In the Media

Farming Small Areas, December 2013

Essential Country, August 21 2013

Free Ranging

Marnie and Shane Ellis have about 1100 (ISA Brown) birds which they free range across their family property at Glengarry West.

For egg production, the commercial crossbred ISA Brown pullets are selected for their consistently high lay rate, hardiness and particularly friendly nature. Being very good layers makes them quite profitable as well as being easy to care for and are low maintenance birds.

The Ellis’ had 30 hens two years ago, then added another 120 and then 500 more. Their dream of moving towards an ultimate goal to achieve self sufficiency was on track, using their 10 acres as the start. And, an added boast came in August last year when their new business, Gippsland Free Range Eggs, was a category winner in the 2012 Bendigo Bank Gippsland Business Awards.

Marnie and Shane started with conventional style nesting boxes in a static shed which required daily cleaning and manual egg gathering. Pushed by their ambition, poultry manure was spread on pasture to deep fertilise the soil. Innovation soon took over and purpose built mobile roosting and nesting sheds, with rollaway nests, were shifted across various locations by tractor. Manuring of soils was undertaken directly by the hens.

The eight metre long, 2.5 metre wide galvanized steel caravan has stainless steel drinkers, 200L internal water tanks which catch water from the roof, six pull out shade/shelter doors on lockable gas struts, adjustable leveling on nesting boxes (for slopes and uneven ground) and automatic opening and closing nesting boxes powered by solar energy.

“We have worked our way up the innovation ladder while maintaining the free range concept. The chicken caravan is mobile, towed from one patch to another by tractor and has its own in-built rollaway egg collection system. All its features are under cover providing comfort for the hens.”

The Australian, June 7 2014

How small farmers Fiona and Adam Walmsley won chook lotto

“The Walmsleys [Adam & Fiona Walmsley] started with 150 laying hens, all living in a special Chicken Caravan at night and nibbling Buena Vista’s green grassy slopes during the day. Thirty baby chickens, raised on grass for meat, living within a hoop house protected by an electric netting enclosure, were also trialled. Also in keeping with [Joel] Salatin principles, the egg-laying Caravan and meat chickens are moved around paddocks regularly in rotations, keeping the poultry healthy and disease-free and the pastures naturally fertilised with manure.”

The West Australian, November 20 2014

The Secret of Excellent Eggs

It’s quite likely young Manjimup couple Charlie and Coleen Roberts, of CharCol Springs pastured eggs, own some of the happiest chooks in the southern hemisphere.

Following the cattle herd from a little mobile home, they are free to roam, fossick and scratch their way around the green and lush pastures of the Southern Forests, and produce pastured eggs of exceptional quality.

Rural Weekly, August 11 2013

Family-run egg farms on rise

THE number of small-scale, family-run pastured egg farms is increasing amid speculation consumers are being duped about the authenticity of free-range egg claims. Chicken Caravan’s Daniel O’Brien addressed the Farming Small Areas Expo last week, and said interest in pastured egg farming had never been stronger. “Even before Choice lodged their complaint with New South Wales Fair Trading last month, we’ve been seeing a backlash against misleading free-range labelling,” he said.

Focus Magazine Port Macquarie, April 2013 (Issue 89), page 32

October 19 2012

Chicken caravan inventors win national Australian prize

Australia Plus, ABC news radio

A portable, free-range chicken caravan has won two brothers the Australian Farm Inventor of the Year prize.

Chicken caravan inventors win national Australian prize

Up to 450 chickens can be loaded comfortably onto perches inside one of Daniel and Evan O’Brien’s caravans, which can be towed around farms to move free-range chickens quickly and easily to fresh grass.

Presenter: Kim Honan

Speaker: Daniel O’Brien, joint winner, Australian Farm Inventor of the Year

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