People asked me a few time what is a Free Range Eggs? The answer has always been the same where Eggs from our Chickens were not living in a overly confined space and can roam around freely to peck on the ground or grass searching for food and insects as much as they are pleased!
Here at Tantai Farm, we have two type of Chickens. One is the Eggs laying Chicken called Hybrid Rhode Island Red. They are crossed between the Rhode Island Red and a type of local Thai Chicken. The second is “Phuphan Black bone Chicken 2” is a local Thai variety, which people say originated in Sakon Nakhon province of Thailand. This type of Chickens are used for both meat and eggs, though we only have a few since we are just trying them out. The Black Chicken has special feature where their bones are Black, with Black skin, and White feathers.
Free Range Vs. Organic
Free Range means that the Chickens are given specific amount of space where they are roam around freely. In my case, about 200 Chickens stay fenced in an area of about 600 SQM, so 3 SQM per Chicken. By their behavior, Chickens rarely venture beyond the area that they were fed. So most will stay in and around their sleeping huts and were fed around the area. Most other area they rarely visited. Our Chicken living are also contained vine type plants that give fruits, such as Gac Fruits or Passion Fruits Tree. Chickens do great insects control, they also benefits from our cut-and-drop trimming of the branches and cutting of the low quality fruits on the ground.
As for their food, it is a combination of 25% factory high proteins feed mixed with locally grown banana tree trunk, and or ground wild vegetable in the farm, whole rice grain, and mixed with solution of EM or Effective Microbes. We called this our probiotics food. Just by freely able to roam around, our Chickens are quite happy and contempt to give us good quality eggs. We even have a sand pit for them to bury their wings in!
One other special feature in our Chicken coop is the composts bin for the Chicken. Making a composts bin inside the coop so Chicken can scratch on them and snack on them all day long! Here is an article on the Chicken Compost Bin.
Organic defines the type of food that the Chickens eat. Our Chicken are not Organic, since we feed them with 25% factory feed. Our plan is to grow enough Banana tree to be cut down for them to eat daily with other type of high protein plants such as the Chaiya Mexican Vegetable or Tree Spinach which we are growing frantically on the farm to reduce cost of feed as well.
Another term is Pasture-raised Chickens. Pastured Chickens are moved around different area daily or on weekly basis. They live and eat “outside” 24/7. They are more healthy, stronger. They never been depecked so insects, seeds and worms in the ground are easy for them to get to. So you really do not need to feed them anything, they will find the food them self where they are. For a large polyculture farm, this is not a problem. For smaller farm, natural food can run out if there are more Chicken than the food available in that area. So having readily available food stock for them is a must in some season when there are less insects or seeds available naturally.
Our Free Range Eggs
Tantai Farm takes pride in how are Chicken are raised and it shows in the quality of our Free Range Chicken Eggs. The Egg’s yoke are dark Orange instead of light Yellow color from factory caged Chicken. The yolk also hold its round shape well and much longer than our factory counter part.