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I heard you keep chickens in tiny cages where they can barely move.
I’ve read that “broiler” chickens get so big that they become crippled by their own weight. Is this true?
I heard that chicken nuggets and burgers are made from old birds that can’t lay eggs anymore – this is called spent fowl. How do I know if I am purchasing this product?
Do you cut chickens’ beaks off so they can’t peck each other?
How many chickens are contaminated with Salmonella each year? - Ashley V, BC
Hi Ashley, thanks for your question. Like humans, chickens have different kinds of naturally occurring bacteria in their gut. In chickens, one of those types of bacteria is called Salmonella. People who eat food contaminated by certain strains of Salmonella can become ill with salmonellosis—although, not all Salmonella will make you sick. Poultry processing plants do a lot of work to prevent Salmonella contamination of chicken meat, but nothing can ever be 100 per cent effective. Luckily, any Salmonella bacteria that might have transferred onto raw chicken meat is killed when chicken is cooked properly. You can find more information on Salmonella and salmonellosis on the Public Heath Agency of Canada’s website. For resources on preparing, cooking and storing chicken safely, check out our easy guide to Chicken and Food Safety, and browse our Chicken School for more food safety information.
What kinds of chickens are raised for their meat in Canada? - James P, BC
The majority of chickens raised for their meat in Canada are cross breeds based on the Plymouth White Rock and the Cornish White. Some specialty breeds such as Silkies and Taiwanese Chickens are also raised for their meat.
What do chickens eat? - Genevieve C, ON
Chickens in Canada eat a feed consisting of grain, grain by-products and protein-producing seeds (such as meal made from canola and soybeans). A small amount of other protein is added, such as bone meal and vegetable fats, as well as a small amount of vitamins and minerals. Tip: Although only some producers label their chicken meat as “grain-fed,” ALL chicken available in Canada is grain-fed!
How are chickens fed? How do they drink water? - Trevor L, ON
Hi Trevor, thanks for your question. Chickens are free to get their own food and water. Feeders and water lines are installed in the barns so they can access water and food whenever they are hungry and thirsty.
How old are chickens when they go to market? - Jeff M, QC
Most chickens are 6-8 weeks old when they go to market. However, in some cases, (such as organic chickens and roasters) birds are raised for a few extra weeks. For more information about how chickens get from farm to table see The Journey Of A Chicken.
How long does it take for a chicken egg to hatch?
It takes 21 days for a chick to hatch from an egg. Chicks are delivered to the farm from the hatchery, usually the same day they are hatched.
How big do the chickens get?
Most chickens are ready for market when they weigh around 2 kg. It takes 38-40 days for chickens to reach this weight. You may see chickens in other sizes too. A Cornish hen weighs between 1 and 1.1 kg at live weight and is ready for market in 28 days. And a roaster, which is grown in 50 days, weighs about 3 kg.