By Yvette Tan
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
In SLC Agriventures, an egg farm, it starts with the former. “We buy ready to lay pullets. We don’t grow our own chicks. They deliver it to us at 16 weeks then we wait a couple of weeks then we have our eggs already,” says proprietor Wilson Ang.
The farm is located in San Jose, Batangas, dubbed the “Egg Basket of the Philippines.”
Ang’s father used to be an egg dealer, so going into egg farming was a natural extension of this. “I just brought it to the next level,” he says.
The farm houses close to 10,000 layers and produces around 85,000 eggs a day for institutional customers like hotels and restaurants in Manila. Laid out, their process seems simple: “We feed the chickens, they lay eggs, we bring it to the egg room, then we sort it, after sorting it, we deliver it to our different clients,” Ang says.
What isn’t included in the statement is the housing, feeding, and caring for the chickens, and the proper running of an egg farm, which includes making sure everything is spick and span all the time. Cars are sprayed with a fine disinfectant mist as they enter, and different sections require visitors to step into a footbath before entering. “We follow strict biosecurity procedures. We don’t just allow any visitor to come in and go up to the building because there’s always a risk of contamination,”Ang says. “We used to screen the people who came to our farm to prevent our chickens from getting any diseases that people may carry.”
Industry challenges usually have to do with supply—either an oversupply or a lack of it. “Weather conditions also affect the production of the chickens,” Ang says. “If it’s too cold, the chickens lay less eggs. If it’s too hot, it’s also the same. So if it suddenly rains, production will automatically go down.”
Ang has also started planting greenery in between the chicken coops. “There is a saying that if a farm is greener, then the chickens would be a little bit better; when we have a lot of trees, it brings the chickens to a higher level of productivity,” he says.
After the eggs are laid, they are collected and taken to the Egg Room, where they are sorted and packed according to size. According to Ang, all his clients require is a “clean egg,” meaning without dirt, blemish, or fly spots. “Dirty eggs are automatically removed from the production. We sell them to other markets,” he says.
Dirty eggs are a rare occurrence since Ang says that they sell almost all that they produce. “We hope to expand to other parts of Luzon if business is good. We’re looking to add more layers in a year’s time.”
Filipinos love their eggs. After all, what would tapsilog be without the itlog? Ang sees the market as a continuous opportunity. “I think the demand for eggs is growing because the population is growing and egg is still the cheapest staple,” he says. “We are expecting a big growth in the egg industry the next few years, so hopefully we can be part of that.”