Hide-and-seek eggs: chickens like to hide their eggs from predators and often play a game with us: they hide and we seek.
Because this Spring we want to thank our chickens for our fantastically healthy mob of lambs. Chickens roam our paddocks freely and therefore fertilize all over. Chicken fertilizer is the top A-grade quality for pastures: it is high in essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.
Nitrogen is what makes the grass green, and the greener the grass, the more photosynthesis can occur; the more photosynthesis, the sweeter the grass. The sweeter the grass, the more lambs like it and they grow faster.
Pastured eggs are good for customers, chickens, grass, lambs, Nature and the Earth.
Brothers planning some new mischief...
The two Maremma sheepdogs, Oddball and Lucky, captured beautifully by Jeremy (https://eventsbymcgrath.com/wedding-photography. Oddball and Lucky are our oldest protector dogs, they were there when the very first eggs were laid. Although they are mature in their behaviour to the chickens, and do their job perfectly well, they enjoy planning some mischief once in a while.
Young female chicks up to a year old are pullets. Young male chicks up to a year old are cockerels. Pullets become hens and cockerels become roosters. They're all chickens and are as sweet by any other name, running all over our green pasture. Just like these two pullets today.
Keeping history alive at Hilltops Free Range egg 'Reynoldsdale' farm: we have kept the copper sign from the first owner, Reynolds, who established the farm; we kept the original first houses which were built on the property. Our office room is now housed in the oldest heritage building, restored and maintained dutifully.
There is an inner timber wall in one of the rooms which we have sealed and preserved in its original state. On it, there are traces of newspapers and articles from 1894 one can read: mostly about shearing news and sheep problems.
Heritage buildings represent the history and culture of a nation. Boorowa was established in 1843 by Irish convicts who after receiving their 'ticket of leave' from the Governor, started farming in the area.
A few months ago, we had a visitor who had played on the farm as a child with the first Reynolds family and their children. She told us wonderful stories about how the place where the egg processing machine now is, used to be a dark and cold alley outside the houses, and they used to hide there while playing hide-and-seek, and she thought it was the scariest place in the world.
That copper sign, the office door, the timber wall, the hiding place stories: they all provide a sense of identity and continuity in a fast changing world for many generations to come. More than eggs, history comes to life at Reynoldsale farm.
Watching one's children grow up, become independent and celebrate each and every milestone: we watched the two puppy Maremma dogs grow up and thrive with their natural talent for guarding, and now they are with their own flock.
Venturing off but will always be connected to our hearts.
Let the grass spring up tall, let its roots sing
And the seeds begin their scattering.
Let the noise of the mower be banished, hurrah!
Let the path become where I choose to walk, and not otherwise established.
Let the goldfinches be furnished their humble dinner.
Let the sparrows determine their homes in security.
Let the honeysuckle reach as high as my window, that it may look in.
Let the mice fill their barns with sufficiency.
Let anything created,
that wants to creep or leap forward, be able to do so.
Let the grasshopper have gliding space.
Let the noise of the mower be banished, yes, yes.
'On Not Mowing the Lawn'
by Mary Oliver, From her book of poems "Blue Horses"
Meet Malcolm - the poddy lamb we are raising at the farm, with everyone helping at all times of the day and night. Malcolm was found on the road and we don't know where his mother is. Among a sea of female chickens, our little boy is growing stronger every day.
He enjoys the sun and already knows very well how to drink from the bottle.
Better eggs come from happy chickens with permanent lives in the outdoors that lead a normal - not overcrowded - social life, and supplement their diet with as much fresh greens as possible.
This is our credo. This is what our chickens look like this afternoon on Hilltops Free Range farm.
The best evidence that our credo results in better eggs comes from our customers: this photo of fantastic three double-yolkers in the breakfast pan was sent by a happy customer.
The gift of a double yolker is usually a young hen’s work, but we like to think of it as joyful surprise package from a happy hen. Statisticians calculate the chance of a double yolker to be about 1 in 1,000, and so our customer can feel truly lucky.
Our chickens love fallen trees: in addition to the green plants full of vitamins and minerals they eat, the chickens peck at fallen trees with their claws and beaks in search of seeds, seedlings, fruits, insects and worms.
A fallen tree becomes a playground and a joyful bubbly gathering the the sun.
