On a lush, small acreage in the subtropical hinterland of Byron Bay, thrive Australia’s most delicious chickens.
When Georgina Goddard and Morgwn Wilkie began Brooklet Springs Farm in 2016, now one of Australia’s largest regenerative poultry farms their motivations were fairly simple: they wanted to eat tasty and healthy protein. And they wanted to look after the farmland they’d recently moved to from the city.
After years of health issues, a new baby daughter, Perry in their hearts, and a failed pursuit for reliable, truly clean, pasture-raised protein, they invested in 30 chickens and set about their journey into the life of farming.
And now, 18 months later, the couple are changing the ways of chicken farming – and the flavour of the chicken we eat.
“We started with our first 30 chickens because we liked the taste of chicken, not because we knew a thing about farming,” says Georgina, an architect. She and Morgwn, a builder, have been partners in life and business for more than 15 years — previously running their business Work Shop Objects in Brisbane, creating hand-crafted timber objects.
“We are just locavores and enjoy eating great quality produce. We quickly realised there was a real appetite for our chickens and that we can make a real impact on the farming practices that people support through the food they consume and not just in our own community but all over the country.”
Brooklet Springs Farm has grown into one of the largest pasture-raised poultry producers in Australia, introducing to market the benefit of chickens that have the kind of life that many would be bohemian today dreams of.
“They live in the sunshine, they spend their days foraging through the pastures for bugs and insects and we also feed them a supplemental organic ration. We think it’s a pretty good life for the chickens,” says Georgina.
The pair have designed and built their own version of a “chicken tractor,” a simple floorless tent structure with open mesh sides and a light tarp roof. Every single day, Georgina, Morgwn and their team head out to the field to slide the chicken tractors and all the chickens onto a new patch of pasture – this “everyday move” sets them apart from the other producers and it is as nourishing for the chickens as it is for the grass.
“Yesterday’s toilet is left behind them,” explains Georgina. “It’s all about leaving the soil better than when we first arrived. Our property did have cattle and horses on it, loosely roaming around picking all the ice- cream out of the pasture without any management for too many years.”
And with the subtropical sun shining bright most of the year round, along with plentiful rainfall, there is no need for antibiotics and other chemicals that are used in even in most clean of the supermarket chicken.
“Sunshine is the best sanitizer and our birds get plenty of it” says Georgina.
Their online store, launched in 2018, is quickly becoming a direct line of supply for city dwellers on the same pursuit for healthy protein that changed both Georgina and Morgwn’s lives.
Brooklet Springs chickens arrive at market in various forms, from the basic styles of cuts to paleo friendly sausages and sliders. They provide a farm gate to front door service and service many restaurants, retailers and the two local farmers markets.
“I’d love to see true pasture-raised chicken across every supermarket. We are planning to recreate what we are doing here at scale — it’s going to be incredible.”