Chickens bread for meat (broilers)
Most chickens sold for consumption in Australia, are nominally called "Broilers", and the birds are reared to about 56-60 days of age before being transported for processing. Processing is done via an automated system, with all production done in accordance with very strictly controlled Government regulations. This covers plant hygiene, quality assurance, humane handling and regular inspections by State authorities.
Animal Welfare and Farming Guidelines
All Broiler chickens grown, are in accordance with the latest Australian Meat Chicken Farming Guidelines, and comply with the latest edition of the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals/Domestic Poultry. No growth hormones or steroids are given to chickens at any time.
Australian meat chickens are not kept in cages (as they often are in many overseas countries). Instead, they are raised in large sheds that are environmentally controlled and in which they are free to roam around.
Poultry Feed from all the leading Stock feed Suppliers in Australia, are sourced from suppliers who endeavour to source non-GM ingredients for use in Australian chicken diets.
Antibiotics are used in feed only when necessary to prevent or treat a clinical disease. If antibiotics are used they are approved for Poultry by the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), which are the regulatory authority governing conditions of the use of antibiotics in Australia.
The industry has adopted an antibiotics policy which sets out the responsible use of antibiotics that it advocates, and is strictly regulated and administered under government regulations, so that there is sufficient time for any residue to be eliminated. Given that no residues have ever been found in chicken meat, even people with allergies to certain antibiotics can consume properly cooked chicken meat in Australia with confidence.
FAQS About Chicken
Are chickens fed hormones in Australia?
Australian chickens are not fed hormones, nor are they administered hormones in any other way. Their rapid growth occurs naturally due to improvements in selective breeding and optimal nutrition developed over the last 60 years or so. Independent tests and surveys, confirm that Australian chicken meat is free of added hormones.
Does Australia import poultry meat?
No, all poultry meat consumed in Australia is grown domestically. To protect the local birds from diseases, raw chicken meat and live birds cannot be imported.
Are chickens genetically modified?
Chickens are not genetically engineered or modified. Improvements in their growth, feed conversion efficiency, tenderness and other characteristics are entirely due to traditional cross-breeding and selective breeding techniques.
Are chickens fed GM feed?
Soya bean meal, which provides an important source of protein and amino acids in the chicken diet, is not available in sufficient quantities in Australia and has to be imported. Much of the world's soya bean production is genetically modified and in countries such as the US, traditional soya bean meal becomes mixed with genetically modified meal during processing, storage and distribution. The major processors in Australia, have made a public commitment to use their best endeavours to source non-GM soya.
Why do chickens grow so quickly?
Meat chickens, also known as broilers, have been selectively bred over the past 60 years for growth rate and to be highly efficient at transforming feed into meat. This is why they reach their optimal market weight and quality much more quickly than the strains of chickens from which they were originally derived.
How do you know chicken is properly cooked?
Chicken should always be thoroughly cooked. Cooking to a temperature of 72 degrees should be sufficient, but 82 degrees is recommended. Cooking time depends on the type and size of cut, although a good rule of thumb is an hour of cooking per kilo. An indication that chicken is fully cooked, is to stick a fork into the thickest part of the meat - the juice that comes out should be clear; and the meat should not appear pink.
Why is it important to cook chicken?
All raw meat and many other foods contain bacteria and most are harmless. As these organisms are very easily killed by normal cooking temperatures. Therefore, if you cook chicken properly and follow basic hygienic food handling practices, the risk is removed.
How are antibiotics used?
Antibiotics are important to ensure the health of chickens. Only antibiotics approved by Australia's regulatory authorities and administered in accordance with strict guidelines are used. For details on the industry's antibiotics policy, please see under Issues of Public Interest.
The National Residue Survey undertaken annually by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry provides consumers with the assurance that no antibiotic residues are found in chicken meat.
Do you need to have a rooster for chickens to lay eggs?
No, you do not need a rooster for a hen to produce eggs. A hen will lay (unfertilised) eggs irrespective of whether there is a rooster on the scene or not. All commercial eggs you buy in any retail outlet, have been produced this way i.e. they are all unfertilized eggs.
What are the chickens fed?
Feed is made up of 85-90% grains, such as wheat, sorghum, barley, oats, lupins, soybean meal, canola and other oilseed meals and grain legumes. Hormones are not added to chicken feed or administered to commercial meat chickens or breeders in Australia. In fact, hormone supplementation has been banned internationally for forty years. The ban is supported by the Australian Chicken Meat Federation (see ACMF hormone policy).
Why are some chickens a lot larger or a lot smaller than others?
Normally, the different chicken sizes sold in retail stores, simply reflects a smaller bird that is younger and not yet fully grown. Also different bird breeds can grow to different sizes in the same growing period. It's similar to 2 puppies of the same weight at birth growing into two very different sizes eg a Maltese Terrier and a Labrador.
What does it mean when the chicken is size 12 or size 18?
Chickens are sized for simple reasons of what size of bird consumers, cafes, clubs, restaurants and others wish to buy. Simply, the size 12 means that the chicken should weigh approx 1.2 kg, and obviously a size 18 will weigh approx 1.8kg. This may vary slightly depending on the refrigeration or air conditioning possibly drying out the bird.
Knowing the chicken size, should help everyone better assess the cooking time required, for the best results. Some retailers refer to the size simply as regular, small or large. There is no set basis of what constitutes these sizes, with each retailer setting their own sizes.