Chickens in intensive systems grow fatter faster! - is this true?

Modern breeding techniques have managed to optimise the bird growth, feed intake alongside good animal health and welfare. Contrary to what some people think and to what is sometimes reported, the birds do not have weakened legs that break easily or are unable to support their own weight. The idea that birds cannot move, cannot drink nor eat is also false as this would be bad not only for the bird but for the farmer’s investment. No farmer wants to lose animals!

Breeders provide the best genetic improvements they can so that farmers can produce healthy chickens. In fact rearing healthy, thriving birds is the aim of European poultry producers in adherence to European animal health and welfare standards, while supporting sustainable and responsible production techniques. Growth challenges may arise due to nutritional deficiencies, but this can be resolved through improved nutrition.

An EU directive from 2007 also lays down minimum rules for the protection of chickens kept for meat production.  It aims to reduce the overcrowding of chicken holdings by setting a maximum stocking density and ensure better animal welfare by specifying requirements such as lighting, litter, feeding, and ventilation.   

Council Directive 2007/43/CE (June 2007)