Starting a meat chicken farm in Queensland
If you are thinking about starting your own meat chicken (broiler) farm in Queensland, you will need to be aware of the following issues:
If you have 100 or more poultry birds (including caged birds), you are required to register your property (place) with the Queensland Government.
Site selection is important for distance to processing (close to major towns), environmental management (e.g. potential odour impacts, urban sprawl), protecting bird health (distance from other poultry) and availability of water, power, all weather access and labour.
Processing companies usually prefer contract chicken growers to have their farm within a 100km radius of the processing plant.
Meat chicken production systems
There are 3 different production systems for meat chickens:
- sheds with litter on the floor (e.g. wood shavings) - 85-90% of the industry
- free range - about 10% of the industry
- organic - about 1% of the industry.
Caring for poultry
For their comfort, growth efficiency, and to reduce the risk of disease and mortality, birds need to be kept in the correct conditions. In a modern shed system this is provided by insulation and automated control of temperature, lighting, humidity and ventilation.
Feed formulas, water quality, hygiene, stocking density and stock management skills, including observation and attention to detail, are also important. For independent growers, consultant poultry nutritionists can advise on feed requirements.
Hormones are prohibited for use in the poultry industry and the Australian Government tests for these hormonal growth promotants as part of its National Residue Survey annual program.
Read more about keeping a healthy poultry flock. Manuals on bird care are also available to suit particular strains of meat chickens.
Legislation and codes of practice
In Queensland, the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (PDF, 848KB) (ACPA) places a legal 'duty of care' on people in charge of animals to provide for those animals' needs in an appropriate way. The Act includes birds and their pre-hatched young.
The following Australian model codes of practice apply to poultry and are adopted codes under the ACPA:
The codes contain information and guidelines to provide minimum acceptable outcomes of animal welfare for poultry.
Environmental management involves factors such as location of the farm, buffer zones around the bird-keeping area on the farm and other management tools to prevent odour, light, noise and waste impacts on others and the environment. These will be included in your environmental management plan.
Breeding and genetics
Non-contracted growers will need to breed their own birds or contact breeders who supply day-old chick to obtain genetics to suit their situation (e.g. free range enterprise supplying chicken meat to a niche market).
- Read more about national welfare standards for meat chickens.
- Find out more about growing meat chickens at the Australian Chicken Meat Federation, the Australian Chicken Growers' Council and Poultry Hub.
- Read the RSPCA approved farming scheme - meat chicken (PDF, 379KB).
- Learn more about environmental management.
- Find out more about animal welfare and ethics.
- Last updated
- 30 April 2013
General enquiries call 13 25 23 (option 3)