Learn About Egg Farming
Australians love eggs. In fact, we consume 15 million eggs every day!
But how well do you know the journey of an egg from a chicken on a farm all the way to your kitchen table?
- It starts on a farm where eggs are laid by hens into nest boxes which are collected at least once a day and taken to a grading floor.
- On arrival at the grading floor, trays of eggs are taken on trolleys to large temperature and humidity controlled cool rooms. This keeps the eggs fresh until they are packed. Eggs are then transferred from trays and placed on a conveyor belt.
- The eggs are cleaned and sanitised and very dirty eggs are discarded.
- To ensure the best eggs end up on your plate, eggs are tested for quality. This includes measuring the height of the albumen (egg white), colour of the yolk and shell thickness. Eggs are also checked for size, shape and colour as well as defects.
- The eggs that remain on the conveyor belt are passed over a strong light to allow the operator to see inside the egg and look for internal defects like blood spots. Shell defects such as cracks and spots of dirt can also be seen. This process is called ‘candling’ because the egg is illuminated like a candle.
- All eggs are stamped with a unique code identifying the farm of origin. This allows eggs to be tracked back to the farm if necessary.
- Eggs are mechanically weighed and sorted into different sizes (called grades) and packed. The graded eggs are placed in cartons and a “best before” date is applied to each carton. The cartons then travel by conveyor belt to a packing area where they are placed onto pallets for transport to the storage area
- Special refrigerated trucks back up to the cool room and create a seal so there is no temperature change between the cool room and the truck. The eggs are loaded into the truck and remain cool all the way to the supermarket fridge.
The high school resources below are designed to introduce students to the systems and practices used in egg production in Australia. The units use project based learning as a way to engage students to explore the past, present and future of egg farming. Students are given an opportunity to gain an insight into the ways Australian farmers raise their chickens, manage resources, improve sustainability of farm practices, adapt to climate change and produce quality food products.
There are three egg farming systems: cage, free range and barn. All have different benefits, but all are focused on food safety and healthy hens.