Yesterday a company was fined $300,000 by Federal Court because the eggs they sold as ‘free range’ were not. The judgement set the standard for what free range has to be as Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims explained…
“Previously there was some uncertainty about what free range means. The court has said it means hens must be able to go outside every day and in fact should go outside every day, so really all egg producers need either to meet this standard or stop using the free range label.”
This is excellent news for chickens or, as we like to call them here in Australia:
Australians love free range eggs, and a good number of Australians don’t bother going to the shops to buy them either. I know of many, many Australian homes that have chooks running around in the back garden before being put away safely in a pen or cage at night.
Well, we do have foxes and other predators to protect them from.
I’ve even had chickens wander into my back garden from who knows where; I mentioned them in my post called Intruders I Didn’t Expect.
A gallery of chooks
I know all of these chooks personally. Yes, I really do. They all live locally and I have fed each and every one of these chickens myself. At night times I have put some of these chooks away and said good night to them.
Meet the chooks…
With chooks in your back garden, no need to go to the local supermarket and pay around $5.00 for a dozen free range eggs, you can get your eggs for free.
Well, not exactly.
After you’ve purchased your chooks and built them a safe cage and surrounding pen, you’ll need to buy food…
A 20 kg bag of food like the one pictured above will set you back around $28. Roughly speaking, it will feed four chooks for a month. If they are good and happy chooks, you’ll probably get around 90 eggs per month for that.
So that’s 7 1/2 dozen eggs which would have cost you about $37.50 for ‘free’. Well, you’ll just need to deduct that $28.
Of course, not all chooks are happy. When they’re not happy they don’t lay eggs and when you look inside the laying area, you’ll find…
So hopefully you can now see why some people DO BUY eggs, because (dare I say it) keeping chooks isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
But keeping chickens is a lot of fun though and you just can’t beat the super fresh flavour and taste of an egg laid not weeks or months ago, but a couple of hours. And that’s probably why so many Australians keep chickens in their back garden.
Here are some more chooks…
I will leave you with this wonderful article from the ABC which will explain the many benefits of keeping chooks and also how you can get your eggs for free, almost. Don’t forget to check out the comments, they are more than interesting: