Do you have questions about chicken farming?
Interested in eating local and learning more about where your food comes from? Find the answers to your top chicken farming questions here!
A1: Chickens are raised inside barns because farmers can provide a comfortable controlled environment.
This includes controlling the temperature and air quality. They can also provide comfortable bedding, and access to clean water, and nutritious food at all times. When chickens are raised in barns, they are kept safe from predators and disease and are able to exhibit natural behaviours like dust bathing, stretching, standing, and moving around comfortably.
A2: All chickens raised for meat in Canada are free-run.
Free-run chickens roam freely throughout spacious, temperature-controlled, well-ventilated barns. Free-range chickens have access to the outdoors. There are no registered free-range farmers in Manitoba due to harsh weather conditions. Raising chicken in barns protects them from predators and prevents chickens from contacting disease-carrying outdoor bird species. Chickens feel safe in barns and often do not choose to go outside when given the opportunity.
A3: All Canadian chicken is grain-fed!
Chickens are provided healthy grain-based feed and clean drinking water. Farmers work with animal nutritionists to ensure chickens are fed the healthiest diet possible. In Manitoba the grain is mostly wheat, as well as some soy or canola meal for protein, fat, and small amounts of vitamins and minerals are added to ensure the chickens receive a nutritionally complete diet.
A4: Added hormones and steroids are not allowed in chicken farming.
They have been banned since 1965. In fact, the use of them is illegal. Chickens raised for meat, called broiler chickens grow at a healthy rate because of their genetics and the nutritional science used in creating their feed. Farmers we also help ensure the health of our chickens because we carefully monitor the barns to manage their environment and ensure it is always optimal for the growth and well-being of the birds.
A5: There are no factory farms in Canada, only family farms.
In fact, in Manitoba over 97% of chicken farms are family owned and operated. Across Canada more than 90% of chicken farms are family owned and operated. All registered chicken farmers in Canada follow strict national on-farm animal care and food safety protocols set-out by Chicken farmers of Canada, the Raised by a Canadian Farmer standards. Farms are third party audited, or checked, to ensure they are strictly following and adhering to all regulations. This allows Canadian chicken farmers to raise some of the highest quality chicken of anywhere in the world.
A6: Yes! Manitobans and Canadians across the country have access to local chicken year-round.
Chicken is a terrific local, healthy source of protein. Because chicken farmers raise chickens indoors, they are able to continuously supply local chicken to restaurants and grocery stores so you can purchase local chicken in your grocery stores throughout the year. Just so you know, the breed of chickens we raise for meat, broiler chickens, are not the same as the type of birds raised for providing eggs that you would eat for breakfast. Meat chickens do not lay eggs. However, we do have farmers that raise hens and roosters for laying fertilized eggs that become the chicks we bring into our barns to raise for meat.
A7: 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.
Only healthy chickens are passed into the food system and enter the marketplace. Testing for residues is conducted regularly by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and there hasn’t been an issue with antibiotic residues in chickens in decades. All registered Manitoba Chicken Producers farmers follow the regulations outlined by Chicken Farmers of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Public Health regulation. These regulations support 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. Also, antibiotics can only be given with the approval of a veterinarian.
A8: The industry has done incredible work to advance farming practices using innovation and technology.
In the last 40 years, chicken farmers have reduced their overall carbon footprint by 37%, reduced water consumption by 45%, and 62% of the entire sector’s total energy use comes from renewable sources, all while raising more chicken. Farmers share a common goal of working to leave their farm and land to the next generation in better condition than when they began farming on it.
A9: Chicken farmers provide their chickens with all the necessities of life and take excellent care of them.
But it is a different relationship than people have with their pets. Chickens raised for meat are livestock and farmers’ livelihood. Farmers ensure their birds have the best possible environments inside modern barns where they always have access to clean drinking water and nutritious, grain-based feed. They check on their flock several times a day by walking throughout the entire barn to ensure the chickens’ needs are being met.
A10: Manitoba Chicken Producers farmers are proud to provide their communities with a high quality, safe, nutritious source of protein year round.
They are pleased to play a part in Manitoba’s food system. The chicken they raise is the same chicken they feed their families.
Take an opportunity to meet one of our farmers, Rachel.
In this video she gives you an exclusive tour of her chicken farm and bring you right inside her barn to meet her 11 day old chickens while she answers these top chicken farming questions.
Our farmers are proud that Manitoba chicken, and all chicken raised in Canada, is a nutritious choice for you and your family! All Chicken is grain fed and always raised without the use of steroids or hormones. To learn more about chicken farming visit our “At The Farm” and “Our Industry” pages.