Fryar’s Kangaroo Island Free Range Eggs
1537 Hog Bay Rd, Haines SA
08 8553 9097
As you drive towards Tom and Fiona Fryar’s farm on Kangaroo Island, expect to be greeted by the sound of 60,000 hens clucking away. The 2,000-hectare property is home to Fryar’s Kangaroo Island Free Range Eggs, where the husband and wife team, along with sons Thomas and Jason, produce certified free-range eggs for all to enjoy.
Having spent most of his working life shearing, Tom was looking for a way to make a living on the 40 hectares of family-owned land. Hens seemed like a good way to do it, so Tom and Fiona started a free-range egg production business with 400 hens.
Fast forward 23 years, and Fryar’s is a modern-day success story. As the demand for free-range grew, the business followed suit. It now produces more than nine million eggs per year for consumers from Kangaroo Island, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.
One of Fryar’s biggest successes has been its ability to operate ethically. The farm is Humane Choice accredited, with lots of space for every hen to move around on. It runs at a stocking density rate of 750 birds per hectare, grains are grown on farm, and mobile sheds provide shelter, roosting rails and nesting boxes for 1,000 hens each. There’s no beak trimming allowed and 30 Maremma stock guardian dogs provide protection from predators such as eagles and feral cats. The dogs, bred by Tom and Fiona, are reared to bond with the hens; they patrol the fence lines, keeping other stock out, not the hens in.
There are 50 laying sheds, each with 1,000 layers. The chooks are Hy-line Brown breed, bought in as day-old chicks from Hy-line International’s Victorian-based hatchery. From there, they are raised in a temperature-controlled rearing shed. At eight weeks, they are moved to mobile laying sheds in paddocks with fresh pasture and trees for added shelter. Each shed has feeders that are filled with a homegrown pea and wheat mix, created with the help of a nutritionist. It’s a full-time job to maintain feed for the hens.
Native tree lines have been established to provide shelter as well as protection from predators. The hens are free to dust bath as they please, which is their natural way of combating parasites. Each mobile shed has a solar panel for lighting, ensuring 16 hours of light and eight hours of darkness per day, assisting with consistent lay rates. The result of this true free-range system is tasty eggs that are wholesome and full of flavour, graded and packed on-site ready for sale.
As well as providing quality free-range eggs, the Fryars also run sheep for prime lamb production, beef cattle, and cropping wheat – used to feed the birds. Sticking to its sustainability credibility, the chicken manure is also spread over cropping land, while the lambs are grazed on pasture and then stubbles after the grain is harvested.