pastures, protected by Maremma dogs. The hens are housed in customised caravans that are moved to new pastures as the rotation schedule dictates.
Inverloch Free Range, Inverloch
Will and Emily Rankin farm 750 Isa Browns, free to range around in fresh pasture, scratching for worms. The mobile sheds provide a safe, warm and dry place out of the elements for the hens to lay their eggs and roost at night. They are protected 24 hours a day by Maremma dogs.
Long Paddock Eggs, Bungendore
Chickens here are free to range with plenty of fresh grass, shade, leaf litter to scratch in, dust baths and safe shelter. Valia, Amanda, Eileen and Jenny move the mobile sheds weekly. Maremma dogs and portable electric fencing provide protection.
Mayfield Farm, Dorrigo Plateau
Ian and Sandra’s flock of Plymouth Rock chickens are free to dust bath, scratch and hunt for grubs and bugs. Supplementary feed is corn, wheat and sunflower seeds with access to shell grit, Calgrit and seaweed meal throughout the day.
Mount Warning Pastured Eggs, Uki
The chickens, from a variety of breeds, are free range in paddocks at all times and roost in their mobile shelter whenever they please. They share the pasture with the cattle and are moved onto fresh pasture every 7-10 days. They are fed certified organic grain.
Near River Produce, Hollisdale
Therese and Andrew Hearne’s flock of Australorps spend their days ranging around the market garden paddock, foraging on the bugs, grubs and grasses, along with an organic grain-based feed in their run.
New England Pastured Eggs, Kentucky
Arron and Kirsty O’Connell’s hens are free to roam and forage on open pasture. They are housed in movable sheds and rotated onto fresh pasture every few days.
Oaks Organics, The Oaks
Peter and Julie Clinch supply open-range organic eggs from their farm located approximately 70km from Sydney. They are fed supplementary soy-free certified organic ration.
Old Mill Road BioFarm, Moruya
Chickens clean out crops, eats bugs, fertilise the ground and provide eggs for the market. An electrified mesh contains them so Fraser Bayley and Kirsti Wilkinson can give their chickens fresh ground regularly, essential for their wellbeing.
Organic Ways, Bowraville
Tim and Tracy Zanker’s chickens are free to scratch around on certified organic pastures throughout the day, and at night are housed in moveable coops that are shifted weekly. The chickens’ diet is supplemented with a porridge of milk from their dairy cows and organic wheat.
The Cripps Clark family rear 5 000-6 000 laying hens, housed in movable shelter with access to green peck, supplemented by certified organic vegetarian grains. They are protected from predators by shady trees, bird netting, electric fencing and Maremma dogs.
Oxhill Organic, Wauchope
The Eggert family’s certified organic farm has 2 000 laying hens that are moved every two days to fresh pasture. The hens are fed a fresh porridge mix; the grains are cracked and mixed with organic milk from the on-farm dairy.
The chickens are called “open range” because they’re not contained by fences or ever locked up. They follow a herd of beef cattle in a planned rotational grazing regime, protected by Maremma dogs. A commercially produced layer ration supplements their feed. Tip from Carolyn.
The Perthville Pantry, Perthville
Hannah and Cameron Plummer supply genuine pasture raised eggs direct to customers within 100 miles of Bathurst. They farm holistically, regenerating their land in the process; the hens scratch through where the pigs have been, sanitising and fertilising the paddocks as they go.
Possum Creek, Bangalow
Permaculture, Holistic Management and Polyface farming practices produce a food system that works with nature. Andrew Cameron’s 150 hens forage on pasture, pecking at bugs and insects, and dust bathe; they roost in their caravan that is regularly moved.
RAD growers, Bungowannah
Erin O’Callaghan and Belinda Joy Sheekey’s chickens are free to roam, regularly moved through the paddocks and red gum forests, in a mobile caravan. The chickens dust bathe in the sun, forage through fresh pastures and feast on grubs and bugs, with supplementary local grain.
