Programs & Practices

We Ensure Respectful Animal Treatment

We're Raising Animals for Higher Standards

Verified Poultry Care

Verified Poultry Care

 

Our USDA Process Verified Program for Poultry Care covers all our poultry operations.

The Perdue Poultry Care Program encompasses all phases of our supply chain, including breeder and hatchery operations, appropriate comfort and shelter on the farms, comprehensive healthcare and monitoring, nutrition, catching, transporting and harvesting.

Our USDA Process Verified Program for Poultry Care provides the added assurance of an audited program with more than 50 documented points from hatchery to harvest, and it covers all our growing areas and harvest operations.

Our Poultry Care Program combines principles from the National Chicken Council, our own best practices and the Perdue Commitments to Animal Care initiatives to create a baseline of care that helps ensure the health, comfort and safety of every chicken we raise.

See how our USDA Process Verified Program supports the Five Freedoms and how our Commitments to Animal Care initiatives are driving continuous improvement from hatchery to harvest.

For poultry raised indoors, we use temperature-controlled housing with fresh-air ventilation. In the house, chickens are protected from the elements, disease and predators, and they are given constant access to food and water, sufficient room to move and exhibit most natural behaviors, and periods of light and darkness. Learn more about how we're accelerating our progress in animal care.

 

Organic and Free Range

Organic and Free Range

All our organic and other free-range chickens are raised on farms that provide:

  • Natural sunlight
  • Open, fresh-air ventilation
  • Enrichments, such as bales of hay or straw, that add complexity to the chickens' environment
  • Access to outdoor areas that are typically at least half the size of the chicken house
  • Multiple doors—situated approximately every 50 feet—running the length of the chicken house to encourage birds to go outdoors
  • Sunshades or awnings over each doorway
  • Outdoor water access
  • Pastures with a mixture of grass and earthen areas, allowing the birds to forage and take dust baths

 

Global Animal Partnership Certified Farms

Global Animal Partnership Certified Farms

In addition, our organic chickens are raised on farms rated GAP 2 or higher by the Global Animal Partnership. On GAP 24 farms, to protect birds from the elements, they are allowed outside during the daytime once their feathers are fully developed, which is typically around 4 weeks of age. Birds may come indoors at night and when temperatures are too cold for their comfort. For GAP 5 farms, birds have outdoor perches and are allowed 24-hour access to the pasture area. This program uses a breed that is better suited to the outdoors.

 

Treating All the Chickens We Raise with Respect

Treating All the Chickens We Raise with Respect

We share with the farmers who raise our chickens a promise to treat the animals in our care with respect at all times. Mistreatment of animals is never tolerated. All associates handling live animals are provided training, including their responsibility to report any violations of our animal welfare policies. The farmers who raise animals for us share equal responsibility to provide care according to our best practices and standards and to alert us to any issues involving animal health or welfare.

Where Does Your Chicken Come From?

This is a typical chicken farm, where an independent farm family raises Perdue's chickens. We invite you to click through the slide show and learn where your PERDUE® chicken comes from.

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The chicken comes first. We receive day-old breeder chicks from commercial breeder companies. These are chicks that will grow up to supply eggs to our hatcheries. Chicks are tested to be salmonella-free.

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The chicks grow up in pullet houses, where they stay until they reach sexual maturity and are transferred to breeder farms. Independent farmers take care of the young chickens.

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Adult hens and roosters live in specially designed breeder houses. The breeder flocks supply the fertilized eggs to our hatcheries. Breeder flocks live cage-free, and the hens have access to nest boxes to lay their eggs. The farmer caring for the breeder flock collects the eggs, which are then shipped to one of our hatcheries.

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At the hatchery, racks of eggs are moved into rooms called "setters." Automated setters maintain the ideal temperature and humidity for healthy development of the embryo. The egg racks move to rotate the eggs, just as the mother hen would do.

