Bird Bros announces transition to barn eggs

Published On: 30 May 2024

Bird Bros is implementing the cage-free programme to strengthen its range of higher welfare products for its customers

Bird Bros has announced it will phase out colony cage egg production by 2028 as part of a new multi-million-pound strategy.

The British Lion accredited egg producer will phase out colony cage egg production at its Sunny Farm headquarters in Bedfordshire over the next five years in line with its Vision 2028 plan.

The move marks a major strategic shift for the family-owned business, which has been producing eggs at its Sunny Farm headquarters in Bedfordshire since 1969. Currently, the business supplies over four million eggs a week to retailers, wholesalers, and food service businesses across the UK.

Bird Bros is implementing the cage-free programme to strengthen its range of higher welfare products for its customers. The move represents a significant investment as the company moves to barn egg production, with the first Bird Bros barn eggs set to hit the market towards the end of 2024.

Bird Bros will continue to supply substantial free range egg production from both its company owned and contracted producer arrangements.

Stuart Bird, Production Director at Bird Bros, said: “There is an increasing number of barn systems operating successfully across the UK and we can see the benefits this model provides. The UK egg market is evolving rapidly, and we know that as we look to the future, barn eggs will have a significant role to play. We want to be among those leading the charge in moving away from colony cage egg production.”

Barn eggs are laid by hens that are housed in large & open, climate-controlled sheds without cages. The hens can roam freely within the shed, socialising, and perching, without the threat of outdoor predators or exposure to the elements.

The model is common across Europe, especially in locations where outdoor conditions and temperatures may be detrimental to hen welfare. Stocking densities are improved significantly compared with enriched-colony production methods and mirror the levels that free-range birds experience when enclosed at night.

Matthew Bird, Commercial Director at Bird Bros, said: “Our Vision 2028 strategy plots a bold new direction for the business which we are all really enthused by. Having been a significant player in the egg production industry for more than 55 years, we understand how important it is to remain agile and forward thinking to thrive as a successful business.

“While many of the major grocers will be ending sales of enriched colony eggs by the end of 2025, our decision to invest significantly in barn egg production has been driven by our desire to improve hen welfare and meet the evolving requirements of our broad customer base.

“There will be a market for value-focussed eggs with strong animal welfare credentials, as well as the free-range produced eggs we provide. With our customer base encompassing many different channels, we see a huge opportunity for barn eggs, and it is the key driver behind our decision to move decisively into barn egg production.”

Tesco, ASDA, Aldi, and Lidl have all announced plans to end the sale of eggs from caged hens in UK stores by 2025.