Rock Chic Eggs, Richmond
The Murphy family hens run wild in large paddocks, eating grass and bugs, scratching and rolling in dirt, running, jumping, stretching and flying. The eggs are laid to order avoiding unnecessary waste or use of the soil and grazing areas.
Smith’s Free Range Eggs, Temora
Helen and Dennis Smith’s 2 500 hens have sheds with laying boxes, perches, feed and water. They are collected weighted, packed, marketed and distributed by the Smiths. Tip from @bizzylizzycooks
Tathra Place, Taralga
Luke and Pia Winder’s chickens are fully beaked, which is useful, as they forage for bugs and worms. The chickens sleep in caravans, which are rotated over 100 acres, behind the cattle. They are currently stocked at 6.6 birds per hectare.
Waterfall Agricultural Australia, Upper Orana
The flock is a mix of Australorps and ISA browns, free to forage fresh grass, bugs, with the sun on their backs. Supplementary feed is a custom-made grain ration.
Windellama Organics, Windellama
The certified organic farm has two flocks of 100 chickens each, with each housed in a mobile caravan ranged over four hectares of paddock. Thus the stocking density is 250 hens per hectare. Each flock is protected by solar-powered, movable, mesh fencing.
Working with Nature, Guyra
Derek and Fiona Smith’s hens enjoy 5-8 hectares of pastured paddocks at a time. They forage on green grass, herbs, fresh shoots and insects. The sheds are moved around daily following the cattle. Maremma dogs protect them from predators.
Wybalena Farm, Canowindra
Natalie Mihalic’s hens are moved onto fresh pasture daily; they free range from a mobile shelter where they lay and sleep. They forage for plants, seeds, bugs, insects, with supplementary feed of lucerne hay, grains and milk.
With beaks and wings intact, the chickens at Joe and Dan Frazer’s farm live a full life. They forage amongst native pastures and waterways, protected by Maremma dogs. Housed in a mobile shed at night, they are moved twice weekly-weather permitting–to new pastures.
400 acres, Lietchville
Elliot Fehring’s movable hen house closely travels the wake of a grazing dairy herd. The chickens feast on grubs, scratching the soil and spread their manure on the pasture, enriching the soil as they go. Two Maremma pups guard the feathery procession from marauding foxes day and night.
Al Yanna, St Arnaud
Catriona and Robert Thoolen teach their layers to scratch, dust bathe, hunt for bugs and sunbake. Many are “rescues”, hens bought from the large commercial growers. They now head up to 500 metres away from their mobile shed, under the watchful eyes of Bella and Peter, their Maremma guard dogs.
Amber Valley Farm, Strzelecki
Once the cattle have grazed the paddock, Chris moves the chickens in. The girls scratch through the earth, looking for bugs. They are protected from predators by electric netting and alpacas.
Bass Coast Farm, Glen Forbes
Grazing behind cattle, Sylvia’s 225 Isa Brown hens improve soil fertility and pasture management. They clean the paddocks of parasites and fly larvae, spread cow manure, as well as fertilise with their own manure. Their diet is supplemented by organic chicken feed.
Berrkers Free Range Egg, Goon Nure
The hens are free to roam pasture, with access to small huts; these are towed around the farm for fresh pasture.
Bonnie View Farm, Warragul
Chris and Michelle Winterton are the custodians of 57 acres of beautiful undulating country in Bona-Vista, West Gippsland. Their trailers are moved around the paddock to spread manure and provide fresh areas for the hens to graze, supporting organic farming.
Bullfrog Gully Eggs, Gormandale
On Ian Onley’s certified biodynamic farm, the chickens are rotated on pasture. He feeds the flock grain and fermented milk from his cows. The chickens roam free by day, and are sheltered in their mobile caravans at night.
Eat Local Eat Wild, Bonnie Doon
Carolyn and Erik Suggate rotate the Isa Brown and Rhode Island Red chickens on their chemical-free pastures, producing about six dozen eggs each day.
Elderslie Organics, Ellinbank
The Wallace family reside on a 120ha farm producing organic eggs and milk. The hens lay eggs in old caravans parked around the dairy paddock. Maremma dogs guard the hens and travel everywhere with their allocated vans of hens. No artificial chemicals and fertilisers are used.
