We here at Roly Poly Farm believe that no living thing should live it's life in a cage, be it chicken, unicorn or veg.
Our girls are raised outside in the open pastures, free to forage and investigate the big wide world as they please (with an electrified net around the perimeter of the area protecting them from foxes and other predators). Once every week or so, as they dream chicken dreams of green pastures and slow crickets, your farmers hitch up the poultry palace to the back of the farm ute, and re-locate chicken, caravan, and protective electric fencing to a new patch of pasture and trees. The next morning our spoilt fluffbutts will wake up to find new dustbaths under karri trees and insects a-plenty.
Roly Poly's flock is primarily comprised of heritage breed chooks. We have 25% hybrid chickens mixed into the flock, in order to make this a viable business (if the market were different and we could get away with 110% heritage breeds, we would, believe you me!). Heritage breeds (or in the plant world, heirloom crops) are traditional breeds that were bred and raised by farmers in the past. These animals were bred by farmers to develop traits that made them particularly well-adapted to local environment conditions, and as such have better disease resistance.
These days, however, many breeds used in large scale agriculture have been specifically selected for intensive production, including rapid growth, feed efficiency, continuous milk or egg production, or other targeted production characteristics. Disease spreads easily and fast amongst these animals, and farms and farmers have themselves been bred by large agricultural corporations and other external pressures, to become dependent upon only a few specialised types of livestock and crops (and dependent upon the corporations that supply the medications). As this shift has happened, thousands of non-commercial animal breeds and crop varieties have disappeared, reducing our resiliency and security as a global economy and food system.
Here at Roly Poly Farm, we are passionate about preserving these breeds, as it is through them that you get eggs that look like these!
We love all of our girls. We tuck them in every night and wake them up every morning, to make sure they are safe and sound from predators. We make sure they get their 30 minutes, and that they eat their greens. It's enough to make you want to be a chicken - begawk!
(and why our eggs are so colourful!)
Why eat 12 brown eggs, when you can eat a rainbow of eggs?! Here at Roly Poly Farm, we pride ourselves on our amazing egg combinations. From blues to greens, straight through to whites and speckled, who said an egg has to be brown? But how do these eggs get these colours?
Well, all eggs actually start off as white. Egg colour is a lot like skin colour in humans. The amount of pigment in the egg, determines the colour the egg will be. As they travel through the hen's oviduct, colour is added, to create the colours you see in your Roly Poly egg carton each week. What's really interesting is that different colours are added at different times of the laying process. Read on, my chicken!
These girls lay a beautiful blue egg, and lay about 3-4 eggs per week. The blue pigment responsible for these beauties is known as Oocyanin, and comes from the hen’s bile. They are friendly, chatty, and definitely win the fancy hat prize (they have crests tucked behind floppy combs, looking like berets accented with flowers!).
Welsummers are the spice in your egg carton life, laying us 3-4 speckled eggs of goodness each week. Speckled eggshells occur when the egg rotates during the pigmenting stage. Apparently these eggs rotate too slowly and voila…speckles! These girls were hard to find, and we're still waiting for them to lay, however they are well worth it! They adapt well to any environment and are excellent foragers. The roosters of this breed are a beautiful sight, and in fact, the rooster you find on the Kellogg’s Cornflake cereal box is a Welsummer named Cornelius. Stay tuned for when our girls start to lay!
Leghorns are our white egg-yielders, and are beautiful, dependable layers. They lay a whopping 5 eggs per week (sometimes 6!), and are active, sociable girls. These girls originate from the Port of Leghorn, Italia. You may see our chooks in their part-time job, acting as the Warner Bros. Foghorn Leghorn. Round of applause for these showstoppers!
Hy-Lines are the hybrid breed in our flock (the brown hens that you're used to seeing clucking around), but it doesn't mean we love them any less! These girls lay almost every day in peak season, and are very placid and friendly. To get the brown egg, a pigment known as protoporphyrin, from a hen’s hemoglobin, is painted on during the last few hours of the egg laying process. They also lay lighter eggs in the warmer months, and darker eggs in the colder months. These girls were destined for a rough life in a commercial chickery, and it is a blessing to be able to give them a better life here on the farm.
We were stupidly excited to find Marans available here in Perth. They lay rich, deep, chocolate coloured eggs, and are quite hard to find in this part of the world. As with all dark brown egg layers, the eggs are the darkest at the beginning of the laying cycle. The eggs will lighten slightly then return to darkest colour after a period of rest. We couldn't afford too many of these girls, so keep your eye out, and fingers crossed you get one of these lucky eggs in your carton this week!
These chickens lay a broad spectrum of coloured eggs, ranging from olive green to turquoise blue, and occasionally rose or brown. Extremely docile, they are also heat and cold hardy, which is a huge benefit when living in the extremes of the Perth hills. Like their eggs, these chicks will grow into adult birds that vary widely in feather colours. For the green eggs, the hen’s artistic reproductive system begins with a blue egg and paints a touch of brown on top yielding a very enjoyable green egg! The darker the brown top coat, the darker the green egg. Eggtastic!