Also known as poultry worker and egg collector, poultry farm worker (breeder farm or egg production only), free-range egg collector, or egg collector and packer.
This profile highlights the skills and knowledge associated with the role. However, jobs will have varying responsibilities depending on level of the role and the size or type of the business.
In Britain, the poultry industry works to world-class standards and has high levels of animal welfare. There are many opportunities to work in this industry, with good training and development schemes available.
An egg collector can work on poultry farms of various sizes, and there are many different systems for hens that lay eggs; these are known as layers. Free-range systems are where birds are housed in barns, but they are free to roam outside in grass ranges.
Caged systems are where birds are managed in a controlled area to high welfare standards. They are provided with enough space for areas for nesting, feeding, littering, and bedding.
Eggs can be laid for humans to eat or are produced to hatch young chicks. These laying hens are usually kept in barns where their health and welfare can be monitored carefully.
Full-time egg collectors can work about 39 hours per week. These hours might be divided into shifts to fit with collection times. Shifts might start as early as 6am, and you sometimes be required to work evenings and weekends.
You'll work on your own initiative but report to the farm manager, production manager, or owner.
You may need your own transport to get to work.
As an egg collector your responsibilities might include:
- Collecting, grading, and packing eggs correctly
- Helping to maintain egg records to provide up-to-date information
- Working to achieve laying targets
- Monitoring bird health, behaviour, and welfare and reporting back to your manager
- Maintaining good standards in environmental practice
- Ensuring you keep personal protective equipment (PPE) clean and in good condition
- Following and meeting health and safety standards for yourself and others
- Monitoring and reporting any required repairs to buildings and machinery
To work as an egg collector, you should:
- Work with care and focus
- Work calmly, confidently, and patiently around animals
- Be able to spot and report problems
- Enjoy working in a team but also be able to work on your own initiative
- Be reliable, with good time-keeping skills
- Be able to communicate and listen well to others
- Have good problem-solving skills to complete tasks
- Be highly motivated and keen to develop skills and knowledge
The role of the egg collector is an entry point into the poultry industry, where you'll be working closely with birds. As such, you'll need some training to ensure you meet the British Poultry Training standards. Your employer can usually organise online training for you.
When you’ve completed your training, British Poultry Training keeps a record for you called a Poultry Passport. You’ll be able to access and update your Poultry Passport as you progress.
You must be aware of hygiene, health and safety to help reduce the risk of disease spread among the birds. You'll also need good observation skills so you can spot and report health issues and damage to buildings and equipment.
An excellent work ethic and timekeeping skills are essential for this role.
You can also gain experience by volunteering on a farm or smallholding.
If you live in a city or urban area, you could volunteer on a local city farm, community garden, or allotment. You can find some of these in your area on the Social Farms and Gardens website.
It’s also helpful to have a basic knowledge of poultry diseases and health issues and how to help prevent them.
As an egg collector, you’ll have the following competencies in relation to the careful collection of eggs and the health and wellbeing of the poultry in your care. You will:
- Follow correct procedures to ensure good welfare, biosecurity, and environmental practice
- Follow farm hygiene procedures to reduce the risk of disease in laying birds and eggs
- Handle eggs and birds (where required) with care and attention
- Follow farm procedures for the safe storing, moving, and transporting of eggs
- Work to correct farm procedures to achieve production targets
- Ensure the relevant health and safety standards are met
- Use the appropriate technology, machinery, and equipment
Salaries are in the region of £16,000 to £22,000 but may vary depending on your experience and the location. Hourly rates vary from £9.25 to £12 per hour.
Full-time and part-time opportunities are available.
As you gain experience and further training through the British Poultry Training initiative or the Lion Training Passport (for egg production), you could progress your role to a poultry stockperson or assistant farm manager.
The British poultry industry can provide long-term careers, and there are opportunities to work with other poultry businesses if you want to. You may decide to specialise in a specific area of the industry, such as food technology, sales and marketing, food production, breeding, or genetics.
Courses which can help you on this career path include:
Level 2 Diploma in work-based Agriculture (poultry)
Level 1 Diploma Land-based Studies Agriculture
Level 2 Technical Certificate in Agriculture
Level 3 Advanced Technical Certificate in Agriculture
TIAH Essential Skills
Our online Essential Skills modules can help you develop your skills and knowledge in a range of areas and are a great addition to your CV.