Family Homestead Genuine Free Range Eggs, Myrniong Hills
The Luketic family hens are free to run around outside in the paddock with Maremma dogs for protection; they’re never locked up, not even at night. They’re housed in mobile sheds that are moved on a rotational basis for fresh pasture.
Fishers Farm Produce, Dumbalk
Sharon and Rob’s chickens are free to roam on pasture during the day, and are housed at night to protect them from foxes. The chickens have access to unlimited feed and fresh water.
Forge Creek Free Range, Forge Creek
The small, family-run farm produces eggs from pasture fed, free range chickens. The hens are housed in mobile sheds, and are free to fossick and roam happily during the day, guarded by portable fencing and alpacas.
Freeranger Egg Farm, Grantville
Phil Westwood’s farm is home to 1 200 hens. They run in flocks of 200-300 in separate paddocks; each flock has a mobile roosting shed with laying boxes and is protected by a Maremma dog. The chickens eat a mash of natural grains, with no meat meal nor colouring additives.
Gippsland Free Range Eggs, Glengarry West
The hens are free to roam with Maremma dogs to keep them safe from foxes and wedge tail eagles. Their supplementary diet consists of natural grains and seeds.
Girrahween Farms, Mirboo North
Robyn and Robert Mooren run their hens in flocks of 300 with mobile sheds, protected by Maremma dogs. The sheds are moved every 2-3 days, rotating on the chemical-free paddocks. They eat mixed grain, pasture and all the bugs they can find.
Glorious Googies, Korumburra
Emma Brown’s girls feast all day long on fresh green grass supplemented by specially selected grains with no artificial colours, additives, chemicals or animal proteins. They are free to run, flap, squawk, sit, play or dust bathe and do what chickens do best.
Grazing Paddocks, Spring Hill
Mish and Di raise heritage breed chickens, bringing to you the colourful pastured eggs and poultry. The chickens are integral to regenerating their paddocks chemical free and fossick after their Dexter cattle. Supplemented by certified organic mash, the chickens have a happy life safely roaming the paddocks. Coming soon…
Greg’s Eggs, Winnindoo
Protected by alpacas, the chickens are free to roam on pasture, with a mobile caravan to lay and roost. The caravan is moved around the paddocks to fertilise the soil and provide the chickens with fresh pasture.
Hand to Ground, Baynton
Alex and Emily Sims’ flocks live on real grass pasture–in the open air, with space to move, peck, dust bathe and forage. They are moved to fresh pasture weekly, via the egg mobile. They eat a rich diet of garden scraps, insects and bugs, and GMO-free wholegrain feed.
Hens of Hallora, West Gippsland
Tania Murray runs 300 laying hens in a three-acre range area that is fully enclosed by an electrified fox-proof fence. The chickens spend the night roosting in a small shed to protect them from the elements. In the morning they’re free to come and go from the shed as they please.
Hillcrest Farm Organics, Swan Reach
Billie and Teresa’s chickens live in a converted caravan, free to range on fresh pasture. Trailing after the cows through the paddocks, they have plenty of bugs and a variety of plant life to eat, and cowpats to scratch. To supplement their diet, they are fed a certified organic grain mix.
Inverloch Free Range, Inverloch
The hens are free to range around green pasture in coastal South Gippsland. Feed is supplemented by grains containing no artificial yolk colouring, chemicals or animal proteins. Mobile sheds provide a safe place for hens to lay their eggs and roost at night. Maremma dogs protect the hens.
Jonai Farms, Eganston
The Jonai, tired of choosing between saving the world or savouring it, so figured out a way to do both. The latest addition to their mixed farm is a flock of chickens—mostly Australorps. The ladies will follow the cattle around the paddocks and produce eggs and fertile soils.
Josh’s Rainbow Eggs, Kerrie Valley
Josh moves the egg-mobile daily so the chickens are always on fresh pasture. They have a healthy diet that includes foraged seeds, bugs, worms and native grasses with supplementary grains. The eggs are harvested twice daily and delivered the same or next day.
