Runnymede Farm produces pasture raised eggs with focus on excellent animal welfare, delicious local produce, environmental regeneration & happy customers!
Operating as usual
Our first rainy day since springtime seems like a perfect excuse for a bit of lichen inspecting.
Such stunning, complex little structures!
Bring on the rain! It's been a looong dry summer!
🌧️ 💧 🌱 🐥 🐂 🥶
There's free range and then there's pastured and then there's flaunting fox bait-ism 🤦♀️
But with a protection rate of 2 maremmas per hen we should have that taken care of 😂😂
Most hens won't go beyond about 200m from their mobile houses. But there's always outliers.
Henny penny go home!
One of the most gratifying parts of managing grazing closely (besides building soil, sequestering carbon, increasing biodiversity 🤷♀️) is the response from animals being managed calmly, regularly. 🐄 🌱 🍀
They see you as a gateway to the tasty stuff and are curious in their interactions as every previous interaction had built a relationship where everyone understands what is being asked.
Right now I am being asked to open a gate to the next paddock 😂😂
I just can't figure out why I'm still thirsty after such a big drink 😂
Beautiful little pullets exploring out on pasture. It takes a little while for them to get comfortable with people and dogs out in the open. These babies are getting more certain we're friends target than foe. Their curiosity is so endearing ❤️❤️
They're still at least a month off producing any eggs, so we'll be a bit short in supply to til them as our older girls slow down with age and shortening daylight hours.
Rising costs are a challenge for us all. To combat this we need to constantly evolve and innovate.
To reduce labor costs we are thrilled to announce the opening of the Chicken Intern Academy. The chickens will be trained to take over tasks such as machinery operation, egg collecting, cattle mustering & office work. We commend these tenacious hens for taking on the challenge despite their lack of opposable thumbs & a long history of pecking glass ceilings due to paradigms regarding their brain size. We also grateful they work for chicken feed, despite this idiom being wildly inaccurate also.
Bring on the day chickens fly choppers
✌️ 🚁 🐔
Out setting poly wires (temporary electric fences to control grazing) for the cows in a dry feed stockpile yesterday I was stoked to see this chicory thriving after a very dry summer in heavy clay. 🥳 🎉
This was sown 2 years ago as a sprinkle in the seed mix to see wether it would survive the harsh conditions that are a puggy clay in winter & concrete in summer. 🌱 ☘️💚
Tough as boots IF given relief from grazing pressure. More chicory in the mix this year as we build this soils health before being able to establish higher value perennials. You can waste a lot of $$ on seeds the grounds not ready for 🥴🤑😵 chicory is an excellent coloniser of bare ground and compacted soil!
We 💚 plants!!!
You're looking at the happiest horse in Harvey 😂 maybe even a little disbelieving of the 'chore' in front of her. When volunteers were required to clean up the millet from the worm windrow Poco was a pretty good candidate. Unlike the chickens or pigs she could promise she'd only snack on what was offered above ground!
To say the cow herd are happy to be moved from dry feed to irrigation clean up is an understatement!
Maintaining ground cover is one of the keys to improving and maintaining soil health, but too much cover with our summer active grasses forms thatchy material that acts like a mulch preventing our winter annuals from getting a start, and prevents our soil applications from getting contact with the soil. We could do this with a mechanical mulcher.... But prefer the four legged solar powered option. Loving these perfect autumn days!
Boss daaawg getting a 'taste' for soil investigation paddock adventures 😆
Her refined pallet senses waterlogging, compaction & bacteria. Disappointingly shallow roots with a lack of the fuity flavours of fungi and an overall dissatisfying absence of the light but essential smack of air.
Our irrigation paddocks, and the rest of the farm, are a work in progress to improve soil health. Still a loooong way to go but some encouraging earthworm activity, most puny but some big fat suckers, that was absent when we started is an indication we're heading in the right direction.
The importance of improving all soils cannot be understated. The health of our soils reflects the health of our planet.
This is going to be careful ride home 😂😂
Dedication to the good eggs, 8 dozen jumbos heading home with Dave, all whilst dodging the fuel bowser. What a legend!
Someone needs to explain to these hens I'm here to collect the eggs, not the chickens......
Doing a holistic management course with Brian was one of the first things we did when we first started farming. So glad we did!
Hey, WA. We're heading to your with our Regenerative Agriculture course.
HOLISTIC MANAGEMENT: A FOUNDATION FOR REGENERATION
at the Muresk Institute starting in July 2022.
Come and join us. Contact [email protected] for information.
"Absolutely loved doing this course and so glad I did it. I met amazing people at it. I was very empowered by Brian who delivered the learning with excellent knowledge backed by his own experiences farming holistically using the method that he teaches in his own life and using examples for us to look at. It’s a course everyone would benefit from and made the learning fun and enjoyable. I have learned new skills that I am excited to utilise. So grateful that Brian travelled over to teach us West Aussies".
Megan Brooks, Perth
Hylines can do rainbow eggs too 😂 🌈
😍😍 🐔 🥚 🍳
Nice work ladies!
What's your favourite colour?!
A tranquil evening out with the grass finishing mob. The majority of these guys will be turned off at the end of this month into the @dirtycleanfood grass finished beef program & the rest in April.
It's time for us to start drying out some of our irrigation to give the soil a breather before winter.
Learning to manage flood irrigation since we took over this place has been a steep curve, a process that we've not perfected yet, but will keep working on til we've got a system that ticks all our boxes for building soil, growing healthy grass above & below ground, utilising precious water resources effectively & having a good time whilst doing it!
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery......
& if this imitation goes further than the packaging I would be absolutely chuffed to see the welfare of hens & management of agricultural systems to increase the health of our environment becoming a priority for more & larger egg producers.
