Most people are at least three generations removed from the farm, which means the average person doesn’t have first-hand knowledge of what life on a farm is like – for either farmers or the animals they care for. Because of this, many of the ideas of what happens on a farm come either from romanticized images on film or TV, or worrisome images and stories told out online and in the media. We know that questions about animal welfare are top of mind as people want to know more than just that the food they purchase is safe for them – they want to know it was raised humanely and sustainably.
To help you get a better sense of what life is really like for farm animals, we invite you to see what a day in the life is like for a broiler chicken (a chicken raised for meat). Learn why we raise chickens the way we do, the thought and research that goes into their housing, food, breeding, and medical care, and how as farmers, veterinarians, and nutritionists, we’re always working to do better.
Broiler chickens – chickens raised for meat – are hatched at a “hatchery,” and within hours they’ll arrive at the farm where they’ll be raised until they’re ready to leave the farm and go to market. The average broiler chicken spends about seven weeks on the farm. Providing a great start in those first days are crucial to ensure they have the best finish when they reach your grocery store shelves and kitchen tables. Learn about all that goes into bringing 25,000 day-old chicks into a house…from transportation to heating to safety and feeding.
Farmers keep chickens safe from predators and the elements, but they also work to keep them safe from introduction to disease through advanced biosecurity measures. Especially during the first few weeks of life, chickens need extra care and attention to stay healthy and grow well. See how farmers manage the health of chickens – how they’re fed, how temperatures are controlled, and what measures are taken to ensure biosecurity in the houses.
Broiler chickens aren’t raised in cages – they’re raised in large, open barns called “growout houses.” These houses provide precise climate control for each stage of a chicken’s life –warmer when they’re smaller and less able to regulate their body temperature, and cooler as they grow bigger and “feather out.” Ventilation and temperature control is key when raising chickens – see how chicken farmers manage both to keep chickens healthy and comfortable.
Just like any other animal, chickens’ dietary needs change as they grow. Working with expert poultry nutritionists, we specially blend feed that changes with the chickens as they grow, ensuring they’re getting the proper mix of nutrients for each stage of their life.
What’s a chicken farmer’s number one priority? Maintaining the health of their chicken flock. Chicken farmers regularly inspect the birds to make sure they’re thriving. Find out how the health of chicken flocks is monitored and maintained on a daily basis.
Broiler chickens take about seven weeks to reach market weight. Once they’ve reached the proper size and weight, trained workers arrive to catch – by hand – all 25,000 chickens, which will then head off to the processing plant. See how this process works and learn what farmers do to reset the houses for the next flock of chickens.