THE coming month should see a further rise in egg production as more
birds come into lay arising from the recovery in pullet placings since November.

Over the coming month, the number of birds in their first year of lay is likely to increase by around 400,000, to 32.5 million.

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This follows an estimated rise of 300,000 in April.

This upturn can be expected to continue into at least September, in light of the latest placings figure for April, which shows a year-on-year increase in day-old pullets of 12 per cent, or 380,000.

By the autumn, the size of the UK laying flock should have increased by 1.3m overall since early this year.

However, that still leaves the egg market some 4m birds adrift of where it was at the beginning of last year, which leaves a considerable gap to fill looking well into the following year.

“It’s still very scarce, and prices haven’t encouraged more production to go in, “said Andy Crossland at the CEA.

There’s still very little UK egg available, whether colony, barn or free range. It’s all very tight, and still reports of empty shelves.”

‘Difficult for a while’

“I’m not hearing of many new birds going in or new buildings going up.
It’s going to be difficult for a while,” Mr Crossland predicted.

At the same time, he feared that many of the colony units that fell empty over the last 12 months would not go back into production.

“A lot of them have been shut down permanently. We are still looking at a lot of retail in 2025 coming away from colony, and now that’s only a flock and a half away.”

He pointed out that Continental eggs were currently topping up the wholesale trade, and there was continuing talk of the retail sector looking abroad.

“May used to be one of the slowest months of the year. It really has changed. I’ve never known a May like it.”