The importance of good stockmanship
New Zealand’s egg farming industry is one of the best in the world. Not only are we free from many of the avian illnesses found in other countries, but our farmers are highly skilled in their farming practices.
Good stockmanship, or how layer hens are farmed and cared for, is of utmost importance in farming – happy hens lay good eggs! In addition, New Zealand farmers abide by a series of legal standards in their day-to-day farming.
The Animal Welfare (Layer Hens) Code of Welfare 2012 is the guiding document for all commercial egg farmers in New Zealand. Developed by an independent panel of experts appointed by Government, the Code sets out the standards for the welfare of layer hens.
For a full overview of the Code and the changes introduced in 2018, visit the Welfare Code 2012 page.
Under the Ministry for Primary industries (previously known as MAF and the NZ Food Safety Authority) all commercial egg farmers are required to operate within legal requirements for food safety. This is met by having a registered Risk Management Programme (RMP). These are designed to identify, control, manage, and minimise or eliminate hazards generally associated with human health, animal health, and with the labelling and ‘wholesomeness’ of a product. Farmers are also to adhere to the Welfare Code standards.
Training and development
The EPF supports industry training and development opportunities in cooperation with the Primary Industry Training Organisation, which has developed unit standards and qualifications for egg farmers. This includes providing a career and training path for school leavers looking to enter the industry, as well as continually up-skilling current egg farmers.
New Zealand’s unrivalled environment of low disease is one reason why we have achieved an internationally coveted performance in livestock production parameters such as growth, feed conversion rates and egg production. New Zealand is free of the three major avian diseases: Newcastle Disease (ND), Avian Influenza (AI) and Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD).
Government quarantine regulations are imposed to protect the superior health status of the national poultry flock and native birds, and so there are no imports of table eggs in this country.
Biosecurity regulations on individual farms are equally important to protect the health and wellbeing of the hens and of people visiting or working on the farm.