Knowledgebase > Broiler (Meat) Chickens

Broiler (Meat) Chickens

Last updated 13 October 2017

Meat chickens (also known as broilers) live a very controlled, short life.

In the year June 2012, 551 million chickens were slaughtered in Australia (1). Chickens are the largest number of intensively farmed animals in Australia and also have the shortest life of all animals kept in intensive meat production.

In Australia, meat chickens in total confinement systems are farmed in large sheds. Shed sizes vary, but a typical new shed is 150 metres long and 15 metres wide and crams in around 40,000 chickens. The largest sheds can hold up to 60,000 broiler (meat) chickens.

There may be between 3 and 10 sheds on one property. A typical new intensive system holds approximately 320,000 chickens, with eight sheds each holding approximately 40,000 chickens (2).

Chickens are slaughtered between 6-8 weeks of age at around 3kgs. Normally it would take a chicken 96 days to reach 2kgs. Now, with the use of selective breeding combined with artificial lighting, overcrowding and drug use to accelerate rapid growth, chickens can reach this weight in just 35 days (2).

Same species feeding is common and completely unregulated in Australia (3). That is, dead birds are collected, rendered and added to feed that is given to chickens to eat. Other animals that could be in the feed include pigs and turkeys (2). The practice of using slaughterhouse waste and deceased animals in feed mixes was implicated in the development of the prion disease Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or Mad Cow's Disease which can affect humans who eat the meat (4).

Animal Liberation (

Articles within this section Last updated
Rapid Growth 13 October 2017
Causes of Rapid Growth 13 October 2017
Catching / Crating & Slaughter 13 October 2017
Information from Animal Liberation's 2011 Investigation 13 October 2017
Serious Welfare Concerns 13 October 2017
References 12 October 2017

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