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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




With the exception of small quantities of frozen egg pulp exported to the United Kingdom, the production of eggs and table poultry in New Zealand is entirely for the home market. Poultry production is confined mainly to eggs and table birds, a high proportion of the latter being laying birds at the end of their productive life. Specialised table poultry production has started, however, and is developing rapidly. There is also some raising of ducks for eggs or table purposes, and the rearing of turkeys for the Christmas trade.

Although a substantial proportion of the total eggs in shell consumed by the public is produced mainly by household poultry keepers, commercial poultry farmers produce most of the eggs sold by retailers. These larger producers market their eggs through egg floors, and so distribute them to retailers. Commercial poultry farmers breed and rear most of the birds in household and sideline flocks. Though the number of commercial poultry flocks is not large, their influence on the pattern of poultry production is most important.

The development of poultry production has been somewhat slow until recent years, but proportionate to the population increase. In 1963–64 New Zealanders bought nearly 28,400,000 dozen eggs, according to the annual report of the Poultry Board, and this figure compared with the sales of 10 years ago showed an increase of 140 per cent in that period.

Numbers of Poultry (Including Fowls, Ducks, Turkeys, and Geese)
1906 3,187,669 3·6 birds per head of population
1916 3,465,638 3·2 birds per head of population
1926 3,781,145 2·8 birds per head of population
1936 3,911,715 2·6 birds per head of population
1951 4,199,590 2·2 birds per head of population
1956 4,485,571 2·1 birds per head of population
1961 4,525,397 1·9 birds per head of population
Proportions of Types of Poultry, 1956 and 1961
Fowls Ducks Geese Turkeys
4,160,424 210,718 60,938 53,491
4,183,563 202,245 73,457 66,132

(The figures quoted above are obtained whenever a population census is taken.)


Frederick Christopher Bobby, N.D.A., N.D.P. (1898–1962), late Chief Advisory Officer (Poultry), Department of Agriculture.