Perdue Farms shares its latest animal care initiatives

SALISBURY, MD. — Perdue Farms shared their 2022 Animal Care Commitment Report at its recent annual Animal Welfare Summit. Hosted by Perdue for the seventh year, the event was held near the company’s headquarters in Maryland, meeting in person for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.

Attendees toured Perdue’s research farm to gain insight into the company’s studies and breeding practices, including:

  • Choice of pastures: Planting various vegetation in free range pastures to study which options birds gravitate towards most, as part of ongoing research to encourage birds with access to the outdoors to spend more time outdoors. ‘outside.
  • Food Choices: Give birds the ability to choose between high protein foods and higher energy nutrients to study which they prefer and how it affects their growth and health.
  • RFID: Using RFID technology to track how often free-range chickens access their pen.
  • On-farm hatching: Investigate the feasibility and benefits of allowing chicks to hatch in the barn rather than a hatchery to improve early care.

Other initiatives that have not been showcased at the farm include the development of an educational module on chicken behavior and its use to train flock advisors, the creation of an enrichment program for chicken farmers broilers, developing a litter condition scoring method to be implemented in all operations, determining if re-establishing the mother hen/chick relationship would be beneficial for the chicks/hens, and finding a simple measuring method for the use of pastures in free-range stalls.

“Now in our second century of business, we at Perdue Farms are proud to continue to make progress and lead our industry in the standards to which we raise our animals,” said Mark McKay, President of Perdue Premium Poultry. and Meats. “Animal husbandry and stewardship, including strong connections with our farmers and transparency with our stakeholders, keeps our animals healthier and we believe translates to a better product for consumers.”

Perdue originally developed its animal care commitments in 2016, which include the following four-part plan:

  • Chickens: Based on the “five freedoms”, Perdue will go beyond just the needs of its chickens to also include what its chickens “want”.
  • Farms: Perdue will rekindle relationships with the farmers who raise his animals.
  • Trust: In order to build trust, Perdue will be transparent in its programs, goals and progress.
  • Continuous improvement: Perdue will continue to develop a culture of animal care within the company through continuous improvement.

Through reviews, Perdue landed on a total of 87 initiatives related to the four pillars, which are featured in the current 2022 report.

“As we look back on the seven years since we announced Perdue Commitments to Animal Care, it has been a journey of listening, learning and growing,” the report says. “Perdue’s commitments to animal care have been shaped with input from various stakeholders – including some of our harshest critics – and we continue to seek their input. We learn from a wide range of perspectives, whether farmers, our associates, advocates, customers or consumers, formally and informally.

Boyd S. Abbott