Welfare

The welfare of meat chickens is important to chicken farmers, processors and consumers. The ‘National animal welfare standards for the chicken meat industry’ describes agreed industry animal welfare outcomes expected from rearing to slaughter, including transport.

There are four supporting manuals for meat chicken farming, breeder production, the hatchery and chick transport, and pick-up crews have specific guidelines and tools to help implement and record animal welfare best practice. You can download copies of the Standard and manuals from the Australian Chicken Meat Federation website.

Other schemes that include welfare are the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme Standards for Meat Chickens and the FREPA Range Care – Chicken Meat Bird Standards.

Welfare-related research projects funded by the AgriFutures Australia Chicken Meat Program include:

Chicken welfare goes hand-in-hand with chicken health and biosecurity—visit our health and biosecurity pages for more information.

You can listen to the difference in chick cheeps in Meat chicken behaviour – how do farmers use it?, see examples of chick behaviour in What’s going on here?, and read about Meat chicken behaviour – what they do and why it’s important in these articles by the Australian Chicken Meat Federation.

Another welfare-related resource is the Managing fowl behaviour: a best practice guide. This guide was developed for Australian Eggs and the layer industry, and is also relevant to meat chicken breeder flocks.

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