Frequently asked questions

Q: Do I need some sort of MPI health and safety certificate to produce free range eggs in New Zealand?

A: All egg producers with more than 100 hens need a Risk Management Programme (RMP) which is available from the MPI website:

Note: Use the 'Advanced Search' box in the top right corner of the Food Safety Website. Enter 'Egg producer' and click GO
This takes you directly to the downloadable PDFs.

Q: What else do I need in respect to legal requirements?

A: You might need a Resource Consent under the Resource Management Act. Please enquire with your local district council for further info on this.

Q: Are there any minimum legal standards for free range egg production in New Zealand?

A: In New Zealand the Animal Welfare Act 1999 regulates the management requirements for free range layer hens. You can find more information here:

Q: I guess time wise a free range egg operation is a 7 day a week operation, is this correct?

A: Almost like dairy farming but not so time critical - i.e. an hour or two either way for collection of eggs does not affect production. Even New Years Day - but at least we don't have to walk them to the milking shed first!

Q: Are there quiet stages through the year i.e. change over of hens or is it a 365 days of the year operation

A: Our supply requirements and the sound spreading of capital costs mean you need to keep "down times" low, i.e. traditionally 2 weeks from an old flock to a new one. That means if you have more than one flock there are quieter times, but no days off! Every flock is visited at least twice a day if only to make sure all the birds are healthy and happy

Q: What area is required to start an ECO EGG farm?

A: This depends greatly on climatic conditions, soil type etc. It's the farmer's job to keep pasture intact by sound grazing practises. The soil should be well drained and should remain mainly covered with vegetation.