What are 'free range' eggs and how to choose...
There are many eggs to choose from on the market and it can be hard to know which ones to select when lots of them are advertised as 'Free-Range'. So here's a breakdown of the eggs that we stock and how they compare.
The Ministers for Consumer Affairs national definition of free-range requires hens have "meaningful and regular" access to the outdoors, and that the density of chickens outdoors must be no more than one hen per square metre (10,000 hens per hectare). However the CSIRO ‘Model Code of Practice’ recommends a maximum of 1,500 hens per hectare. That's a vast difference.
There is also a vast difference in the way the eggs make it to your kitchen.
With some producers like Paddock Fresh, free-range “pastured” eggs means the hens sleep and lay their eggs in innovative “Megga-Eggas” that are moved to fresh areas of the paddock regularly. The birds are also protected from predators by their trusty guardian Maremma companions. These Megga-Eggas combine the latest technology in roll-away nesting boxes with a simple roosting system that allows the birds respite from sun and rain when required. The result is a clean and nutritious egg.
Other producers like Green Eggs, who are located in the green rolling foothills of the Grampians, ensure their eggs are produced in the most ethical way. Freshness, quality, environmental sustainability and the happiness and welfare of the Green Eggs hens are core values on the farm. Green Eggs has 35,000 truly free range birds free to roam outside, graze, dirt bathe, forage, hunt and rest under the shady red gums. Specially bred Italian Maremma livestock dogs are on hand day and night to protect the lovely ladies from chicken hawks, feral cats and foxes keeping them safe from harm. For more about Green Eggs you can visit their story on our Producers Page.
Here at The Happy Apple we take animal welfare and food safety standards seriously and we've listened to what our customers are telling us is important to them. Our product range reflects this and consists of;
- Bullfrog Gully: 70 hens p/h
- Josh’s Rainbow Eggs: 300 - 500 hens p/h
- Paddock Fresh Eggs: Laid in hay, paddock produced eggs. Less than 1000 hens p/h
- Green Eggs: 2400 hens p/h
When choosing your eggs we feel that information is the key to finding the product that suits you and hopefully this gives some insight into some of the many brands that are on the market.