What Is: Broiler Chicken?

Chicken that are reared for meat (rather than for eggs) are called broiler chicken.

The majority of the chicken meat production trade is fulfilled by broiler farming.

Modern broiler chicken strains have been bred to exhibit the most favourable physical characteristics, to satisfy consumer expectation.

Such popular broiler breeds include Cobb 500.

Outline process of farming broiler chicken

Broiler farming involves:

  • Order broiler chicks from the hatchery & they arrive as 1 day old.
  • They are introduced into the broiler brooding house and settled into their growing routine.
  • Food, lighting, air, water, space, sanitation are the key ingredients to keeping a healthy flock.
  • Birds are weighed and monitored for signs of good/bad health.
  • Mortality rates are observed and dead birds removed with haste, and immediately destroyed.
  • Close daily contact between stockman and birds will reveal any trouble that is needed to be addressed.
  • Poultry house equipment is continuously adjusted to meet the bird’s needs like height of the drinkers for example.
  • Daily broiler records are kept by the farm manager to ensure accountability for hitting growth targets at time of going to market.
  • For breeds such as Cobb 500, the final market weight is roughly 2.25kg LIVE weight. Birds usually reach this at 6-7 weeks of age.
  • At the time of culling, birds are caught and packed up into crates for either transport or on-site processing.
  • When birds are killed, by-products are often retained for sale, like chicken feet, liver, gizzards etc.
  • Once the carcasses are dressed, they are weighed, packaged and stored for delivery to market.
  • Meanwhile, the broiler house is cleaned and disinfected to receive a new batch of birds.
  • Usually there is a 2 week waiting period between batches to allow for minimising of cross infection.

This is a simple round up of broiler chicken and their journey in the poultry farming value chain.

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By Temi Cole
Temi Cole

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