UNIQUE: Manager Dan Carney and owner Rob Waterson are proud to be a RSPCA-approved free-range egg producer.
UNIQUE: Manager Dan Carney and owner Rob Waterson are proud to be a RSPCA-approved free-range egg producer. Brenda Strong

Chooks taste freedom at new home in Calliope

TWO thousand chooks have escaped the barns of Grantham for a life of freedom at the Silver Dale Eggs farm in Calliope.

The full-feathered Bond Browns were 17 weeks old and until Saturday had never roamed around outside.

Being born in an incubator and growing up in a barn, they were naturally skittish at their new home.

Manager Dan Carney said they could not have come at a better time.

"The rain we have been getting has made them very happy chooks," he said.

"There is heaps of green grass, insects and worms for them at the moment."

Mr Carney said the new chooks' instincts were amazing.

"They know how to have baths, chase insects and eat grass," he said.

"They have never been raised by other birds; all that information was inside the egg."

He said the chooks won't have the life of most egg laying chooks.

"We don't really have a conventional shed, we have egg mobiles," he said.

"We keep moving the trailer 10 metres a day which allows them to graze over fresh pasture."

Silver Dale eggs expected to get 95 eggs per 100 chooks per day with the new lot.

"When they first start they produce a lot but as they get older they lay less and will drop down to about 50%," Mr Carney said.

"That's when we have to euthanize them because they become too expensive compared to how much they produce."

Silver Dale Eggs are a local paddock-to-plate producer.

"Half of our supply goes into the central Queensland market and the other half goes down the south-east Queensland," he said.

After the chooks fertilize the paddocks they let their beef cattle enjoy the lush green pastures.



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