Bird flu, inflation, low retail prices hit UK egg producers, fear of shortages

UK farmers are struggling to meet demand for eggs as production is hit by chicken flu and soaring costs, low prices and suppliers threatening to exit the industry.

In the UK, measures to keep all poultry and captive birds indoors went into effect on Monday to prevent the spread of bird flu.

With over 200 confirmed cases of bird flu in the UK since late October 2021, the UK government said the UK is facing its largest bird flu outbreak in history. Bird flu in wild birds and commercial facilities.

But despite acknowledging the avian flu, poultry farmers are citing the current tight egg supply due to energy costs and retailers buying produce at lower prices, citing that they They argue that the problems we face are even more serious.

tighter supply

Ben Pyke, spokesman for the British Free-Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA), told the Epoch Times that egg supplies are “much tighter”.

“We cannot ignore the fact that bird flu is affecting both free-range and colony farms. [birds that don’t go outside],” He said.

Egg producers are also now reaching breaking point due to rising production costs. May, Association called on major UK retailers Raise the price of a dozen eggs in the store by 40p to save the company from bankruptcy.

Epoch Times photo
A Roman Tradition Hen photographed on February 21, 2006 at Oakwood Farm in Selkirk, Scotland. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

However, more than a third of egg producers are now considering exiting the industry because it is no longer economically viable for them to raise egg-laying hens.

Pike surveyed 157 producers over the weekend and found that 33% of them “reduced the number of hens on the farm or stopped production altogether, meaning when the flock was depleted. We have stopped production,” he said. We have just stopped production and have not ordered new flocks. ”

He added that the UK is currently about 92% self-sufficient, with retailers buying from other countries.

“Eggs are not readily available worldwide as everyone in Europe is affected by bird flu at the same time. Retailers are probably looking everywhere to get them,” he said.

“I don’t think this has ever happened before.”

Ioan Humphreys, a full-time fourth-generation farmer, told The Epoch Times that avian flu is serious but used as a “scapegoat.”

Humphries, who owns 32,000 free-range chickens in Wales, recently I posted a video on Twitter He said, “Bird flu isn’t the main reason we’re running out of eggs. Supermarkets are doing their thing again.”

“We are fully aware and we are losing a lot of chickens, but that is not the biggest factor in the egg shortage.

Humphries said supermarkets are not paying farmers for their eggs, even though they have raised prices for consumers. Despite the rising cost of producing feed, power and the price of new birds, the price increases have not reached farmers.

“Eight million fewer for the next production cycle, just under eight million eggs per day, and no British eggs,” he said.

“I don’t think this has ever happened before. Farmers leave coops empty. They don’t just keep chickens in coops,” he added.

Andrew Opie, food and sustainability director for the British Retail Consortium, a British trade association, told the Epoch Times in an email. Customer impact. ”

“In addition, retailers have established long-term relationships with their suppliers and know how important it is for customers and businesses to maintain these. and recognizes the need to pay egg farmers sustainable prices, but there are constraints on how much additional costs can be passed on to consumers during the cost of living crisis,” he added. I got

PA Media contributed to this report.

Owen Evans


Owen Evans is a UK-based journalist with a particular interest in civil liberties and free speech, covering stories from a wide variety of countries.