Poultry farming conditions – how and why is our poultry bred on farms?

Conditions in which our turkeys and chickens are bred are regulated by a range of European and national laws. Those have been prepared with consumer and environmental safety in mind, as well as  the wellbeing of farm animals. What exactly do these regulations refer to and what are the conditions of Polish poultry that eventually lands on our plates?

Anforderungen für die Geflügelzucht
Anforderungen für die Geflügelzucht

Poland is a European leader of poultry production in European Union. Among those, besides Poland, we may distinguish Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Great Britain as leading producers of poultry in the UE (source: https://www.avec-poultry.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/05494-AVEC-annual-report-2019.pdf). However, some of our native consumers tend to worry about the safty of poultry meat they are about to consume. These concerns are often connected with an excess use of antibiotics, as well as the conditions in which birds are bred.

It is worth mentioning that both antibiotics and breeding conditions are being meitculously regulated by the European Union and country laws. Cases of irregularities are only incidental. Both the farms and the poultry produced by them are under rigorous control and every irregularity is to be severely penalized.

Illegitimate use of antibiotics in poultry breeding is strictly forbidden. The law abides it only in situations of birds falling sick and the antibiotics have been prescribed as a treatment. Pharmaceuticals are then administered under a veterinarian’s supervision, in proper amount and for a proper time. Before the poultry in question is slaughtered, a proper amount of time needs to pass for the antibiotics to leaver their system (a so-called grace period).

How do we breed our poultry? What conditions are chickens and turkeys in big farms kept? We are about to answer those questions.

Poultry farming conditions are dictated by law

The European Union is extremely cautious when it coms to safety of their food products as well as the wellbeing of farm animals. Their owner must protect his animals from hunger and discormfort, as well as pain and diseases, keeping them free of stress and anxiety. At the same time, a farmer must keep certain documentation (such as animal healthcare) for future control.

Rigorous law abidance is crucial, not only because of penalties. It is also necessary to receive European Union donations which are needed for future development, which is every entrepreneur’s priority.

Poultry keeping conditions – which rules are to be followed?

The law of animal farming is strict and detailed. These rules apply both to the owner and his workers, as well as the way the animals are bred (accomodation of animals and their conditions, feeding and healthcare of animals). Farms must also meet law-specified requirements in terms of environmental safety. What exactly do these regulations concern?

A poultry farmer must personally look after animals owned or ensure that he hires full-fledged personnel to do that for him – people who have graduated certain schools or have gone through  special training, being prepared for such work. A farmer must tend his animals every day, being cautious about their wellbeing and the conditions of space in which they are kept.

When establishing a farm, one must abide by a series of requirements, including: disposal of rain water as well as water used for cleaning of animal space, which should drained away into specialized containers; isolating the breeding area with sound absorbing greenery (extractor fans in outer areas of such farms can produce noise) which could also absorb gases and be an isolation from external factors, such as strong winds or cold.

Despite some people are concerned about the conditions in which farm chickens and turkeys are being kept, their conditions are in reality strictly regulated by law.

The rooms for farm birds must be adapted accordingly, in order to ensure comfort and safety of their inhabitants. One of the main regulation is the amount of chickens and turkeys per square meter. Proper density of bird population has a profound impact on their wellbeing – when it is too crowded, the birds go through a lot of stress which has a negative influence on their condition and development.

Farming rooms ought to meet specific microclimate conditions. If a farmer decides to use artificial lighting, it must be as close to natural light as possible and behave as such – go dim at dusk and turn off at night. When it comes to natural lighting, regulations apply to such matters as the amount of windows in accomodation buildings. Proper lighting is crucial for the psychophysical wellbeing of farm birds. Regulations also apply to the temperature (it should be higher for nestlings and young birds) and humidity. Those are factors of vital importance, as poultry – both chickens and turkeys – are extremely sensible to improper temperature and air humidity. Neglecting those parameters results in diseases, which lead to a loss of stock. The rooms should also be properly ventilated.

Feeding birds and their healthcare are also under regulation. As mentioned before, antibiotics can be administered only in certain cases, while use of other substances (such as antibiotic growth stimulae and hormones) is strictly forbidden. It is also necessary to enable the birds an access to fresh drinking water. The law is also very specific about the bird feed ingredients so that the animals are properly nourished. It is also worth mentioning that the feed needs to be protected from all forms of contamination and defiling, making the birds’ diet easier to control.

Proper farming conditions protect the birds not only from diseases and injuries but also encourage their proper growth and development. Their breeders must ensure that possibly minimal stress is being inflicted on animals. It is also important because farm grown turkeys and chickens are usually of special, fast-growing breeds (and let us put it straight – those were not raised in “laboratory” but are an aftermath of crossbreeding specimens with desired traits). Such breeds require optimal conditions to grow, so farmers are very attentive to their wellbeing.

The advantages of large-scale poultry farming

Having learned about the conditions of poultry farming, let us take a look at the benefits such farming methods can bring to the customer. Among these are:

  • Farming animals live in safe conditions. Proper housing protects them both from harmful atmospheric conditions as well as other sorts of danger, like predators. Farmers make sure that the birds are free of extent stress.
  • The birds are fed with proper and safe feed, which makes us sure that a chicken or turkey has not digested any harmful substances.
  • Birds on poultry farms are under veterinarian supervision, which is being confirmed by inspections. This is a guarantee of proper health conditions and appropriate treatment if fallen ill.
  • Large-scale farms are monitoring their stock for Salmonella. Before the next branch of food industry takes it over, the meat is examined for customers’ safety (mainly for becterial presence). This ensures that poultry on the market (especially the sealed portions with special indications and producer information) is completely safe.