We are a small family based farm at Rosa brook in Margaret River. My partner Kim and I came to Margaret River with two small children (Max and Kelly ) for a sea change and David our youngest was born here.
The children have been raised in a rural environment in one of the most pristine and beautiful areas of the world. They have all worked willingly on the farm (free until we had to pay them!) and when they have left for higher education etc. They all have come home at times to help out. Max our eldest is now running the Farm and Business and Kelly (a professional photographer does all our photos ). David is travelling!
We could see that there were management and production issues with free ranging layer hens but felt the hens suffered in the cages and thought they belonged on the ground with freedom to roam .Surely with advances in technology and farming techniques these issues could be addressed?
Strip grazing was being trialled in the beef industry – what benefits could this bring to pasture management with free range hens? And if the hens were rotated through yards wouldn’t the sunlight kill off pathogens left behind? The answer was yes!
Temperature is a critical production factor with hens and difficult to control in an open system, but with better design, new materials and cooling technology perhaps it could be managed better?
Yes – again.
We travelled interstate (there was only one other free range farmer in WA at that time) and later overseas and attended courses and communicated with other free range producers.With a background in permaculture and a belief in biodynamics Kim felt the answer had to be nature based and system lead.
In 2000 Kim and his design were recommended for the Innovation in Agriculture Award. We constantly strive to improve our farm and practises and that challenge has kept us going for 30 years. We are growing better!