Greetings! We have a small property consisting of 16 hectares in Forest Reefs, located 25kms south of Orange in New South Wales. With 4 hectares of vineyards bearing white wine grapes, we wanted to utilise the rest of the land for something other than running a few head of cattle.
Frustrated and confused by labelling of eggs and the lack of truly fresh eggs when our six backyard chooks went off the lay, in 2007 we set about researching running chickens on a larger scale in a true “free range” existence.
One night brainstorming we came up with the name egganic which reflected the egg idea and the organic standard in which we wanted to raise the chickens. We would source organic mash and allow the chickens to roam freely – just as our backyard chooks had always done!
In early 2008 we re-fenced the entire property in order to fox proof it. Jim built custom mobile sheds to house our first flock of 500 birds, modified some sheep feeders to suit poultry, and built the water troughs.
Our first pullets arrived in August 2008 – we were on a major learning curve and so were our birds! They needed to be taught how to perch. Some chooks are bred and raised on the ground in very large sheds so we spent nights putting them up on the perch until they got the message. Sadly they had lost that instinct but after much patience and perseverance they regained it.
Within 6 weeks our first chooks began to lay fabulous, fresh eggs with yolks that were a deep, rich yellow. Truth be told, we hadn’t anticipated the quantity so it was time to market the eggs! We began locally in Orange and fortunately there were farmers markets which were a wonderful spring board to commence our sales. As the eggs kept coming we recognised the need to go further afield. So with tables and gazebo in hand we travelled to Sydney on a weekly basis and attended a number of Sydney farmers markets. The response was wonderful and we quickly gained many customers who still buy our eggs today.
In February 2009, the Eveleigh Farmers market started. We got in on the ground floor and it was a wonderful experience. Because it was weekly market, our eggs were completely fresh. We realised we had a premium product because we were so stringent about the freshness. We didn’t want to store an egg for anymore than 5 days – and less whenever possible.
Since being at Eveleigh, egganic has blossomed! We have stayed true to our beliefs and our customers are wonderful people who in many cases have had the experience of chooks somewhere in their childhood and remember what a real egg tastes like. Wow! Had we not come up with egganic could the real taste of a farm fresh egg have been lost forever?
From Eveleigh we have picked up a number of regular customers. However, we don’t really think of them as just customers, but our friends and people who we look forward to having a chat with once a week.
We currently have 2500 chickens, four dogs, 2 casual employees and any of our teenage girls who help when possible.
We’re pretty happy with keeping egganic nice and small, ensuring that the welfare of our hens, the true free-range environment in which they roam and the quality of the eggs they lay comes above everything else.
Thanks for visiting egganic and learning more about our story. If you ever have any questions about egganic please do contact us, we would love to hear from you.
Jacqui and Jim