How do I go about investigating the possibility of becoming a commercial meat chicken farmer in Australia?
We get a steady stream of inquiries from people who are potentially interested in becoming involved in our industry as grower of meat chickens. There is much information available and this page provides some links to assist you in exploring this opportunity.
For those interested in the broader job and career opportunities offered by the Australian chicken meat industry, we recommend that you consult this careers flyer.
It is important to familiarise yourself with the way the chicken meat industry operates in Australia because this will impact on your options. This information is readily available on this website www.chicken.org.au. In essence, chicken farms work under long term contract for a specific processor who provides the one day olds, the feed and the veterinary services.
More detailed information about the requirements to be met by chicken farms are available from the relevant State department responsible for agriculture, i.e. in NSW from the Department of Primary Industries: http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/livestock/poultry (in particular the extensive Best Practice Management Manuals at http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/livestock/poultry/development) or by contacting the NSW Farmers Poultry Meat Group http://www.nswfarmers.org.au; in Queensland, a good starting point is http://www.business.qld.gov.au/industry/agriculture/animal-management/starting-meat-chicken-farm/about-queenslands-meat-chicken-industry and SA for example: http://www.pir.sa.gov.au/ which gives access to a range of guidelines and legislation; and for WA: http://www.agric.wa.gov.au . In Victoria, the VFF Chicken Meat Group may be a useful contact: www.vff.org.au/policy_issues/chicken_meat_group.php and the Victorian Department web site at http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/agriculture/animals-and-livestock/poultry/poultry-management/chicken-meat-industry.
There is an enormous amount of information available from State agricultural departments and State farmer organisations. The above are only a few examples.
Commercial meat chicken production is almost exclusively done under contract to a processor, where the processor provides the birds, feed and veterinary care and the contract farmer provides the housing, day to day management of the farm, water, gas and electricity and in return is paid an agreed fee per bird.
It therefore makes sense to talk to a processor in your area to see if there is interest. However the investment required is large and there is no special government assistance available. Inghams advertised for potential growers some time ago. The link to that information is http://www.inghams.com.au/enterprises/sitedocument.aspx?docId=1155 and the advertisement is also available here.
A cost model developed by the SA Department of Primary Industries is available here. It is a little dated but may be useful for some initial guidance.
To get a handle on the cost, you may want to contact the growers’ association in your state (see www.acgc.org.au ) or you could contact a processor that operates in your area and seek some information from them. An ad placed by Inghams in the Australian Financial Review and other publications, seeking interested people to become contract growers is available here.
In Australia, we use the following hybrid meat chicken birds: Ross and Cobb. To find out about about relevant farm management, nutrition and other information, go to their websites:
Aviagen website form for broiler breeders:
The other strain of meat birds we use in Australia is Cobb. Go to http://www.cobb-vantress.com/. For information on distribution etc. if you are outside of Australia, go to
Poultry feed for our commercial operations is often formulated in the processors own feed mills and is carefully balanced to meet the exact needs of the chickens at each stage of development. You can see a typical composition on our website http://www.chicken.org.au/page.php?id=6. Scroll down to second table on that page. The nutritional requirements are also available on the Cobb-Vantress and the Aviagen websites listed just above.
Thank you for your interest in our industry.