Eggsellent time for McCullys Gap farm
BY JEM ANSHAW
While a number of industries have suffered losses when covid restrictions kicked in, one local operation was run off their feet.
Nestled amongst the hills in McCullys Gap, Hunter Country Farm has around 600 chooks that call the property home, and during the initial lockdown the hens could not keep up with demand!
“Demand increased 10-fold, if we had 2000 chickens we would have still been selling the whole lot, there was just such a demand on eggs,” owner Therese Moffitt said.
“I was like where are all these eggs going? Whether people were just staying home and doing a lot more cooking, I don’t know.”
For five years Therese and husband, Steve, have been running their poultry operation supplying the local area with open range eggs.
Both Therese and Steve grew up on and around farms and have been operating their own for 20 years, where they still have cattle and are looking at getting more sheep as well as the chooks.
Wanting to look after the land so it can look after them is a big part of how the property is managed. Thought always going into biodiversity, letting their animals turnover and fertilise the soil where possible.
They are also conscious of how they look after all animals on the property by removing chemicals wherever possible without impacting the health and wellbeing of their flock and herds.
Hunter Country Farm hens are not pressured to lay and spend most of their day outside, which has brought with it the need for some ingenuity from their owners.
“It is so much warmer when it is just dirt and dust, so during summer we put sprinkler systems up in trees so they have a mist of water coming down on them,” Therese said.
“It was just a matter of changing our management techniques to match what we were going through,” Steven added when discussing how they have dealt with the drought.
Dams on the property have been filled by recent rain but there is still concern for what summer will be like if the region doesn’t receive more.
While the couple have different views on whether they will keep building the biodiversity cycle on their land or look at scaling back operations to take a break, one thing is obvious they will not be leaving the land any time soon.
Hunter Country Farm Open Range Eggs are all cleaned and graded on site, before being delivered from the farm directly to Muswellbrook IGA, Brook Butchers, and Hunter Belle Cheese for sale, or to Double Picc Café and Eatons Hotel where they are used in the kitchen.