Kiss & Run, Hamilton
Caroline and Brett Kissel’s hens play an integral part of regenerating the soil. As the chickens scratch and forage, they help blend the compost the farmers apply each year over the entire farm. Their mobile homes are moved every few days.
Kossies Free Range Eggs, Stonehaven
“Our eggs are laid today, graded today and delivered tomorrow. We don’t stockpile,” boast Julie and Paul Kos. Each morning the pop holes of the moveable sheds are opened for the chickens to free range all day. The sheds are moved so the hens are always on pasture.
Little Yarra Free Range Eggs, Launching Place
Glen and Sue Glenmill’s chickens roost and lay inside a mobile caravan that is moved onto fresh pasture daily. The chickens are kept safe from foxes behind electric poultry netting; they also have the protection of trusty dog, Sweep. Supplementary feed is a crushed grain mix.
Madelaine’s Eggs, Hollyburton Park
Madelaine Scott’s flock of 1 000 layers roam the orchard which provides them with fruit and protection from the elements, supplemented by Hollyburton organic layer feed. In return, the chickens keep the mold and bugs away.
Milawa Organic Pasture Eggs, Ovens Valley
Russell Mickle’s hens have shelters to protect from extreme temperature and predators. Their pasture diet is supplemented with a high protein vegetarian feed, free from meat and fishmeal. Tip from @essjayeff
The Old Farm Happy Valley, Flowerdale
Diego and Georgi Puyol’s pastured chickens are free to roam the beautiful and luscious surrounds of Happy Valley located just 95 kilometres north of Melbourne. They’re fed supplementary organic grain.
Ravens Creek Farm, Moriac
Hayden and Jasmine Findlay offer pasture-raised eggs from their diverse farm. The chickens forage in chemical-free pastures, protected by electric fencing. They roost in their caravan at night and are moved with planned grazing.
Real Eggs, Limestone
Our chickens roost in “campers”, providing shelter, water and access to nutritional grains. Every couple of days they are moved, providing fresh pastures for the chooks’ hunt for bugs and grubs. These are ethically-raised eggs from the happiest of hens!
Real Free Range Eggs, South Gippsland
Dan Green’s flocks are rotated to allow for natural regeneration of the soil. They have 24-hour access to pasture, food, fresh water and shelter. They can dust bathe as they desire, they’re not debeaked nor fed hormones or any artificial additives.
Rocklea Free Range Farms, Stonehaven
The farmers move two mobile hen houses around the 80 acre paddock, with 450 hens in each. The girls are free forage in fresh pasture, perch and flap their wings. Maremma dogs keep the hens safe from predators. Tip from @localfoodloop.
Seven Acres Farm, Tonimbuk
Martin and Jenny Dunn’s chickens are free to roam on pasture, protected by electric netting. They are moved in their mobile vans to fresh pasture.
Taranaki Farm, Woodend
Ben Falloon and Nina Grundner have established an Australian farm modeled on Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm. Their chickens are pastured, with a regime of twice weekly egg mobile moves to keep up with the cattle.
Top Hundred Acres, Yan Yean
KKate and Judy Rothacker’s chickens are free to range the pasture with access to a movable caravan for shelter, water, roosting and nesting space. The soil is nourished by a permaculture system, with no artificial pesticides or fertilisers used.
Tom’s Paddock, Glenburn
Sally and Tom Abbotsmith Youl’s chickens have unlimited access to fresh green forage, with a diet of native grasses, clover, rye grass, grubs and bugs. They’re rotated twice weekly to fresh pasture, with an electric fence for protection.
Wes and Mandy Humpage’s chickens are fully-beaked, and free to roam on pasture from sunrise to sunset. The chickens are housed in mobile hen houses–with solar powered air-conditioning—and are moved weekly, following a herd of cattle. An alpaca protects them.
