What is Open Range?
”Open Range” is a term we use because the current “Free Range” standard simply doesn’t represent what we do at Possum Creek. We feel it is time for a new standard that actually matches the perception that it gives.
The term “Free Range” implies happy chickens roaming about with plenty of space out in the open with lots of fresh grass and bugs. In some cases this will certainly be the case, however the current standards actually don’t accurately describe what we do at Possum Creek.
We believe “Open Range” best describes happy healthy hens roaming freely with plenty of space fresh pasture which can only be achieved by frequent paddock rotation. These hens actually live outside as nature intended. In some Free Range operations, the chickens only have “access” to the outside, and not necessarily with pasture.
NSW is yet to set an official stocking density for ”Free Range” but is likely to follow that of Queensland, which is 10,000 chickens per ha or 1 chicken per 1 square metre.
Currently in our system, our 1500 hens have access to nearly 9 hectares, making the stocking density around 165 hens per ha which is significantly different to the 10,000 chickens per ha stated above.