Where is Forage Farm?
Forage Farm is in Motukarara / Gebbies Valley. It is on the outskirts of Christchurch on the main road to Akaroa.
Our address is: 1926 Christchurch Akaroa Road
How big is Forage Farm?
Forage farm is 26 hectares, or 64 acres and is shaped like a triangle. We boarder the Christchurch Akaroa Road, the Rail Trail and the Halswell river.
Can we come and see the hens?
Our aim here is to be as transparent as possible. We want you to come and meet the hens and see for yourself how they live. You can usually see them from the road (please be careful if your driving) or you can bike/walk the rail trail and stop at our stall for some eggs.
We will also have farm tours from time to time, follow us on social media to keep up to date with any planned tours.
What is a chicken caravan?
Whilst not as plush as a human caravan, the big metal structure you can see in the paddock is our chicken caravan. The hens all sleep in there at night and are free to come and go during the day. Inside there are some cosy nesting boxes for the hens to lay their eggs. We hitch the caravan up to the back of the Ute and tow it around the pastures regularly.
What do you feed the hens?
The hens forage for bugs and eat a lot of the pasture during the day. We also provide them with a feed which is especially prepared for pasture raised hens from a local grower in Ashburton. The farmer grows all his own cereals and prepares the feed himself... it just can’t get more local than that! There are no GMOs, soy or yolk colourants used in the feed. We use a special blend of apple cider vinegar and garlic in their water to aid digestion and keep the hens’ gut healthy.
Why are Forage Farm yolks bright yellow?
As mentioned above, yolk colourants are not used in our hens feed. Our hens eat bugs, grass, and are out in the sunshine all day which makes the yolks a natural bright sunshine yellow.
Why do you have fences around the caravan and hens?
We sometimes use the fences to help keep the hens out of the pampas grass and other cosy dark places where they may like to go to lay their eggs. The fence also helps keep them safe from the nearby road and potential predators.
How many hens do you have?
We currently have 900 hens, approx. 18 hens per hectare, which means our stocking densities are a far cry from the maximum 2,500 hens per hectare for standard free range systems.
Aren't you just free range?
No - free range chickens are kept in static shelters (sheds) and remain on the same piece of land for their whole life, they only have access to the outside through timer controlled doors and their food and water is commonly kept inside. As you can see when you are passing Forage Farm, our hens are always outside foraging for bugs in freshly rotated pasture. If you look closely you may also be able to see where the hens and caravan have been previously in the paddocks and where they have foraged and fertilised the ground.
Where can I read more on the nutrition benefits of pasture raised eggs?
Do you just do eggs?
Currently we only do pasture raised eggs, but keep asking us as we have many plans and dreams for the future!