Why Buy Eggs? A Celebration of Australian Chooks

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:

Chooks

Chooks (2)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…

Chooks (1)

Chooks (3)

Chooks (4)

Chooks (5)

Chooks (6)

Chooks (7)Why buy eggs?

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…

feedChooks like food…

Chook feedingAnd a happy well fed chook will produce…

EggsA 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.

Hmm.

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…

No eggs

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…

Chooks lastNo, not them, behind the sheep and horse.

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:

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • jane macleod November 19, 2014, 1:17 am | Link

    hi bob,
    well what can I say , 4 yrs time wishing to move to oz however,it the job finding , my hubby is ex forces has a few trades under his wing ,,looking at Brisbane .radar but its the houses look so funny…tenco..back in the day….
    plz can u help in any way to get us there…
    kind regards jane

    • BobinOz November 19, 2014, 4:43 pm | Link

      Hi Jane

      The houses here are very different, that’s for sure, and we certainly have some very unique designs. As for helping you get here, that’s not something I can do, you really need to be speaking to a MARA migration agent about your chances of qualifying for a visa and if you need help looking for a job sponsorship, see my page How to Find a Sponsored Job in Australia.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Kamma October 2, 2014, 4:48 pm | Link

    That’s a lot of eggs. You can’t possibly eat all of them! … Sell some to you neighbours? As the article says, you can feed your chooks with leftovers, and there’s no reason why your neighbours couldn’t contribute their leftovers for some free eggs, it’ll save you on commercial feed and be good for neighbourhood relations.

    • BobinOz October 2, 2014, 9:00 pm | Link

      Yes, enough for a very large Spanish omelette. Of course, lots of people do sell their eggs or give them away to neighbours, I like your idea of swapping them for leftovers, very good.

  • Snoskred September 25, 2014, 7:27 pm | Link

    Hey Bob,

    We’ve had backyard chooks for just over 3 years now. We’ve enjoyed every minute of it with one small exception – the other day we had to euthanase our first chicken.

    Been reading you for a little while now, I don’t think I’ve left a comment before. 🙂 Nice place you have here.

    Cheers!
    Snoskred

    • BobinOz September 26, 2014, 7:54 pm | Link

      Hi Snoskred

      Glad you like my place 🙂

      If it wasn’t for my two cats, I’d probably keep chooks myself. One of my cats in particular though, he is a bit of a psycho, he just wouldn’t leave them alone. Lucky for me I’ve got lots of chooks around here I can visit, they are quite fun, aren’t they?

      Sad when you have to euthanase one though, but at least you know you let it live a charmed life.

      Cheers, Bob

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