Numeralla Chicken FarmThe egg farm is on a part of Tocal called Numeralla. It was purchased as a separate business to Tocal about 20 years after the College was built.
On the property, situated on 86 hectares, is the Numeralla Chicken farm which runs a free range egg production. 15 hectares of this area has been fenced as free range runs with the remaining hectares available for our heifers to graze.
Number of birds and eggs
Numeralla has five sheds with a total shed area of 8,762 m2. The sheds house up to 90,000 hens which are grown and their eggs harvested under contract to Pace Farms. Approximately 84,000 eggs per day are harvested with the aid of conveyors and an egg packer rated at 24,000 eggs per hour. When all 5 sheds are operating, the farm can produce up to 11 million eggs in a year.
All eggs are supplied to Pace Farms who work very closely with us to produce the enjoyable egg. Our Isa Brown Hens are placed as day olds, raised at a ‘feeder farm’ near Vacy, with birds transferred to Numeralla at about 16 weeks of age. They are then cared for and trained to lay in nest houses, in between their daily foray into free range areas. After approximately 14 months, egg laying of these hens declines to the point where it is uneconomical to keep them. They are then harvested for their meat. Litter is removed, the suspended flooring system is dismantled and cleaned, the sheds are dry cleaned and disinfected ready for the next cycle. This is an extensive process that takes approximately 5 weeks, with the inclusion of contractors and extra staff.
Supply of water
Water to Numeralla comes from a dam capturing runoff from approximately 100 ha of the Tocal property and surrounding farm lands. The paddock is strictly managed to meet the water quality requirements of Numeralla. The water from the dam is filtered through a series of sand filters and is then treated with chlorine and pumped to various holding tanks for distribution to particular sections of the farm.
Storage and movement of eggs each day
Eggs are collected daily from each shed via a series of conveyer belts running through our nest box system to the outside of the shed where it meets a second conveyor that transports the egg to our packing facility. Once at the packing facility, eggs undergo a grading process where staff remove cracked and deformed eggs, oversized and double yolked eggs placing them in separate cartons, for egg pulp processing. The third category of eggs graded out are any dirty egg that is packed separately to be washed before further grading occurs. All of our eggs once packed are stored in a cool room until dispatch to a grading facility at Buchanan where a more intense grading process is undertaken before the egg hits the supermarket shelves. Eggs are transported out of Numeralla multiple times a week in refrigerated trucks.
Use of the farm for student training
In 2016 the introduction of a poultry component in the Certificate III in Agriculture course was developed and delivered with real success. Staff at Numeralla always look forward to having involvement in the education of the students in the poultry industry. Numeralla is also used in the Environmental Sustainability unit delivered to Tocal students. Students are also rostered to Numeralla to gain practical skills, performing skills such as maintaining healthy well birds; poultry growth rate assessments; disease recognition and sampling; handling ‘cull’ or dead birds.
Numeralla has a contract with Pace Farms. The process begins with Pace supplying a rearing farm with day old chicks to be reared in a barn until 16 weeks, just before sexual maturity. The birds are transported by a live bird transport company to us where we train the birds to know the new surroundings and whereabouts of food and water. From here we range the birds. All of our processes are done in stages to minimise the stress on the birds. Pace provides us with everything the birds need throughout the whole batch: feed, vaccinations, all food grade approved cleaning products, consumable cartons and packaging. Numeralla provides adequate facilities to house the birds, and all other overheads attached to the running of the farm. The eggs laid are the property of Numeralla, and are then purchased back by Pace Farms. All the hens are owned and provided for by Pace Farms and the farm and eggs are owned by Numeralla.
We’re always looking for staff at the farm, particularly during the clean out period of the sheds. If you’re interested in working with us, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your experience, availability and references and we will get in touch with you.