There were 13.06 million poultry on agricultural holdings in Scotland in June 2015. Numbers, which are only available since 1946, increased in the 1970s, and have fluctuated since then, generally between 12 million and 15 million.
Chart 5.23: Number of poultry in Scotland 1946-2015
Chart 5.23 shows that 71 per cent of poultry were located in the South East of Scotland, in Tayside, Scottish Borders, Fife and Lothians, with each sub-region accounting for between 16 per cent and 21 per cent of the Scottish total.
The poultry sector is highly concentrated. In June 2015, two per cent of poultry holdings accounted for 98 per cent of fowls laying eggs for eating (136 holdings with more than 1,000 fowls for laying eggs for eating, with 6.02 million birds). Conversely, 80 per cent of holdings with fowls for laying eggs accounted for just 0.6 per cent of birds (4,874 holdings with fewer than 20 laying fowls, with 37,700 between them).
There was also a similar pattern for breeding fowls, with four per cent of holdings accounting for 91 per cent of the 1.06 million breeding fowls in Scotland (35 holdings with 968,000 birds).
5.5.3 Income from poultry ( Table A6)
Poultry accounted for about two per cent of output from farming. The 2015 value of £62 million shows an overall fall of 24 per cent over the past ten years. However, this fall has taken place only in the last two years. From 2007 to 2013 there were increases nearly every year, and by 2013 the value was 45 per cent greater than in 2005, due to a combination of higher prices and an increased volume of meat production.
Poultry production ( chart 5.2) decreased steadily between 2005 and 2008, from 162,000 tonnes in 2005 to 128,000 tonnes in 2008 (a 21 per cent fall). This was followed by marginal increases in most years until 2012. Falls in 2013 to 2015 have seen the overall poultry production levels decrease to its lowest level over the decade, 43 per cent down on 2005. Chart 5.24 shows a similar pattern solely for broilers.
Chart 5.24: Broiler production and average price, 2005-2015
Prices have increased by 50 per cent between 2005 and 2015, up from an average of £0.52 per kg in 2005 to £0.78 per kg in 2015. There have been price increases in almost every year from 2005 to 2013; the rise between 2012 and 2013 was around nine per cent, with an 11 per cent decrease in 2014 and a nine per cent fall in 2015.
5.5.4 Income from eggs ( Tables A6)
Chart 5.25: Income from eggs, 2005-2015
Income from eggs was estimated at £93 million in 2015. The value has almost trebled since 2005.
Egg production has increased steadily between 2005 and 2015, by 529 million eggs (63 per cent). Between 2014 and 2015 alone there was an increase of almost 200 million eggs (17 per cent).
The value of eggs is now estimated to be greater than poultry-meat, mirroring the fact that there are now more layers than broilers in Scotland.
Chart 5.26: Eggs for food - production and average price 2005 to 2015
Since 2005, prices have risen from 34p per dozen to 63p per dozen (82 per cent) for eggs produced in laying cages and from 68p per dozen to 96p per dozen (42 per cent) for free range eggs.
Chart 5.27: Egg production method, 2005-2015
*data on organic not collected prior to 2006
Chart 5.27 shows the change in the method used to produce these eggs. In 2005 nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) of all eggs were produced in laying cages, whereas in 2015 there was a more equal split, with laying cages accounting for 48 per cent and free range for 45 per cent. In 2011 the proportion in laying cages fell to 34 per cent.