Barn graphic

Animal Housing

Housing for Chickens and Turkeys

On the farm, birds are kept in enclosed barns to protect them from bad weather, extreme temperatures, diseases, and predators. No cages are used and birds can move freely within the barn. Stocking density, the number of birds within the available space in the barn, is carefully calculated to comply with national standards (National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation) and to ensure that all birds can easily move to access feed and water and to express normal behavior.

Barns are equipped with specially designed equipment to deliver a balanced feed ration and fresh water to ensure the birds receive the correct nutritional requirements to meet the growth and production needs throughout their lives. The primary ingredients in our feed rations are soybean meal, corn, minerals and vitamins. The floor of a typical barn is covered with plant-based recyclable materials, such as rice or oat hulls or pine shavings. The barns also use automatic equipment to provide lighting and ventilation to maintain a climate-controlled, comfortable environment that is suitable for the birds’ age.

Housing for Cattle

While we don’t own any cattle growing or finishing facilities, we encourage all of our beef producers to participate in the national program, Beef Quality Assurance (BQA), which provides guidelines for beef cattle production, educational programs, and industry cooperation for improving best practices. BQA’s guidelines state cattle must be offered adequate space for comfort, socialization and environmental management. Pens are maintained for proper drainage and dust control.

We also support the Livestock Marketing Association’s (LMA) Guide to Animal Handling. Their suggested guidelines are to provide adequate pen space and secure footing for animals. For large animals in overnight pens, animals should have space to lie down. For large animals in day pens, animals should have room to stand with heads down. Increased access to water, sprinklers, and shade, should be provided as conditions change to prevent overheating.

Gestation Stalls for Sows

Please see our position statement on gestation stalls.

34% of the sows from our contract sow farmers are housed in open pens. We expect that number to grow to 47% by the end of calendar year 2017.

Approximately 35% of our chickens are raised in houses with a maximum stocking density equal to or less than 33kg/m2 (6.76 pounds per square foot).