Meat Chickens & Battery Farming - Chicken Welfare | RSPCA - RSPCA
Chickens reared for meat
More meat chickens (also known as 'broilers') are farmed in the UK than any other type of farmed animal except fish. Unfortunately, the majority of meat chickens are reared to standards that we believe aren't good enough in terms of animal welfare. We're working to improve the welfare of meat chickens at every stage of their lives.
The behaviour of chickens
Meat chickens share many of the same behaviours as their wild ancestors, including:
- Perching - chickens are strongly motivated to perch. In the wild, they perch in trees at night.
- Exploring - chickens like to explore their environment, for example by pecking at objects and scratching at the ground.
- Dustbathing - dustbathing helps chickens remove parasites and keep their skin and feathers in good condition. They can use a suitable dry material (such as wood shavings, sand or fine soil) to bathe in.
- Grooming - this includes preening and feather ruffling.
- Activity - chickens can run, wing flap and may 'spar' with each other to establish their dominance.
We believe that all chickens should be kept in environments where they're able to do these important things.
If you're concerned about the welfare of meat chickens, find out how you can help improve the welfare of meat chickens and read our report on how rearing chickens to higher welfare standards can benefit the chicken, producer, retailer and consumer.