In standard broiler production, broiler chickens are mostly ‘ground-reared’ in sheds on a littered floor, with substrates such as wood shavings, chopped rice hulls, and straw. Usually the broilers do not have access to natural light.
The broiler sheds are usually barren and stocked at high densities (for example a derogation up to 42kg/m2 under EU legislation). In warmer countries, or in higher welfare systems, lower stocking densities are in place (for example 30 kg/m2 in higher welfare indoor systems).
Some EU countries have additional legislative requirements for broiler production, for example, the provision of natural light is mandatory in Sweden.
Multi-tier colony and netted systems
Other broiler production systems exist around the world, such as net flooring systems - mainly used in Asian countries like China and Thailand, and modern caged systems that are predominantly used in places such as Turkey and Russia, but which are also beginning to be used in the US and the EU in various forms.
Compassion does not approve of caged/container systems or netted systems for broiler chickens due to the lower animal welfare potential, namely:
- Higher stocking density
- Flooring with insufficient litter
- Space restriction
- Lack of opportunities for enrichment provision
- Difficulty in observing birds
- The move away from the land base systems