Introduction to animal welfare for meat chickens from hatchery to processor

This online course is designed as an introduction or refresher to animal welfare for meat chickens. It is based on the National Animal Welfare Standard for the Chicken Meat Industry and the Industry best management practice welfare manual.

It is open to people currently working in the Australian chicken meat industry and covers the key welfare considerations for meat chickens at each stage of production—hatchery, farm (broiler and breeder), pick-up and processing.

The purpose of the course is to provide a consistent, industry-wide learning resource. It is designed to complement on-farm and plant training, business SOPs and other specific jurisdictional or market requirements.

The course takes about 30 minutes per module to complete, including a quick feedback survey. People that are eligible can enrol in 1 or more modules, and in the case of Module 4 just do the section(s) that are relevant to them. A certificate of completion is available to download after completing each module.

  • Module 1 – Introduction to animal welfare for meat chickens
  • Module 2 – Animal welfare legislation, standards and guidelines for meat chickens
  • Module 3 – Egg and chick welfare at the hatchery
  • Module 4 – Chicken welfare on farm
    • Module 4.1 – Chicken behaviour and stockmanship
    • Module 4.2 – Chick welfare at placement and during brooding
    • Module 4.3 – Handling chickens – catching and holding
    • Module 4.4 – Identifying sick and injured chickens
    • Module 4.5 – Euthanasia or humane killing methods of chickens on farm
    • Module 4.6 – Lameness and how to gait score chickens
    • Module 4.7 – Footpad dermatitis and how to score it in meat chickens
    • Module 4.8 – Meat chicken breeder welfare
  • Module 5 – Chicken welfare at pick-up

A processing module is in development and will become available shortly.

Each section includes links to more detailed information and resources and a short quiz.

If you are currently working in the Australian meat chicken industry, you can apply for enrolment via this link

Project details

Project No. PRJ-0011920: Training and extension for the Australian chicken meat industry

Project lead: Rachele Osmond

Research organisation: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland

Researcher details

Felicity McIntosh

Senior Extension Officer – Poultry