Chickens in Different Farming Systems Can Have More Room (lower stocking densities)

Higher welfare (alternative) systems. Chickens in different farming systems can have more room (lower stocking densities) and area unit usually from slower growing breeds, slaughtered at AN older age than quick growing breeds. The surroundings may also be increased, for instance with indoor enrichment and/or with an outside space.

In the EU, solely alittle proportion of economic broilers area unit reared in different systems. In the USA, not up to I Chronicles of chickens area unit raised as ‘free-range’ (the term is employed if chickens have access to the outside for a minimum of some a part of the day)


Higher welfare indoor

Higher welfare indoor includes perches, bails of straw to improve foraging and natural light

In these systems, chickens area unit unbroken inside however they need enrichment ,more space, natural lightweight and area unit of breeds of intermediate or slower growth rates as compared to intensive breeds with quicker growth rates. this enables birds to precise a lot of of their natural behaviours.
For instance, within the United Kingdom the RSPCA Freedom food label outlines welfare standards24 stipulating a most stocking density of thirty kg/m2 and a rate of growth that has to not exceed 45g/day.


Free range

Popholes allow free range birds access to the range. Bales of straw in the shed help provide enrichment

Chickens have access to an outside vary throughout the daytime for a minimum of half their life and also the birds used area unit usually slower growing breeds. The housing provided is either a set shed or a mobile house that may be stirred round the pasture. Popholes permit access to the vary. at midnight the hens come back within for defense from predators. Chickens use a variety a lot of if it’s of excellent quality (e.g. with presence of canopy within the style of trees, bushes or hedges or with artificial shelters).

Traditional free range: in these systems, the chickens are usually of slower growing, more traditional breeds and they will live longer than intensively reared chickens. An example of these is Label Rouge broilers in France which are slow growing hardy breeds with golden or black feathers which have been selected for the quality of their meat. Capons: These are male birds that are castrated at an early age to allow them to become fatter than a normal male bird. It is performed without any pain relief and requires cutting into the abdomen to access the testes. This will cause extreme pain to the bird. While it is banned in the EU, traditional farming systems use a Derogation for traditional practices to maintain this practice, such as Label Rouge.


Organic hens area unit free vary, they must additionally use slower growing chicken breeds and usually have a reduced stocking density.

EU organic standards stipulate:

Chickens ought to either be reared till they reach the minimum slaughter age of eighty one days alternatively shall come back from slow-growing chicken breeds (also reared till eighty one days of age)26.
Maximum stocking density is twenty one kilo per square meter within the chicken shed and a minimum of four per square meter per bird outside. Higher stocking densities area unit permissible (16 birds per square meter or up to thirty kilo per square meter within, plus 2.5 per square meter per bird outside) if the chickens area unit unbroken in tiny mobile homes which permit easy accessibility to the outside.

Organic chickens ought to have access to AN outside space for a minimum of one third of their life. The outside vary ought to be primarily coated with vegetation.


Catching and Transport

When broilers reach market weight, they’re caught, place into transport crates and transported to a shambles. Before transport broilers area unit typically empty food for many hours.
The most common technique of catching is manually by groups of catchers, UN agency acquire the birds and carry them inverted and by one or by 2 legs to place them in crates for transport. A a lot of light technique of is wherever birds area unit carried upright in pairs. machine-driven gather strategies additionally exist. These area unit machines with long, rotating rubber fingers that collect the birds onto a transport belt that then conveys the broilers into the drawers of a transport instrumentality system.


The transport compartments area unit place onto trucks for transport. fashionable poultry transport trucks area unit equipped with sails on the aspect to safeguard the animals from adverse climate throughout transport28. Journey period is a crucial risk issue for deaths ensuing from thermal stress throughout transport. Journeys of over four hours represent a larger risk to welfare from heat or cold stress than shorter journeys29. Driver behaviour, driving vogue and road kind have a bearing on transported animals. sturdy vibration and quick accelerations area unit dislike to broiler chickens.

On arrival at the slaughter house the chickens unremarkably wait in their transport compartments in an exceedingly lairage space before being far from their transport units. The processes of catching, crating and transport will cause Injuries and stress, resulting in the deaths of many birds upon arrival at the shambles.



The most common strategies for beautiful and stun/killing poultry area unit electrical and gas methods30. beautiful is practiced so as to render birds unconscious and insensible, and to immobilize them before slaughter.

Electrical beautiful

Chickens area unit adorned inverted on metal shackles by their legs and so shocked victimization AN electrified water-bath system before they’re killed. The animals area unit then killed by machine-driven knife move the throat and resultant injury (exsanguination). If their throats miss the cutter they’re cut manual by a employee more down the slaughter line.

Gas beautiful

Controlled Atmosphere beautiful (otherwise called gas stunning): birds in transport crates area unit sent through a tunnel stuffed with increasing concentrations of carbonic acid gas, inert gases (argon or nitrogen), or a combination of those gases. The gas or gases induce state of mind, before the birds area unit survived shackles, whereas insensible, and sent to the killing machine for slaughter.

Controlled Atmosphere Killing (CAK): birds area unit exposed to deadly concentrations of gases long enough that they’re really killed, instead of shocked (to avoid the chance that birds regain consciousness once exiting the aerosolised atmosphere). carbonic acid gas depresses the central nervous systems directly and produces fast state of mind. However, carbonic acid gas is dislike to chickens (usually if levels area unit higher than 20%). Inhalation of the inert gases (argon and nitrogen) is assumed to be painless, however once indrawn in high concentrations, they cause chemical element deprivation within the body, resulting in death.

Bi-phasic CO2: a more recent gas beautiful technique uses carbonic acid gas in 2 phases (biphasic carbon dioxide) to kill poultry. the primary part containing up to forty you rather than carbonic acid gas (only moderately dislike to chickens), renders the birds unconscious, the second part follows with deadly carbonic acid gas levels.


Controlled slow decompression

LAPS: Another recent technology that has been developed within the USA is Low air pressure System (LAPS). LAPS killing mimics the physiological effects of ascending to high altitudes by mistreatment controlled slow decompression, that permits the body of the bird to regulate to changes in pressure and so lose consciousness (from an absence of oxygen) with marginal discomfort31. In the US, the tactic has obtained a ‘no-objection’ ruling by the u. s. Department of Agriculture’s workplace of recent Technology and it’s been in use in a very business slaughter house since 2011.

Religious slaughter

According to Halal, Qurrbani/Udhia (Muslim) and Shechita (Jewish) slaughter laws, associate animal must be slaughtered while not previous gorgeous. In the EU, the Slaughter Regulation states that gorgeous is required to induce an absence of consciousness and sensibility, but the EU conjointly respects the liberty of religion33. The Regulation so permits bound ‘religious rites’ resembling slaughter while not gorgeous, but it needs associate correct cut of the throat with a pointy knife to minimise suffering and therefore the slaughter must manifest itself in associate formally regulated butchery.


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