Free Range Eggs
The term free range eggs and free range hens seems to be quite variable and ranges from our home where 6 free range hens (used to) wander around a hectare to commercial operations with 10,000+ hens per hectare. We would let our hens out of their chooky palace around dawn and they return a bit before dusk when we feed them our left overs.
In between time they would go into their palace when they want to lay a free range egg or are hungry or thirsty. Not always though. We have watched them sprint across the lawn to devour crickets and spiders and found nests of 10 -15 free range eggs under the house and in the bush.
During the days we would watch our beautiful free range ladies roam widely while chattering away in search of insects. They all love a dust bath and a wing flap and they have become our favourite animals, along with the dogs and goats.
We know each free range hen by name and each has their own character. Penelope tends to go solo and will appear right under our feet or shovel or hoe whenever we are gardening. She also has a string of white feathers around her neck that remind us of Penelope Pitstop’s pearl necklace.
Inspector Curious is our favourite and will always be first to join us to see what we are doing, or come inside if we leave a door open, or grab some food should we choose to have a picnic. The softest feathers belong to Ivy and JB and they are always the first to find their roost in the afternoons. Ivy is black and white and her name developed from Stevie Wonder’s song Ebony and Ivory. When we first got our hens JB would roam up and down the street, through the bush and into the creek, so we named her Jail Break. Our other free range hens are named Kitty (long claws), Snowy (white), Batman (Black), Checkers (black and white), Robin (likes to wander with Batman) and Princess Buttercup. Their free range eggs are absolutely delicious.
Please note – We are very sorry to say that on the Friday morning of June long weekend 2017 we (I, me, Liz) discovered a Quoll in our chicken coop. Over the preceding months we had been losing both eggs and chooks and couldn’t figure out if it was a fox or a goanna or a python or our own dog or just that our chooks were footloose and fancy free? We now have just 2 chooks left (Checkers and Batman) … and they’re not laying.
Quolls are a native carnivorous marsupial and absolutely terrifying when trapped in a chicken coop…. They are also a threatened species so I guess it’s not all bad that we have been inadvertently feeding one.
We now get free range eggs from a local supplier and they are available from reception free of charge and ….. and there is a donation tin for Noah’s Children’s Charity right next to the basket should you be feeling generous.