However, the layer poultry farming (raising chicken for egg production) process is rather meticulous and must not be taken lightly right from day-old baby chicks as any errors in the process would bring with it a number of illnesses from deadly poultry-related diseases.
Hence, it is not surprising that high quality and level of poultry care is a priority for QL Eco Farm Sdn Bhd at its breeding farm in Mukim Gali here, which has a maximum production capacity of nearly one million chicken eggs.
Its administration executive, Nasharuddin Matlod (repeat: Matlod) said the 7.2-hectare farm has 16 chicken coops using state-of-the-art technology from the Netherlands, each of which could house about 57,000 chickens.
"The egg-breeding chickens are from Hisex Brown breed that produce high-quality and high-resistant eggs. A hen can produce one egg a day with the first egg produced at the age of 17 weeks.
"However, the eggs are not for sale as they are too small. The right size eggs ready for sale are produced by chickens that are 20 weeks of age and their productivity continues until they are aged between 56 and 70 weeks before they are ‘retired’," he told Bernama.
Nasharuddin said the egg-picking process begins as early as 8am until about 3pm, depending on the hen laying productivity, with the daily estimated egg production of about 93-97 per cent of the number of chickens in each coop.
He said the eggs would be taken to the company’s egg factory in Jalan Tras here for grading and packing purposes before being consigned to the supermarkets in the East Coast states, as well as Mersing, Johor.
"Egg-breeding chickens need to be taken care of not only healthwise but also to ensure that they are not in distress in the coops. If they are stressed, they may not lay eggs or the eggs produced may not meet the standards set.
"As the process of transferring egg-breeding chickens or so-called DOY (day of chick) is sensitive, only those, who are well versed in the intricacies of rearing chickens, are allowed to be at the chicken coops during this period," he said.
Nasharuddin said besides selling the eggs and 'retired' egg-breeding chicken, the company also generates income from the production of about 40 tonnes of poultry manure daily from its mill which is two kilometres from the main coop.
QL Eco Farm now has 224 employees, who are mostly Raub's residents, of whom 70 are working at the egg factory which is about 30 minutes from the farm.
Since the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) on May 18, eggs have been one of the item most frequently provided to those who were affected by the travel restrictions and according to Nasharuddin, demand for eggs has increased by up to 50 per cent.
“We had to reject some orders due to transportation problems as most lorries already had their own delivery schedules to the supermarkets. To address this issue, we’ve sought payment upon delivery (COD) and did not expect the response to be so good.
"We’ve advertised our products on social media through Facebook and WhatsApp groups. Consumers need only to order eggs a day before for delivery areas around western Pahang, namely Raub, Lipis and Bentong," he said.
Bernama was later given an exclusive look inside QL Eco Farm’s egg factory and learned a few things Malaysians have taken for granted or do not know how they got their eggs.
Factory operations executive Paul Chia Poh Tai said once the eggs were unloaded from the lorries, they underwent a grading process using machines where each egg passed through a weighing machine to determine whether it belongs to grades A, B, C or D.
“Before that, the eggs sorted by the machine have to pass through the 'eagle eyes' of two workers who efficiently isolated cracked eggs and those that did not meet the specified quality such as being too small, white or blemished.
"Over 10 per cent of the eggs produced were classified under grade A, while the majority fell into the B and C size categories and the smallest percentage is sorted into jumbo or AAA category eggs.
"Of course, we cannot expect the egg production here to be of equal quantity to the number of eggs received from the farm, as one per cent of the eggs are expected to be damaged or cracked during the grading process," he said.
Chia said the eggs were delivered in the morning and afternoon every day and to maintain its quality, the final products that had been packed in the 'nest' could only be stored for only a few days at most at the factory before being dispatched to the supermarkets.