Zeagold Foods receives the chicks when they are one day old. They are immediately placed in dedicated specialist rearing accommodation where their environmental, nutritional, health and welfare needs are carefully managed.
A high degree of bio-security is in place to ensure we maintain the high health status of our flocks.
We recognise that the growth and development of our pullets is a vital part in helping to deliver a quality fresh egg and so have in place a programme of daily checks and monitoring by trained competent staff. This includes regular monitoring of the house temperature, feed and water, ventilation and chick bodyweight.
At 17 weeks the pullets are carefully transferred to their laying accommodation ready to commence egg laying at about 19 weeks.
All our laying birds are managed to the highest welfare standards and meet with the requirements of the Animal Welfare (Layer Hens) Code of Welfare 2012.
Our modern laying farms have been designed around the best practice and technology from Europe and the UK which are at the forefront of laying hen operations world wide. All of the farms also operate Risk Management Programs (RMPs) which are based on HACCP (Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points) principles. This ensures our eggs are safe, fresh and of the highest quality.
The output from our farms is well in excess of international benchmarks and our low mortality and high standards of animal welfare are the envy of other egg producers throughout the world.
The health status of the New Zealand poultry flock is the envy of many other poultry sectors across the world.
We are free from many of the major poultry diseases such as Newcastle's Disease and so have a low level of required vaccinations in place to protect our birds from viral poultry diseases. As an example, New Zealand flocks would typically have two or three vaccinations (which include protection against Salmonella) compared with up to sixteen in UK laying flocks.
Our flocks are also checked and monitored by and independent vet on a monthly basis as part of the stringent health requirements in order to export to other countries such as Singapore and Australia. We are also regularly audited by our multi national customers which include a number of Quick Service Restaurants.
We recognise that effective bio-security controls and measures are important across all points in the production chain to maintain the high health status our birds enjoy. This includes dedicated vehicle washers and wheel sprays, shower-in facilities, dedicated workwear, effective terminal hygiene and pest control and the manufacture of safe feed. All of these measures help to ensure our birds remain healthy and produce a safe, quality egg.
Grading and Packing
We operate a number of graders to grade and pack our shell eggs. We use an electronic grader called an MOBA 5000 which ensures precise weight grades are attained rather than weights being determined within a 'band', as with mechanical graders.
The MOBA also allows for more exacting detection of egg faults when the eggs travel through a 'candling' booth. This process includes a visual inspection through a candling booth where lights shine underneath the rotating eggs in a darkened booth.
This allows the operators to detect any cracks or internal defects and these eggs are able to be graded out.
Each shell eggs is electronically weighed and graded by weight. It is packed into cartons or trays depending on the customer's requirement. Our recycled packaging is made from moulded fibre which provides the best protection for shell eggs through to the end user.
Throughout this process we have quality checks and machines regularly calibrated to ensure that the eggs packed meet the required standards for freshness and are fit for purpose though our RMP obligations.
All of our sites are audited by MPI verifiers and certified to the Woolworths WQA quality program as a supplier of Progressive, Select and Home Brand eggs.
We are stringently audited on a frequent basis across all aspects of our operations.