Wild Hen Farm, Myrrhee
Diego and Georgi Puyol are new owners of Wild Hen Farm, using similar practices as founder, Cheryl Graham. The production system produces ethical eggs of the highest quality and flavour, enriched with a pasture diet. The hens are rotated around the paddocks; they lay and roost in their mobile caravan.
Willow Zen, Trafalgar
Kelvin and Sumi Slade’s hens enjoy fresh pasture every day and roam from mobile trailers. They eat grass while scratching for bugs and enjoy natural grain feed. Protected by Maremma dogs and alpacas, they are free to live, lay and roost as hens should.
Cuppacumbalong Open Range Eggs, Tharwa
Bruce Gibb’s chickens live in mobile trailers, moved twice weekly to fresh pasture, integrated with the lamb and beef production. The chickens feed on the green pasture and the abundant insect life in it, as well as supplementary grain. They are kept in production for up to four years, then given away as back-yarders.
Farmer Brown’s Free Range Eggs, Hall
The Brown family hens roam freely, foraging for grass and insects, and dust bathing, with a density of under 100 hens per hectare. Supplementary feed is a diverse range of nutritious ‘waste’ food.
Majura Valley Free Range, Majura
Nick Weber and Anne McGrath run 2 000 chickens to produce biodynamic eggs to local stores, restaurants and from the farm gate. The chicken sheds are moved to different parts of the paddock weekly; this means their soils are fertilised with nitrogen-rich manure.
Mulloon Creek Natural Farms, Bungendore
The hens forage on pasture grasses and legumes supplemented by mixed organic grains, and free fed on shell grit and a protein supplement. Their eggmobile is moved twice weekly, with each flock protected by two Maremma dogs. Tip from Carolyn.
Also look at NSW producers.
Ayton Farm, Rathdowney
The chicken caravan is moved every two days, three days behind the cattle and sheep, so the chickens eat the parasites in the livestocks’ dung, thus eliminating the need for chemicals to control parasites. Supplementary feed is organic certified layer mash.
Echo Valley Farms, Goomburra Valley
Randal and Juanita Breen prioritize the health, wellbeing and natural instincts of their pastured hens. The mobile pens are moved every few days onto fresh pasture; Maremma dogs protect the hens from predators.
The chickens are housed in a mobile henhouse, and moved to fresh pasture every seven to ten days. They scratch in the new soil, chasing fresh worms and bugs, and graze the seed and leaf on the new grass.
Fig Tree Farm Eggs, Bundaberg
Sarah and Richard’s chickens are housed in mobile caravans that are moved onto fresh pasture.
Freckle Farm, Eton
Deb McLucas and Rob Bauman rotate their cattle, pigs and chickens throughout their chemical–free pastures. The chickens love to scratch the soil while pecking, eating fresh grass and catching bugs. Fencing and a Maremma dog protect the chickens from predators.
Golden Yolk Whitsundays, Strathdickie
Matt and Jane’s hens are moved weekly, following the cattle in rotation, onto fresh pasture. The hens nest and sleep in moveable caravans. Alpacas protect them.
Kelvin Falls, Elbow Valley
Andrew and Rowena O’Dea’s chickens will happily scratch, eat insects and worms, dust bathe, and fertilise the ground as they go about their instincts, protected by electric netting. Housed in a customized caravan, they are moved to fresh patch of pasture every few days.
Kenilworth Free Range Farm, Mary Valley
The chickens are housed in mobile caravans, and are moved regularly to fresh ground.
Melsted Park, Black Mountain
Anna and Michael Henbury’s laying hens are free to range, protected with electric netting and Leo the Maremma. The herns forage reducing weeds and parasites, spread manure, and help to break the tick cycle. The mobile shelter is moved regularly to ensure the manure does not ‘burn’ the pasture.
