Environmental sustainability is at the heart of how we run our farm. Over the past ten years we have developed a unique model of free range egg production with mobile solar powered sheds, custom designed by us and made in Melbourne.
They are highly efficient, fully automated and powered entirely by a 3KW off-grid solar system.
This allows us to move the sheds to fresh pasture so we are constantly enhancing the soil, plant and insect life on our farm. We have a 15KW solar system that powers the rest of the farm.
Josh was awarded the 2019 Victorian Young Achiever Award for Environmental Sustainability.
To understand what makes a management system ethical, we believe we need to look at the ability of the hen to express its innate behaviours, to express its true chicken-ness!
We believe there are five main behaviours that make a chicken happy:
Hens love to forage. They spend most of their day voraciously scratching for bugs, worms, seeds, anything tasty hiding under the mulch or in the soil.
Hens love to dustbathe everyday. The dust helps them keep away any parasites that crawl under their feathers.
Hens love to roost. As their wild ancestors came from the jungles of South America, it is no wonder they are happiest high up in a tree or on the top perch.
Hens love to sun themselves. As they stretch out a leg and a wing, the excess heat dislodges feather parasites and allows the hen to remove it when preening.
Hens will seek out a dark secluded spot to make themselves a nest and lay their eggs.
Our farming system includes mobile solar powered sheds that house small flocks. Because the flocks are small the hens are less stressed and can come and go from the shed easily. It is a place for them to sleep and to lay an egg. Sometimes if it rains they go inside. Essentially the hens live outside.
The sheds are moved across the paddock so the impact of the hens on the pasture is reduced. This allows us to rest certain parts of the paddock so it can regenerate. The sun also sanitises the paddock so when the hens comes back to that same area a year later, all the bad bacteria and viruses have died.
We put the welfare of our hens first. Our hens live in small flocks so they have heaps of space in the shed and all go outside every day. The farm is 250 acres, with a stocking density of 1500 hens per hectare.
Our hens get to do all the things hens love to do; scratch, peck and forage for grass, bugs and seeds, dustbathe, and roost on perches. When they are older we don’t kill our hens but give them away to backyard families so they can live out their lives.
How well we treat our hens is number one for our customers. We have called our eggs ethical eggs because we believe we are raising our hens in a way that allows them to do all the things that hens love to do.
Not only do we spend much time and energy making sure our hens are loved and cared for, we spend equal amounts of time ensuring our eggs are the absolute best eggs you have ever eaten.
Unlike most larger farms, we collect all our eggs by hand. This is the first place we check our egg quality and we remove any eggs that may be compromised. In our packing or grading room we candle using a bright light underneath the eggs, to remove cracked, malformed and any eggs with defects.
Lastly just before the machine closes the egg carton we visually inspect every dozen to confirm they are perfect for our customers. The very next day those eggs are loaded on our two vans and small truck and driven directly to each of our stores.
We hand deliver the eggs, take them into the supermarket and actually place them on the shelf. This is our last quality check as here we make sure all our eggs have been rotated correctly and any eggs that are more than 2 weeks older than the eggs we are delivering, we switch them for fresh eggs.
We would like you to be able to eat the freshest eggs, as fresh eggs are the tastiest healthiest eggs.
Our Farm Story
We started our farm as a way to bring up our children in a beautiful and healthy environment. We are close to being fully self-sufficient and at meals virtually everything on our plate is from the farm.
It took almost a year for us to find our farm, many weekends dragging the kids around, bribing them with visits to the local bakeries. The day after we gave up our search, and resigned ourselves to staying in Gisborne for a bit longer, we got an email. The farm was in the perfect location, in Kerrie, in the hills, at the end of an unknown dirt road, however it was covered in 30m pine trees, 60 acres of the 115 that made up the farm.
Meet the team
The Farm Team
On the farm we have a very special group of people (mainly women) who take care of our thousands of hens and our dogs.
In between cuddling the dogs and checking on all our hens, they collect the many thousands of eggs laid each day. We also have a couple of very handy and mechanically minded people who make sure all our equipment is maintained and anything that breaks is fixed right away.
The Grading Team
Everyday we collect eggs (7 days a week 365 days of the year), and then every week day we take these eggs and pack them into dozens for our stores.
There are usually five people in the grading room. We have a Moda 2000 machine we bought in 2017.
The grading room is the heart of quality control in our business. Here we make sure our eggs are perfect for our customers.
Sales & Merchandise
Every day our two vans and one small truck drive into Melbourne and communities around our farm loaded up with boxes of eggs. This team drives from Coles store to Woolies store hand delivering our eggs. They carefully unload the eggs and then take them into the store and place them on the shelf.
Here they check that our eggs are properly rotated and any old eggs are immediately switched for fresh eggs. We know fresh eggs are the best eggs. Our bigger stores are visited twice each week.
As our business grew we were able to build a great support team to help make lives easier for our farm, grading and sales teams.
We have a finance team, a full-time IT data scientist who is building systems to track all data collected on farm, in grading and sales, and more importantly developing state of the art sensors and machine learning to alert us to any changes in our sheds and predicting hen health and egg production outcomes.
We also have a Quality Assurance manager who oversees quality in all areas of our business.
The Guardian Team
This is our home and the original home of Josh’s Eggs. The farm is nestled in the Kerrie Valley surrounded by seven
hills. We have 120 acres with six fox-proof paddocks. We started with hens here in 2008, and learned heaps from our
mistakes. We now have a small flock of hens, 70 dorper sheep, 9 dairy cows and vegetable and fruit gardens that
provide virtually all our food.
This is a large 250 acre farm 5 minutes from our home where we have our hens. The land is flatter and the sky is
infinite, we get the most amazing sunsets and sunrises. It is very different from the forested hills we live among. It is
easier to have hens here as they have so much space to forage in.
One of the hardest things about managing an egg farm for us is making sure we have enough eggs to meet our
customers’ needs all year round. This is especially challenging when we are rotating flocks. We have dealt with this
issue by sourcing eggs from growers we know and trust. Consistency of supply is an important part of being a good egg
"I love your compassion and love for your girls I can see how much you care about their welfare, which makes me love you ❤️"
"Always impressed by your passion and commitment to your chickens and the environment in general. Very impressed by your donations of eggs."
"I was given 2 dozen of these lovely eggs at my local food bank yesterday thank you young man for all that you do