Projects

Every year BFREPA produces a number of reports and projects aimed at improving the free range egg sector.

You can find a link to some of these projects below.

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The case for longer cycles for free range egg producers

Is now the time for the free-range sector to change to a new standard depletion at 80 weeks?

The depletion date for contract producers is frequently set by packers or retailers, predominantly based on the egg quality received at the packing centre.

The current standard of 70 weeks reflects a perceived need to minimise exposure to the poorer egg shell quality historically seen at the end of lay, as poor-quality eggs and in particular, weaker shells, can increase packing costs and customer complaints.

However, modern selection methods have improved end of lay quality considerably over recent years and the accepted norm of depleting flocks at 70 or 72 weeks is now beginning to look dated. Colony flocks in the UK are now commonly kept until 80-90 weeks and in the Netherlands, aviary white bird flocks are hitting 100 weeks.

Early depletion in the UK arguably wastes the genetic potential of modern hybrid laying hens to save costs in production, create additional profits, reduce environmental impacts and improve welfare.

The welfare and economic benefits of multi-tier and flat deck free range systems

The fleeting part that we play as guardians of free range for future generations is enhanced by the knowledge that we share through our organisation. Through our association we have a duty of care towards improving hen welfare wherever possible, but first and foremost we believe that all steps towards welfare should be grounded in science.

This trial undertaken by SRUC and ADAS, with the help of producer members, has been two years’ in the making and provides us with more understanding of the systems now widespread in free range production. These systems are constantly evolving and hopefully this research will help manufacturers and producers to better understand flat deck and multi-tier systems from both an economic and welfare basis, helping improve future design and management.

Final Cleansing and Disinfection Contingency Planning Workbook

 The Government’s planned response to AI is detailed in the “Notifiable Avian Disease Control Strategy for Great Britain”. There are several pieces of domestic legislation that work in combination to enforce EU and international requirements.

This workbook will help you work through the necessary steps for your final cleansing and disinfection contingency.

Reducing Second Quality Eggs in Free Range Production Systems

Second quality eggs can represent an important economic loss to free range egg producers. The aim of this study was to investigate the extent to which seconds levels can be reduced, in order to improve producer returns. The focus was entirely on ‘on-farm’ issues rather than on other parts of the supply chain. 

Four case-study farmers were recruited and two visits were made to each site over a period of approximately three months. The study focused on a single house on each site. 

Impacts of Ammonia Emissions on the UK Free Range Egg Production Sector

This report has been commissioned by BFREPA for use by its members and officials. It begins with a brief overview of the environmental impacts of ammonia, concentrating on emissions from agriculture and poultry. It then sets out the key regulatory issues and controls for the poultry sector in relation to ammonia, based on European Union (EU) and national requirements. The national perspective is specifically in relation to England but the general principles are also likely to be relevant to other parts of the United Kingdom. 

A Practical Guide to Salmonella Infections in Commercial Free Range Egg Laying Hens

This booklet was written by two veterinary surgeons with first-hand experience dealing with laying flocks which have become infected with controlled types of Salmonella. The booklet describes the very involved process of dealing with this difficult situation, with a step by step guide to many of the issues involved with the clean-up operation and subsequent demonstration of disease free status. 

The Impact of Buyers’ Intentions to Purchase Only Non-Cage Eggs From 2025

a number of multiple retailers in the UK have recently announced that they will stop selling eggs from enriched cage systems from the start of 2025. at this stage, certain key issues are unclear. These include the extent to which there will be significant growth in barn egg production and thus the likely impact on the free range egg production sector.

The overall aim of this study is to provide clarity on the current thinking of these retailers and to assess the likely implications of changing purchase policies. To achieve this, meetings were held with various retailers between March and May 2017. Participants were assured that their individual responses would be used for aggregation purposes only.