Two types of meat chicken farming systems are used in New Zealand: Barn, and Free-Range.

In Barn systems, chickens are raised in large, open-plan poultry houses called “sheds”, “houses” or “units”. Sheds can be up to 150 metres long and 15 metres wide and hold up to 40,000 adult chickens.

Sheds are equipped with automated temperature and ventilation controls and feed and watering systems and have litter (wood shavings) floors so they remain dry underfoot. Careful attention is given to the regulations relating to stocking densities in the Code of Welfare for meat chickens.

Free-range systems offer the same conditions as Barn systems, with the addition that the hens are provided with access to outdoor ranging areas.

All meat chicken-growing companies that are members of PIANZ also follow the standards of the ““Biosecurity Manual for New Zealand Meat Chicken Growers” relating to food safety, suitability requirements and consumer needs.

Contrary to popular belief, meat chickens in New Zealand are not housed in cages. To find out more facts, this video helps bust a few of myths that have been created around poultry farming and production.

A Farmer’s Story

What’s it like being a poultry farmer? Listen to Dave talk about his life raising free-range chickens in New Zealand.