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In the poultry industry, birds called ‘laying hens’ are kept in a monitored and controlled environment as they are specifically reared for the purpose of laying eggs. Hens and other birds (ducks, geese, etc.) over 20 weeks old will start producing eggs, whether to be sold to the food market or to breed new birds, and egg collectors are needed to gather the eggs produced.
Since the regulations forbidding the use of battery-farming across the EU, new farming systems of keeping laying hens have been but in place, and egg collectors can work using any of the following methods:
Regardless of the birds’ accommodation, egg collectors will monitor the egg production of the birds, caring for their welfare and maintaining the site biosecurity. They must ensure that the birds are being kept according to the regulations, and that they are fed and treated when necessary. Once the birds have laid eggs, the egg collectors must find them and collect them carefully.
Egg collectors are then required to check the eggs, grade them accordingly, and prepare them for transport. Eggs are either produced to be sent off to relevant food companies, or are passed on carefully to hatcheries if fertilised.
The role requires careful handling of the birds and the eggs and involves working in confined spaces with the birds that are laying. The work is very hands-on and often involves getting dirty. This position can either be full-time or part-time. With relevant training, an egg collector can progress to become a stockperson or an assistant farm manager.