Hilltops Free Range is honored to be a Finalist for the Telstra Business Awards 2019!
It is a testament to our belief in the sustainable, rotational innovative farming, in producing the highest quality food for our customers, and our passion for improving the soil for the next generations!
It was especially touching to receive a hand-written congratulations card! Thank you, #telstrabizawards
Training Maremma puppies: a game of patience, dedication and love.
We are training our new lovely puppies by spending one hour per day at first with the chickens, then increasing to two hours, then three hours, and so on.
Two lovely puppies are joining Hilltops Free Range Eggs Farm team: a girl and a boy, and remind us everyday what unconditional true love is.
Meet Judy: The chicken who likes to ride in the Land Cruiser and also lays her egg in the car every day! A brave new chicken-dog breed!
Photography by Juliana and Matteo
Green! Chickens with access to grass engage in natural foraging behaviour and lay eggs which are with:
⅓ less cholesterol;
¼ less saturated fat;
2 or 3 times more vitamin A;
2 times more omega-3 fatty acids (healthier ratio);
3 times more vitamin E, and
7 times more beta carotene
than eggs produced by chickens in confinement with no access to grass.
It is a joy to observe Hilltops' free ranging chickens and their healthy habits of spending time in sun, synthesizing vitamin D in their skin and eating a healthy balanced diet.
Greeks and Romans used the power of the Sun to light torches for religious ceremonies as far back as 3rd century B.C.
July 2019, Hilltops Free Range egg farm is now harnessing the power of the Sun for pumping water and ensuring our chickens always have a fresh supply.
Hilltops Free Range egg farm is embarking on a Sustainable Green Energy program, using solar and hydro to power the farm. Sustainable farming includes Sun, Land, Animals and People.
The result of a hard day's work, both for chickens and people: super fresh, nutritious and healthy premium food, coming straight from our farm to your kitchen.
It takes about 24-26 hours of labor inside the chicken just to form the shell and the white of the egg. The chicken is born with the beginning of all the yolks for the eggs she will lay in her life already inside her.
It takes about 4-5 hours of human labor to collect the eggs when chickens are in true pasture-raised, free range farms like Hilltops Free Range. It then takes about 2-3 more hours to process, grade and pack the eggs.
The amazing product of Land, Animals and People working together.
"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” -- T.S. Eliot
Found this chicken wandering far away from her flock, and she had come back to the same area of the paddock where many moons ago we started the Hilltops free range egg production with the first flock of beautiful brown chickens.
Behind her, one could see the three trees which feature in the photo which still stays on the front of our egg label.
Poetry coming to live at Hilltops Free Range egg farm:
"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."
-- T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"
Ethical farming and shorter daylight hours: our chickens enjoying the natural rays of sunlight; out and about on the last forage for the day.
We have a made a conscious choice NOT to trick our chickens with artificial light. Chickens need 14-16 hours of light for intense egg production, and so the short daylight hours in winter affect them. Electric lights are used on some farms to trick the birds that July is October.
For Hilltops Free Range chickens, winter is a time for rest, not reproduction.
How can one appreciate Spring, if one never lived through Winter?
The cycle of life in one photo: trees grow, build their crowns and then fall down. Worms and insects make nests inside the stump. Chickens come to play around, forage and eat a few bugs. We cut firewood to keep warm. The chickens (seen in the background) spread fertilizer so the new tree seeds will grow fast and strong.
This is just one small paddock on Hilltops Free Range farm, where animals, Land and humans work together side by side.
Today was a world record breaking day: the biggest egg in the world tipped the scales at 128g!
With love from the Happy chickens at Hilltops Free Range
Ice cream for breakfast anyone?
Chickens are enjoying the small forbidden pleasures of life: eating ice cream (frozen grass) for breakfast and jumping in mud puddles wearing one's best clothes (feathers).
When he ignores all the young chicks around, and only has eyes for you;
When he looks deep into your soul with his beautiful brown eyes, then you know...
Only dog love is forever! :)
"In a dell of dew, scattering unbeholden among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view..."
Discovering eggs in Hilltops farm in winter feels like Percy B. Shelley poetry coming to live.
-- from "To a Skylark" by Percy Bysshe Shelley
How our eggs come to you
Follow news about our free range chickens and the fresh farm eggs we produce.