Contract and independent chicken farms
If you are thinking about starting a meat chicken farm in Queensland, your first major decision is whether to work as a contract grower or as an independent business.
It is important to discuss the proposal with your local council. Councils regulate businesses and are the administering authority for poultry environmental management.
Contract chicken grower
Large processing companies usually outsource the growing of their meat chickens under contract with farmers.
Under this business arrangement, the farmers own their land and provide the housing, equipment, management, labour and other inputs required for growing chickens. The processing company provides the chicks (which they own), feed, technical expertise (e.g. veterinarians, nutritionists) and marketing strategies. Major processors produce both 'conventional' (in sheds) and free range chicken meat.
If you are considering contract chicken growing, you will need to contact the processor and work out a contract before purchasing a property. This generally involves a growing fee (per bird) and often has a performance-based component. Be sure to work with your business adviser before making a decision to grow chickens under contract.
Under Queensland legislation, a group of contract chicken growers has the option of collectively negotiating a supply contract with a processor.
The Australian Chicken Growers' Council has more information about contract chicken growing.
Independent chicken grower
Independent chicken growers have control over more inputs than contract growers. To become an independent chicken grower, you will need to consider the following issues:
- Can you raise the capital for an independent enterprise?
- Which production system will you use (e.g. shed, free range or organic)?
- Will you breed your own chickens or use a supplier?
- Will you process your chickens? If so, you need to be familiar with the Australian Code of Practice for Poultry Processing as well as information about food safety regulations.
- How will you market your product?
- Do you have enough knowledge of poultry nutrition, health, environmental management, quality assurance, welfare and husbandry? If not, are you prepared to use consultants?
- Do you understand all your responsibilities under legislation?
- Find out more about growing meat chickens on the Australian Chicken Meat Federation website.
- Read more about the chicken meat (broiler) industry.
- Contact the Free Range Poultry Association of Queensland Inc. and Free Range Egg & Poultry Australia Ltd (FREPA) for more information about free range chicken farming.
- Last updated
- 02 May 2013
General enquiries call 13 25 23 (option 3)