Mungalli Creek Dairy, Millaa Millaa
Robert Watson has 4 000 cross-bred bond brown chickens. Their coops are built on skids so they can be moved around the farm, following the dairy cows, on to fresh pastures. Tip from PinkFarm
Rawganix Farm, Tansey
Cris and Lee-Anne Geri’s chickens are moved regularly to new pasture using movable pens. As they farm without chemicals and antibiotics, they deal with disease and injury by quarantining, using natural remedies and culling when necessary. Tip from @BTHOfarmgirl
Silver Dale Eggs, Calliope
Rob and Sandra Waterson’s chickens are free to roam all day; they’re never confined but have access to shelter, perches, grain and nests. Their mobile houses are regularly moved so they always have access to fresh grass. Tip from @rolley
Walker Farm Foods, Cambroon
Kacey and George are committed to creating high welfare local food using regenerative agriculture practices. Their nomadic pastured laying hens are housed in mobile shelters. Moved every second day to a fresh patch of grass, they enjoy fresh air, exercise, and sunshine.
Adelaide Hills Pastured Eggs, Mount Barker
Adam Oaten and Stephanie Grove move their chicken caravan onto fresh pasture every other day. The 80-acre property has 25 species of grass and legumes on 30 hectares to provide a smorgasbord for the 450 chickens.
Almond Grove, Murray Bridge
John Holland farms 2 500 Isa Brown chickens for eggs.
Echo Pasture Eggs, Tantanoola
Paul and Kylie Serie’s chickens are housed in chicken caravans that allows them fresh pasture all day. The chickens positively influence soil health; they scratch around looking for insects and weed seeds, and fertilise the soil.
Elly’s Eggs, Kersbrook
Elly Congram chickens freely range on green paddocks, protected by Maremma dog and an electrified fence. They are fed certified organic vegetarian feed. She is trialing different breeds for welfare benefits.
Fleurieu Free Range Eggs, Mount Compass
Richard and Terressa Langford’s hens range 24 hours daily, housed in mobile sheds, yet never locked up. Shelter and shade trees protect the hens from predators, as do the Maremma dogs and electric fence. Supplementary feed is local cracked grain.
Goode Paddock, Penola
Emma and Matthew Goode’s chickens are moved to a different paddock every couple of days so they always have access to fresh pasture and bugs. They are protested by Maremmas and electric netting.
Green Eggs and Ham, Parawa
Katrina McCullough and Angus Williams run a small flock of hens in the Fleurieu Peninsula. They’re free to range wherever they please.
Gumview Free Range Eggs, Yorke Peninsula
The farm produces, packs and delivers all their eggs direct from the farm.
Hood’s Earth Produce, Keith
Bill and Sally Hood’s chickens are free to roam, peck and forage, protected by Maremma dogs. Their mobile caravans are moved daily to new pasture.
Kangaroo Island, Kingscote
Tom and Fiona Fryar run 50 000 hens, moved for fresh pasture in a mobile poultry shed. The hens peck and scratch at seeds, insects and grubs; their feed is supplemented by a mixture of grains produced on the farm. Maremma dogs protect them.
Katham Springs, Kingscote
Graham and Kathy Barrett have been producing Demeter certified eggs since 1999. Their chickens live in mobile sheds that are moved around small paddocks regularly; Maremma dogs guard them.
McGwerriton Organics, Adelaide Hills
The chickens are free to roam, stocked at 400 birds per hectare. Their sheds are regularly moved to ensure the healthiest and freshest conditions for both ground and chickens. No chemicals are used on the grounds at any time. They guarantee from hen to shelf within 24 hours. Tip from Lisa.
Serpentine Creek Farm, Redlands
Ben, Libby and Anais’ chickens are moved onto fresh pasture regularly, to enjoy full days of sunlight and dust baths. Their diet is rich with foraged worms and bugs, with supplementary certified organic feed.
Cackleberries Eggs, Noggerup
Edward and Margaret Valentine’s hens have mobile homes for regular rotation. They sleep here overnight, with sunrise release. Biodynamic pastures, certified grains and grain by-product form their diet. Two Maremma dogs protect them from predators.
Charcol Springs, Manjimup
Charlie and Coleen Roberts’ hens sleep in their egg-mobile at night and are moved daily to fresh pasture. The hens follow the cows, cleaning up the cowpats, debugging and scratching to promote seed germination whilst fertilizing the ground and replenishing the soils.
