Overcrowded and unnatural
As farms become increasingly industrialized to fuel the growing global demand for chicken meat, chickens are bred to grow up to three times as fast as traditional breeds in a short space of time. This comes at an enormous cost to their welfare.
An industrial chicken shed can hold tens of thousands of birds. At the end of their short lives, the birds are so densely packed that each animal can have less floor space than an A4 piece of paper.
This extreme overcrowding makes it difficult for chickens to move or behave naturally.
Sitting and lying in waste
Litter covering the floor of an industrial chicken farm is often poor quality, so chickens spend their lives sitting or lying in their own waste.
Contact with the dirty floor can lead to painful skin lesions on the animal’s feet, legs and breasts. Ammonia in the air can cause respiratory and eye problems.
Poor conditions like these can lead to an increase in lameness and skin disease.
An industrial chicken shed can hold tens of thousands of chickens. They are packed so densely that they are often forced to sit in their own feces. Contact with the dirty floor can lead to painful skin lesions on the animal’s feet, legs and breasts. Ammonia in the air can cause respiratory and eye problems. Poor conditions like these can lead to an increase in lameness and skin disease.
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Bare and bleak, with no natural light
Most industrial chicken sheds are bare except for lines of food and water dispensers.
Chickens are unable to perform natural behaviours, such as perching, foraging, exploring and dust-bathing. These activities would normally keep them active and healthy. Without them. they can suffer both physically and psychologically.
Most factory-grown chickens spend their lives in closed sheds without natural light. This means they move less, which can lead to leg problems and even lameness.
Time for change
Huge, barren and crowded industrial farms don’t allow chickens to behave naturally. We want these birds to have a life worth living: that means more time to grow, more space, more light and more opportunities to behave like a chicken.
There is a better way. Higher-welfare indoor systems are already in use. These systems give chickens more time to grow, more space, more light and more opportunity to behave like chickens.
- The real secret chicken recipe exposed
- Suffering in numbers – the plight of chickens farmed for meat
- 10 facts you should know about factory-farmed chickens
- The brutal life of a meat chicken in Canada
- Exposing the secret suffering of chickens farmed for meat
Changing the world, together
The commitment by Tim Hortons and Burger King includes a move to chickens bred to have fewer health problems, more space for birds to move around, better lighting, improved litter quality and enrichments like perches so the chickens can express more of their natural behaviours.
Compass Group USA and Aramark, two leading food service management and support services companies, are working with suppliers to commit to healthier, slower-growing chickens.
Blogs about chicken sentience
Studies show chickens are capable of experiencing empathy, pain and stress and form complex social groups when able to behave naturally.
Did you know that chickens have their own language with around 30 different calls, each with specific meanings.