By John Harrison
If, like many ‘backyard chicken keepers’ you get hooked and decide to have a few more hens. The the surplus eggs can start to become a real problem! 5 hens could easily donate 1,250 or more eggs a year. Since they lay less in the winter, this means some weeks you’ll be looking at nearly 3 dozen eggs.
There are ways to store the surplus eggs for your own consumption later, but an average family of 4 may still have a couple of dozen eggs over. So what to do?
Sell them, of course. You’re not going to make a fortune, but you will make a contribution to your feed costs.
To be clear, we’re talking about selling surplus eggs here, not commercial production. As your production goes up to business levels, the regulatory burden grows but for a few home produced eggs, you rely on an exception technically known as Farm Gate Sales.
Farm Gate Sales of Eggs
With farm gate sales of eggs (for sake of argument, your house is the farm here) there are still some rules that you need to follow.
Ungraded (Not Sized) Eggs.
The eggs cannot be split into sizes or quality grades. You might choose to keep the largest and smallest for yourself and just offer the rest. Do remember that people buying eggs from the farm gate may well like different sizes in one box. It can be very useful when cooking to be able to use a small egg or a large one, depending on the recipe.
The eggs you offer should be clean, but not washed. Most buyers of farm eggs will not be too bothered by a spot of poo on the egg shell but technically you should reserve those for your own use.
The egg shells should not be damaged or cracked. A cracked egg has its protection against microbes damaged and should be reserved for your own use and used as quickly as possible, preferably within a day or two of laying.
Freshness & Best Before Dates
You need to display a “Best Before Date” to comply with the law. Usually eggs are expected to last up to four weeks from the date of laying and you should (hopefully) be selling them within a day or two of lay. If you keep your excess eggs in boxes, use some system to date order them so you never accidentally sell old eggs,
To comply with the law a sign saying “Best Before Three Weeks from Date of Purchase” will keep you legal.
Other Methods of Selling Eggs
If you sell your eggs by any other method, even as a backyard hen keeper, other legal rules apply. See Small Scale Egg Sales
Marketing – Getting Customers for Your Eggs
One thing many backyard chicken keepers are not good at is marketing their product. For some help on selling your eggs see Marketing Your Eggs.
There’s more information on the DEFRA web site
Further Articles All About Eggs
- Araucana Egg Shell Colour & Genetics
- Build Your Own Artificial Lighting System for Winter Egg Production
- Changing Egg Yolk Colour with Feeding
- Double Yolk Eggs – What Causes Double Yolk Eggs?
- Egg Shell Colour Chart by Breed of Hen
- Egg Structure – The Structure of an Egg
- Eggs from Different Species
- Know Your Eggs? – Egg Descriptions Explained
- Marketing Your Surplus Eggs – How to Sell Your Eggs
- Nutritional Value of Eggs – Are Free Range Eggs Better for You?
- Pale Eggs – Egg Shell Colour
- Problems With Eggs – Yolks & Whites
- Saving Money – Economics of Home Produced Eggs
- Selling Your Surplus Eggs at Markets
- Selling Your Surplus Eggs from Home – Farm Gate Egg Sales
- Thin Eggshells – Causes & Cures
- What to do with Surplus Eggs? How to Store Eggs