Quirk e-Tale Free To Roam

Quirk e-Tale Free To Roam

What’s up Doc? It was always Henrietta’s silly welcome whenever she bumped into her close friend Doc. But then there always was something up with Doc, whose body existed only to stop his head falling to the ground.

I was reading the new legislation limiting the density of laying birds to 10,000 per hectare if the farmer wants to use the phrase free to roam or free range.

Yes a complete scandal I say! Henrietta was every bit as reactive as Doc was deliberate. You know that translates to two hens on an A3 sheet of paper. Free to roam. Ha!!

Yes, misleading marketing Henrietta, agreed Doc. But I’ve been doing some arithmetic.

Doc was the only person in Henrietta’s group of friends who enjoyed arithmetic and, frustratingly, even used it to good effect, on the occasions she could understand it.

You see 10,000 laying birds per hectare is a million per square kilometre.

A bird weighs about two and a half kilos. Now a human being is about eighty kilos so there are about thirty two hens per human.

How did humans get into this?

Stay with me Henrietta. This goes somewhere.

So the equivalent density of humans would be a million per square kilometre divided by thirty two, and that’s about thirty thousand humans per square kilometre.

Now the Australian Bureau of Statistics informs us there are 13,000 people per sqare kilometre n inner Sydney – and that’s in the lucky country.

In Mumbai it’s 30,000.

And in Hong Kong, drum roll, it’s 26,000.

Henrietta pecked a few pieces of corn on the ground and looked around at the mass of hens, each pair occupying their A3 paper-sized piece of barn.

You mean they are about as free to roam as we are?

Henrietta. You always get the point. 



In a separate development, free range egg producers are threatening to go to the ACCC if the Egg Corporation persists in allowing free range farmers to run as many as 20,000 laying birds per hectare, the equivalent of two birds a square metre. Laying birds need more room than meat birds as they tend to be more aggressive.

The Australian Free Range Egg and Poultry Association president, Phil Westwood, said: ”Under the Egg Corp definition, consumers would be paying for something they wouldn’t be getting as no one believes that definition would be free range.”

The Greens have introduced legislation into parliament to create a mandatory standard for eggs sold as free range. Stocking densities would be set at 750 birds per hectare and beak trimming banned. Companies that falsely label eggs free range could be fined up to $55,000.


As of 2011 statistics, the average broiler chicken weighed 5.80 pounds at 47 days old.

In 2011-12, the average Australian man (18 years and over) weighed 85.9 kg =190 pounds=30 chickens

13000 residents per sq km=800,000 chickens per sq km

Mean free range can be up to 10,000 birds per hectare under the new agreement.

100 hectares per sq kilometre

Therefore, 1 million birds per sq kilometre

So 1 million chickens or 1 million human CHICKEN-EQUIVALENTS.

Among the urban areas with more than 2.5 million population, the second-most dense is Mumbai, at 80,100 per square mile or 30,900 per square kilometer. The most dense high income world urban area is Hong Kong, at 67,000 persons per square mile or 25,900 per square kilometer.

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