Registration of laying hen establishments

EU rules require all laying hen establishments (production sites) with 350 or more laying hens to be registered and allocated a distinguishing number. If they are not registered, the eggs produced are not allowed to be marketed for human consumption.

Who does this regulation apply too?

This EU regulation does not apply to establishments with fewer than 350 Laying Hens or with Breeding Hens, however, separate EU Egg Marketing regulations require all egg producers to be given a distinguishing number if the eggs are graded and sold as Class A (for example to shops or bakeries), and this number must be stamped on the eggs.

A producer with fewer than 350 hens, or a breeder with surplus hatching eggs, who wishes to market the eggs as Class A must therefore also register their production site with the Department to obtain a unique distinguishing number to stamp on eggs.

The EU Egg Marketing regulations also require an egg producer with more than 50 hens - who sells their eggs at a local market, to obtain a producer number for stamping on eggs. Therefore they must also register their egg production site with the Department.

The distinguishing number stamped on eggs enables eggs to be traced when necessary and also indicates the method of production.  It is made up of:

  • a digit indicating the farming method (0-Organic, 1 – Free Range, 2-Barn, 3-Cage)
  • the code of the Member State (UK) and
  • a unique production site identification number (preceded by 9- in Northern Ireland)

Registration of laying hens regulations

EU Regulations

Northern Ireland Regulations

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