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At 21 days, the chicks begin to hatch. They are in a special room called a "hatcher." The hatcher maintains an ideal temperature and fresh air to make sure the chicks get off to a healthy start.

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Before leaving for a nearby farm, chicks are checked to be sure they're healthy, counted, and given a final round of inhaled vaccine to prevent common poultry viruses. Both males and females go the farm.

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Our chicks arrive at the farm in temperature-controlled trucks specially designed to transport the chicks. The trailer has its own heating and cooling systems to keep the chicks comfortable on the way to the farm.

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Baby chicks are delivered to a brood chamber, which is a portion of the poultry house closed off with curtains and heated to a toasty temperature that’s comfortable for the hatchlings. (The black tube around the fork lift keeps the chicks safely away from the delivery equipment.)

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Day one at the farm is called "placement." The farmer who will raise the chickens has spent several days preparing the chicken house for the new arrivals. That includes windrowing, a process that pasteurizes the litter. Chicks are carefully unloaded onto the floor.

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It only takes a matter of minutes for the day-old chicks to find their way to food and water.

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At two weeks of age, the chickens have moved into the entire house. They are losing their yellow down.

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At three weeks, the chickens have outgrown the awkward stage (kind of like teenagers), and are developing their sturdy legs.

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At four weeks of age, the chickens are showing the characteristic broad breast of meat-type birds, and have fully gained their adult feathers.

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Between six and eight weeks of age, the chickens have reached the desired weight. The chicken house is at its maximum density, but the birds still have room to move about with easy access to food and water.

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The final day on the farm is "movement." The farmer raises the feed and water lines. Trained crews then hand-catch the chickens. Holding them by their legs minimizes the risk of injury to the chickens. The chicken house is darkened to reduce stress for the birds. Chickens are placed in drawers designed to keep them safe and calm during transport to the harvest plant. Our poultry care program includes the transport of the chickens and their handling when they get to the plant.

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Coleman Natural Hogs

Coleman Natural Hogs

Our Coleman hog operations are free of gestation and farrowing crates and are American Humane Certified™.

We work directly with family farmers who share our commitment to raising hogs without antibiotics or ractopamine and in a low-stress environment. Our farmers’ sow operations do not use gestation or farrowing crates. Our hogs are raised in a combination of pastures, hoop barns, outdoor lots and controlled-atmosphere barns with fresh-air ventilation.

American Humane Association certification provides third-party verification for every step of live production, transport and harvesting. Furthermore, some of our hogs are raised in accordance with the Global Animal Partnership standards.

Niman Ranch Animals

Niman Ranch Animals

Niman Ranch works with small, independent family farmers and ranchers.

Niman Ranch is a community of more than 720 independent family farmers and ranchers who raise pork, beef and lamb traditionally, humanely and sustainably to deliver the finest-tasting meat.

NIMAN RANCH® products are all third-party certified under the Certified Humane® program and from animals raised by small, independent U.S. family farmers and ranchers who adhere to some of the strictest animal welfare protocols in the industry, including:

  • No antibioticsEVER
  • No added hormonesEVER
  • No beta antagonists or other growth-promoting drugs
  • Never fed animal by-products
  • No gestation or farrowing crates
  • Hogs and sheep raised outside or in deep bedding
  • Sheep finished in a lot that meets Niman Ranch's requirements
  • Cattle raised in a pasture and finished in a Niman Ranch partner’s finishing lot

Many of our products are raised in accordance with the Global Animal Partnership standards.

Learn More

Corporate Stewardship Report

Company Stewardship Report

Learn about the steps we're taking to reach our goal of becoming the most-trusted name in food and agricultural products.

Consumer Brands
Perdue
Perdue Simply Smart
Perdue Harvestland
Coleman Natural
Draper Valley
Petaluma Poultry
Praire Grove Farms
Niman Ranch
Spot Farms Pet
Full Moon Pet
Business to Business
Perdue Foodservice
Perdue Foods
Perdue Foods International
Perdue agriBusiness