If you've got questions, click here to ask us. Ask us anything from how chicken is raised to how to prepare it best. We'll answer all your questions, and post the best ones here.
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Are antibiotics given to chickens raised for meat? - Heather P, ON
Not all chickens are given antibiotics, but when they are, it’s to help keep birds healthy, for the sake of the animal, as well as for food safety. After all, only healthy chickens pass into the food stream. Chicken Farmers of Canada supports the responsible use of antibiotics that have been approved by the Veterinary Drugs Directorate of Health Canada to ensure food safety, animal health and animal welfare. We’ve got lots of in-depth information about antibiotics on our Antibiotics page. Check it out!
Do farmers use steroids or other hormones to grow huge chickens?
Why do you continue the use of steroids in chickens when it is harmful and completely unnecessary? - David L, ON
Hi David. Thanks for your question. Actually, no steroids are used at all! Steroids (and hormones) are illegal for use in raising chicken in Canada, and have been since the 1960s. Click here for more information about how chickens are raised and how meat is labelled in Canada.
I heard hormones are used to grow chickens bigger. Is this true? - Jessica D, ON
Hi Jessica. Actually, no hormones are used in Canada at all. In fact, their use in raising chicken has been illegal since the 1960s (steroids too). For more information, see this blog post about hormones.
What kind of growth hormones are allowed to be used in Canada? - Chris B, QC
None! In fact, all hormones and steroids are illegal for use in raising chickens in Canada. For more information, see this blog post about hormones.
I’ve read that “broiler” chickens get so big that they become crippled by their own weight. Is this true? - Sophie B, BC
No, Sophie, it’s not true. A “broiler” chicken simply means a chicken that’s raised for meat, and all chickens raised in Canada only reach a natural healthy weight. It would be impossible for a chicken to get so big that it would become crippled by its own weight because chickens raised in Canada are free to eat and drink on their own. You can learn more about the Chicken Farmers of Canada’s commitment to animal care in our Animal Care Program.
Is it true that to de-feather a chicken it’s scalded with hot water while it’s still conscious?! - Claire B, MB
No, Claire, it’s not true. Chickens are processed in a humane way. When the chickens arrive at the processing plants, they are anesthetized with a mild electric current that makes the birds insensitive to pain. Next, the anesthetized birds are passed by a cutting blade that severs the carotid and/or jugular arteries. This whole process takes place in seconds. Later in the process, the carcass is immersed in hot water, and machines with rubber contacts are used to rub the feathers off. For more information about animal care and how Canadian chicken meat gets from farm to table, see The Journey Of A Chicken.
Is it true that fast food chicken is genetically engineered? - Ryan A, ON
No, Ryan, it’s not true. The genetic engineering of chicken isn’t permitted in Canada (that means no “Frankenchickens” either).
What additives are in the chicken meat available in Canada? - David H, ON
None! Fresh, raw chicken meat is additive-free. However, some chicken products (such as chicken labelled “seasoned") could include additives. This is because the word “seasoned” means the meat has been processed using a mixture of salt, water and/or sodium phosphate to allow the product to retain some of its moisture when cooked (sometimes flavouring is added too). Single ingredient meat products, like boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thighs, etc. will have no ingredient lists, no mention of “seasoning,” and therefore, no additives.