FREE RANGE: Toni Simmons has recently opened a free range egg business called Surfie Chicks.
FREE RANGE: Toni Simmons has recently opened a free range egg business called Surfie Chicks. Mike Knott BUN020117SURFIECHICKS

Animal lover starts her own brand of free range eggs

ANYONE who keeps chooks will know the feeling - your friends and family always want a share of the product.

Animal lover Toni Simmons reached a point where she decided to turn others' hunger for her chickens' eggs into a business and she hasn't looked back.

She created the Surfie Chicks brand on an ethos of animal welfare, tapping into today's trend that consumers "want to see where their eggs are coming from”.

"They want to see the chickens out in the paddock roaming happy and free,” Toni said from her property on Seaview Rd.

CHOOK CHOOK: Toni Simmons has recently opened a free range egg business called Surfie Chicks.
CHOOK CHOOK: Toni Simmons has recently opened a free range egg business called Surfie Chicks. Mike Knott BUN020117SURFIECHICKS

There, on just over 1ha where she also runs a pony ride business Toni's Ponies, that is what her 180 chickens do, just as most people imagine "free range” to mean - despite changes in regulations last year that allow farms with up to 10,000 hens per ha to be classed as free range.

Those big numbers are "not what people have in their minds” when they buy free range eggs, Toni said.

Animal welfare and the health of her birds are central to her strategy.

"Our hens are able to move and play in the grass and dirt outside, to behave the way nature intended.”

CHOOK CHOOK: Toni Simmons has recently opened a free range egg business called Surfie Chicks.
CHOOK CHOOK: Toni Simmons has recently opened a free range egg business called Surfie Chicks. Mike Knott BUN020117SURFIECHICKS

It is illegal to sell eggs to the public without accreditation from Safe Food Queensland, she said, "so that was the very first step we took”.

"We also registered with Biosecurity Queensland.

"We constantly observe the health of the chickens and look for behaviour changes.”

There are also responsibilities like cleaning and storage of the eggs to take care of.

Surfie Chicks uses a "roll-away system” where the eggs roll into a clean area immediately after they are laid, before they are individually wiped with a paper towel.

CHOOK CHOOK: Toni Simmons has recently opened a free range egg business called Surfie Chicks.
CHOOK CHOOK: Toni Simmons has recently opened a free range egg business called Surfie Chicks. Mike Knott BUN020117SURFIECHICKS

They're even stamped with a wave logo before they hit the shelves.

So why the surfie name?

Toni's no surfer - she just wanted to give them eggs a touch of the Bargara way of life.

She says she is "just getting started”, and plans to expand to another property in Meadowvale in the future.

CHOOK CHOOK: Toni Simmons has recently opened a free range egg business called Surfie Chicks.
CHOOK CHOOK: Toni Simmons has recently opened a free range egg business called Surfie Chicks. Mike Knott BUN020117SURFIECHICKS

"More and more free range farms are starting up to help meet the demand for hens which have been raised in better conditions,” Toni said.

"It has never been a better time for us to try our hand at running a free range chicken business.

"We have three sons aged eight, ten and twelve and hoped this would be a great family business to give the boys responsibilities and working together.”

CHOOK CHOOK: Toni Simmons has recently opened a free range egg business called Surfie Chicks.
CHOOK CHOOK: Toni Simmons has recently opened a free range egg business called Surfie Chicks. Mike Knott BUN020117SURFIECHICKS

Surfie Chicks are part of the Hummock Tours run by Bundy Food Tours, where people can visit local farms, see behind the scenes and meet the farmer.

The eggs are sold at the farmgate at 308 Seaview Rd, Bargara, as well as Bargara Markets, Bargara Beach Bakehouse, Carlyle Takeaway, Bargara Berries and Bargara Lakes Tavern.

Phone 0437 537 655 or check out facebook.com/surfiechicksfreerangeeggs.



Footy player claims racist slur provoked on-field assault

premium_icon Footy player claims racist slur provoked on-field assault

Accused claims provocation due to racial slur

Where your car will be stolen

Where your car will be stolen

MOTORISTS have been warned to better protect their cars

Local Partners