The History of Margaret River Free Range Eggs

Our family came to Margaret River from Perth looking for a rural lifestyle and because we could not get work at that time in our chosen professions (Kim was a lighting director and I was a Home Economics teacher) we looked at many rural pursuits before seeing an egg farm with ‘possibilities’ for sale, and because we had no background in agricultural and little in business we believed it “Should be easy to learn, Darling!”.

When Kim and I bought Margaret River Farm Fresh Eggs in 1992 it consisted of a small 4000 caged birds business and farm. Although it was our intention to convert and restructure to a free range system we were cautioned by an industry that was supportive of its farmers but sceptical about anyone’s intentions to risk ‘going backwards’ to free range. There were few free range farms in WA and nowhere to go for information.

So we travelled interstate and attended courses, conferences and communicated with other free range producers. During this time we also experimented with several forms of free range systems including mobile and fixed structures and found that there were, indeed, inherent management and production problems. Kim decided that the system needed to be redesigned because although some producers had come up with ideas aimed at a specific problem nobody had addressed the system as a whole.

Our hens moved into the B.E.S.T* Free Range Egg System (Barn Extension using Sustainable Technology) in May 2000 and made themselves right at home.

In 2000 Kim and his design were finalists for the Innovation in Agriculture Excellence awards and many producers have since travelled from all over Australia to view it.

Although we were naive and initially lacking (very) in knowledge and skills it also meant that we were able to look at things with ‘fresh eyes’. With commitment, goals and hard work we made a contribution to the free range industry by proving that with better management practices and new technologies free range egg production is not ‘going backwards’ and is better for the hen.

We are growing bigger and better.

Not only have our children, Max, Kelly and David grown since then but our business and farm have expanded too. We now have 12,000 hens in three free range systems and employ seven people. Kim and I have had a long apprenticeship, but we feel there is still so much to do and so much to learn. After 15 years we know our challenge is to improve what we have. As part of our whole systems philosophy, this includes our current conversion to an organic system.

Margaret River Free Range Eggs is strictly wholesale at present and we do not sell to the public direct except at the local Margaret River Farmers Market every second and fourth Saturday morning (8.00am to 12.00noon). Our current set up does not allow visits without appointments but it is our goal to set up our farm in 2007 so that the public can view our operation and see our lovely girls at work, rest and play.

Stay tuned to this site!

Free Range Feed

Our feed is a mixture of grains with soy and canola oil added. We don’t use synthetic yolk colourants and therefore our yolk colour may vary. We believe that everything a hen does affects her and the egg she lays. And that a happy hen is a healthy hen. So we ensure our girls can exercise and forage on pasture or under forage trees every day. If you can’t taste the sunshine in our eggs be reassured that it is there. Eggs are nature’s wonder food and naturally good for you.

 

Young David & Pumpkin

David prepared pumpkins for Hens

Older David & Pumpkin

David in 2010

Seasonal staff helping goats prepare pumpkins for Hens

Seasonal staff and goats prepare pumpkins for Hens