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This extensive web page covers all aspects of meat chicken farming, from the arrival of the one-day old chicks from the hatchery at the farm to when the birds reach the market weight.

The various sections can be accessed directly by clicking on the relevant heading in the listing below: Most commercial meat chicken farms are intensive, highly mechanised operations that occupy relatively small areas compared with other forms of farming. rice hulls, wood shavings) floors in large poultry sheds.

Meat chickens are farmed in large open poultry houses, usually refered to as ‘sheds’, ‘houses’ or barns, but sometines as ‘units’.

The larger sheds can contain up to 60,000 broiler chickens. A typical new farm would house approximately 320,000 chickens, with eight sheds holding approximately 40,000 chickens/each.

Traditionally, broiler sheds in Australia have been ‘naturally ventilated’, with the sides of the shed open to fresh air.

The farmer aims to maintain shed temperatures within this range, although in sheds of large birds towards the end of grow-out, the temperature may be reduced.

Shed temperature and humidity can be managed by altering ventilation and using stirring fans and water mists.

This practice may stimulate better digestion, improve bone strength and prevent birds from becoming over fat.

For further information on what chickens are fed, see Feed.

On arrival at the broiler farm, day-old chicks are placed onto the floor of the shed, where they are initially confined to an area of between a half to one third of the total shed area (the ‘brooding area’) and given supplementary heating from gas heaters or heat lamps.

This is called brooding and the heaters are referred to as brooders.

For the first two days of the flock’s life, the shed temperature is held at 31 - 32ºC, the optimum temperature for baby chick comfort, health and survival.

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