Perdue Farms recently detailed its progress toward goals on animal care in its fifth annual Animal Care Summit.

During the meeting, which was held virtually due to COVID-19, Perdue enlisted subject-matter experts to share updates on the company’s Commitments to Animal Care, an initiative launched in 2016.

Perdue Farms is now raising more than 25 percent of chickens with outdoor access, is testing the feasibility and benefits of on-farm hatching to improve early chicken care, is collaborating on an animal welfare research with an animal advocacy group, and is opening three Poultry Learning Centers that are viewing farms capable of offering an interactive experience for visitors to learn about how the industry works.

Additionally, Perdue hosted a panel of poultry farmers from Delaware, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania to share experiences of growing free-range chickens. The farmers also discussed routines, bird behavior observations, and tips on dealing with predators and protecting their flocks. Finally, the farmers discussed Perdue’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, Perdue announced 10 new initiatives it is adding to its current 70 initiatives regarding animal care. The new initiatives include:

  1. Working to identify the top three issues in ‘heavy birds’;
  2. Researching the welfare implications of raising birds of different ages, growth rates, feather color, and other factors in the same flock;
  3. Researching on-farm hatching;
  4. Researching the animal care advantages of getting chicks to feed and water faster;
  5. Holding a second ‘Free Range Pasture Contest’;
  6. Testing an early chick water supplement for nutritional and stress support;
  7. Determining one method to describe and measure success in getting free-range birds to utilize pasture;
  8. Reducing culls in the two to four week time period by 15 percent;
  9.  Introducing a Young Farmer Development group;
  10. Expanding Animal Care Incentives, which can generate more revenue for farmers to a second operation.

Perdue Farms’ press release can be found here.