Last updated 6 August 2020

Broiler chickens are descended from breeder stock, hatched from eggs imported from breeder companies overseas.

Breeder flocks are obtained from eggs that have undergone extensive breeding and selection programs, used to develop chicken strains that grow rapidly in a short period of time. Nearly all of Australia’s broiler chickens are sourced from two large international poultry genetics companies, in order to continue to have birds with ‘improved genetics’, i.e. birds who grow more and more rapidly with each generation.

Broiler chickens reach sexual maturity between 18-20 weeks old. They are housed in ‘parent bird’ sheds containing nest boxes for the females to lay their eggs. Typical parent bird sheds house one rooster to every five hens.

Parent birds are fed a restricted diet to ensure they do not become too large, which would affect their ability to breed.

Eggs are collected from parent bird sheds and incubated at the hatchery until they hatch.