Gimlet Grove Paddock Eggs, Jilakin Downs
Sara and Keith Wilson’s hens have plenty of space and ground to scratch around. They enjoy the sun, and feast on green waste from the farmers’ market. They lay and roost in a mobile shelter; llamas protect them from predators.
Happy Valley Free Range, Donnybrook
The Jarvis family have farmed on the property for four generations. The chickens free range in the orchard year-round to keep the bugs at bay, protected by Maremma dogs. The mobile chicken housing is moved weekly through each patch of orchard. Supplementary feed is organic grain pellets.
Laterite Ridge Free Range, York
Mat Longworth’s farm began as an olive grove; it now provides a range of organically grown food for the local community. The chickens run beneath olive trees, scratching for bugs and worms, with open-ended shelter for sun protection. Maremma dogs guard them.
Lirravale Free Range Eggs, Chapman Valley
Shane’s chickens live in caravans and free graze rotating pasture paddocks, guarded by Alpacas. The chickens also have access to the orchard.
Little Creek Farm, Brookton
Grace and Harry’s hens are fully-beaked, free to forage in grasses, chasing bugs and insects. They perch at night in their mobile homes, and are moved to fresh pasture every few days. They are protected from predators with electric fencing, Maremma dogs and alpacas. Tip from Kevin.
Manavi Farm Eggs, Watheroo
Lindsay and Robyn Cousins are broadacre farmers producing wheat and sheep. Their chickens roam in a paddock and lay in a mobile house that is moved regularly to fresh pastures. A Maremma dog keeps them safe from predators.
Merri Bee Organic Farm, Nannup
Stewart Seesink, Bee Winfield and their son Lee have been developing a permaculture for 25 years on the banks of the Blackwood in Nannup.
Organic Fine Food Co, Bridgetown
Mike Van De Griend’s chickens are housed at night in mobile chicken arks, which are moved every few days depending upon conditions. The chickens also have access to forested areas. They are fed biodynamic grain, with free choice calcium mineral from shells.
Shipley’s Farm, Albany
Barb, Mike, Brenden and Tanya move the chickens daily behind the cattle in rotation. The chickens sleep at night in egg-mobiles; when they’re released during the day they delight in having open, fresh pasture and all the vigorous insect activity.
Blessed Nest Farm, Tunnack
Marius and Kristy’s laying chickens are Tasmanian born and bred, adapted to the unique climate. The chickens stimulate and fertilizing the pastures as they forage for seeds, insects, worms, grass and wild plants.
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Free Range Farm, Cygnet
Terry and Lee Lacey’s flock of 50 hens lay colourful eggs; their Araucanas lay the blue eggs, the Australorps and Highland Browns lay the brown eggs and the Leghorns lay the white ones.
Mt Roland Free Range Eggs, Roland
The hens lay and sleep in a shelter, and are moved to new lush chemical-free pastures. Stock levels are kept to a minimum to ensure they have the best lifestyle possible. They welcome customers by appointment.
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ABC Rural: Kim Honan and Sarina Locke, Egg farms may be forced to make changes after court case, Sep 24, 2014
ABC Gippsland: Jenni Henderson, Free range on show for World Egg Day, October 5, 2013
Brisbane Times: Amy Remeikis, ‘Free range eggs’ definition scrambled, July 29, 2013
The Age: Melissa Fyfe and Royce Millar, Coles sets its own squeezier standard, March 4, 2013
ABC News: ACCC rejects free range definition, November 2, 2012
Weekly Times: Egg supplier fined over ‘free range’ claims, September 5, 2012
ABC News: Free range definition to rise, April 16, 2012
Lexicon of Sustainability: This is the Story of An Egg, November, 2011
ABC 7.30: Truth in labelling bill ruffles feathers, October 7, 2011
Weekly Times Now, Leslie White: Cracks in free-range egg debate, October 5, 2011
Weekly Times, Leslie White: Egg industry cracks, October 6, 2008
ABC Radio National: Produced by Helen Thomas: Free Range Fiddle, June 26, 2005
cc photo by Christy McDonald