February 10, 2014
Hot weather causes Australia's egg production to decline
Australian egg farmers are in despair over a significant decline in the number of eggs being produced caused by January's sizzling heat wave.
Victorian Farmers Federation Egg Group president Meg Parkinson said that a reduction of up to 15% was fairly normal over a hot summer and the bird flu outbreak before Christmas in New South Wales also meant 400,000 chooks and 200,000 pullets were out of the system.
Parkinson said chickens lost some weight during hot weather as they ate and drank less, so in addition to fewer eggs being laid, the eggs could be smaller.
Major suppliers including Coles, Woolworths and Ryan's IGA have assured customers there are plenty of eggs available.
Family Homestead managing director Vesna Luketic said their production costs had shot up, while egg production had dropped considerably at her farm in Myrniong, which houses 15,000 free-range chickens.
Luketic has been forced to change her farming practices to respond to the hot weather, by applying reflective paint to sheds, turning on misters and altering the chickens' food rations.