Were you aware that the pastured egg production system is not recognised & regulated like other forms of egg production by governing body Australian Eggs?
As a tiny sector in the egg trade most of us rely on a direct connection to consumers via short supply chains, transparency on our socials & websites & real life interaction via markets, open days & farm visits to ensure the integrity of our claims.
If eggs are claiming to be pastured & don't offer any of the above, there's a good chance that they're deceiving you & your good intent to use your $$ to support high animal welfare & environmental responsibility. A basic Google search with some of the information clearly available on cartons will reveal enough information for you to make an informed decision.
If a farm is proud of their production system & knows it meets your expectations they will have no hesitation in sharing real images of how their animals live.
Know your farmer, know your food, and be sure your dollars are supporting the kind of food systems you want more of 😉
We're having a retro return with our cartons design for a few weeks. Our cartons are made in Melbourne so we've got a little bit of Corona slow, lil bit nullabor flood freight backlog & a lil bit Blythe just should a put the bloomin order in earlier.
Anywho, we'll mask it as a dip into nostalgia remembering our favourite cover girl Bacon, my favourite shirt which somehow shrunk in the wash 🤷😉 & a time where we really did collect eggs in a bucket 😂😂😂
Watch til the end to see if you can tell which maremma decided this shoot was OVER 😆😆🐕🐶
See you tomorrow market folk!
Pretty little pair ❤️ 🐮
The 'baby' @pilbaraworkingdogs Boss having her first solo run on cattle.....
Blythe's opinion: A pretty good start, brave, switched on & balanced, a bit bolshy & eager to discipline even a discarded thought of stepping out of line.
Heifers opinion: Bossy, crass & a little bit scary 😂
A bit to go before this little lady joins the big dogs on the bigger jobs, but with excellent instinct bred into her she's going to be a valuable team member when she gets there. Reckon she'll cause me a few grey hairs though 😆 🐕 ❤️ 👵
Pastured eggs are so good because the hens live a good life. Our hens have mobile houses that move around the farm, meaning the hens have constant access to pasture: chasing 🐛, dust bathing, social interaction, climbing 🌳. They put themselves to bed at night 💤 & lay their 🥚 in the nest boxes in their houses. The doors on these houses don't shut unless it's to block a storm or wind on one side.
The biggest problem with real free range is that 🐔, although feirce little dinosaurs, have little defence against predators like 🦊 🦅 🐈 & roaming dogs. In a big step in 2021 we went even freeer range when we decided that our Maremma team were ready to step up & stopped using labour intensive & flexibility limiting electric netting to contain the hens to a controlled area.
These dogs carry huge responsibility. Last week our team shot 4 foxes in 1 hour on the other side of the property to the hens & dogs. There are hundreds of 🦊 in close vicinity every night.
The loss of Gabby & deterioration of Bacons health at the start of the year saw us look to strengthen our team & we are very fortunate to take on mature dogs from @thedirtroadhobbyfarm. Arlo Chipolata & Peter Toast are lovely dogs (surnames awarded on their Runnymede arrival fitting with our 'best with eggs' theme 😆) & we are grateful to Tom & Annie for seeing RMF as a wonderful home for them. Young dog Monty Mayo has also joined us due to some behavioural issues associated with litter mate syndrome & he has settled in well. One of our older dogs will head off to help him sister learn the ropes once our pack dynamics have settled.
1. Peter Toast - sweet & timid in nature, dedicated to his hens🐥
2. Arlo Chipolata - confident, capable guardian, a relation to Bacon🐾
3. Beans & P.T - Beans survived a tiger snake bit 2.5 years ago & has thrived in the netting free environment ❤️
4. Rafael is a @pilbaraworkingdog guardian, he came south to have puppies with Bacon in 2021 😭 she got sick before she came in season & he has stayed down for now to cover the huge role she played in our team 🙏
5. Monty Mayo - a young goofball 🐶
6. Winston - this big dog gives the best cuddles 🐕
New term of extreme contentment: Happy as a hen dust bathing in cool ground on a hot day!
They are such characters, living here happily in a natural environment where they can express all of their chickenness. THIS is why there is such a difference in pastured eggs!!
Do your eggs come from a system where chickens can behave like chickens?! Pastured eggs are a small but growing part of the egg industry. High welfare, commercially productive systems where the animal and the environment are respected. It's not future food, it's available to you right now through regenerative production ❤️ 🐥 🐂 🌴 🍀 🌱 🌞 💦
5yo Curly had the upper hand over the 2yo Redemption son, but were evenly enough matched that the battle soon simmered to reluctant tolerance. The power in these animals is incredible!
These are the first two bulls into the batch pad. They've run with separate herds for joining to reduce the risk of injury whilst on the job. Another few yearling bulls will head in over the next few days, always a bit if a risky / nervous time hoping no one takes it too far.....
The sun setting on some gritty weeks down here.
2022 has been a challenging start for us, with some health hiccups slowing both Gregg & Blythe down. Gregg has spent time in hospital with a bacterial infection in his knee & a little rendezvous with a mozzie has left Blythe pretty sore & sorry with Ross River Virus. Add in multiple breakdowns of key equipment, deaths of beloved & essential working dogs & more days over 40 that we'd normally see over a handful of summers & we're a bit weary!
Immensely grateful for all of our peeps who have pulled together to help keep things rolling. There's been drop in egg collecting, cattle work, care packages, cake, chore running & market support, not to mention sympathetic ears for the occasional rant! You're all awesome & were lucky to have you.
If pressure makes diamonds then 2022 sure aiming to make us sparkle 🙄💎 😆