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THE ONLY THING WE CARE ABOUT MORE THAN OUR EGGS IS OUR CHICKENS

-Matthew Quested, Egg Farmer

ABOUT OUR FARM

We are a family owned and run business and employ local staff and where possible use local suppliers and trades people. Our farm has no association with any cage farm operators. Many free range farms are now owned and run by Cage farm operators who have seen the need to diversify but still practice cage farming. 
We don't do this and we never will.

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ENVIRONMENT

FRIENDLY

Ethically pasture farmed the way nature intended. No multi tier systems.

Image by Krisztina Papp

FROM OUR FARM, TO YOUR LOCAL STORE OR CAFE

Our eggs are super fresh and are normally delivered to your supermarket or cafe the day after they were laid.

PLANTING OF TREES

On the Farm we plant at least 1500 native trees each year plus a 1000 willows and poplars.

 

The planting of trees on a free range farm has a large number of benefits. 

 The domestic chicken is a subspecies of the red junglefowl, whose natural habitat is woody scrub. Trees on the farm improve animal welfare as wooded environments replicate some of the conditions that encourage natural behaviors linked to the chickens’ ancestry such as foraging, scratching and dustbathing.

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We said free range not tree range!

Trees will improve the distance that hens will roam from their sheds as they mitigate two key factors preventing rangeing. The fear of predators like hawks due to the lack of cover, and the lack of shade and protection from weather extremes. Hens do not like being out in bright sunlight and prefer shaded areas, also wind and rain will discourage them from roaming if they cannot find shelter.

The trees also provide natural perches for the hens to rest on and to monitor their environment, and to gain protection from ground predators.

Trees also help protect our streams and waterways from rainwater runoff and reduce the potential for contamination of watercourses, as they intercept nutrients and faecal organisms from entering water sources. Water filtration in tree belts is many times greater than surrounding paddocks as a result of tree roots and an increase in soil organisms such as worms.

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Agriculture in NZ is responsible for a large % of ammonia emitted in to the environment. When ammonia is emitted as a gas, it is released into the atmosphere and deposited in rainfall which will inevitably damage sensitive habitats.  Emmisions on poultry farms are highest close to the sheds and are associated with odour and dust, which can impact the health of the hens and the workers. To mitigate these hazards we have planted belts of trees which can intercept ammonia emissions and particulates. These tree belts can reduce emissions by up to 65%.

Tree planting can be seen to have benefits to our local wildlife by improving and protecting their habitats as well as benefiting our hens, a true Partnership with Nature

A TRUE FREE RANGE FARM

On our farm in Whangaripo, our chickens have 24/7 access to large grassy paddocks and shaded bush to dust-bathe and forage for all manner of green plants and insects. Each year we plant 1500 trees including many natives. Our birds are encouraged to roam and spend time outside, and we ensure they have enrichments outside such as chaff bags and oyster grit to peck and a supply of clean water. 

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IN PARTNERSHIP WITH NATURE

The policy of the farm is to have as little impact on the beautiful natural environment of the valley that we are located in. We strive to preserve and improve our native bush, streams and natural wetlands. We wish to improve on the habitat for our native flora and fauna while still running a profitable business so that we can invest back into our land.

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We do not use pesticides and chemicals on our paddocks and rely on natural fertilizers to improve the quality of our ranges. We practice a system of mob grazing whereby our small herd of cattle stays bunched together and on the move, behaving like herds from centuries ago. As they graze on the lush grass their feet break up the pasture and create natural mulch. This enables the soil to absorb more rainfall and more effectively lock carbon away. The cows then will return nutrients to the soil when nature calls. The Chickens gain confidence to range due to the protection of the cattle and as the herd moves to new pasture the hens will start scratching through the soil spreading the manure across the fields. This stimulates the shoots of new growth. This enrichment of the soil encourages plenty of grubs, worms and insects which add to the diet of our girls.

Then the cycle restarts with the return of the herd.

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HAPPY HENS LAY
BETTER EGGS

We have 6 sheds located on our farm that provide the birds with a place to roost, protection, feed, and water at all times. We provide ample perching for the birds, this is especially important at night time so that the birds can roost in comfort. The birds lay their eggs in large nest boxes which close at night, they reopen in the morning. This ensures that we have clean fresh eggs and do not need to wash them which removes the natural protection from the shells. Our sheds have twice as many openings as required and a shaded winter garden to encourage the transition from the shed to the range.

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