The poultry production process

Chicks accepted for farm fattening mostly come from poultry hatcheries, where eggs are incubated, which come from professionally run so-called reproductive (breeding) farms.

Chicks accepted for farm fattening mostly come from poultry hatcheries, where eggs are incubated, which come from professionally run so-called reproductive (breeding) farms.

Poultry nutrition

Fattening of young birds should be carried out on farms under veterinary supervision. Poultry should be fed with feed, the quantity and nutritional value of which must be adapted to their age and nutritional needs.

and nutritional value must be adapted to their age and nutritional needs. Depending on the age and species and, in the case of turkeys, also the sex, complete feed mixtures are mostly used. These can be purchased from feed companies or produced in-house on the farm. The Veterinary Inspection authorities supervise the production, marketing and use of feed and medicated feed.

Of course, it is also of great importance to ensure that the birds have permanent access to water of water quality for human consumption.

In addition to vitamins and mineral salts, the feed used may contain other substances authorised by European law, such as probiotics, prebiotics or enzymes. A list of all authorised feed additives is included in the Community Register of Feed Additives of the European Union.

The length of poultry rearing depends on the species and ranges from 5-6 weeks for chickens to as long as 25 weeks for turkeys.

Breeding conditions

The conditions in which the birds are kept, whether the legal principles of so-called welfare are observed, will determine the rate of animal growth and their resistance to disease.

Poultry rearing farms are under the supervision of the Veterinary Inspection. Farm, storage and social buildings should be covered by a system of protection against rodents, birds and other pests. The rearing and fattening of chickens should take place in properly ventilated, enclosed areas. Operators should have appropriate knowledge and experience and the houses should be inspected at least twice a day. In the case of turkeys, geese and ducks, they must be inspected at least once a day. 

The density of the birds during the fattening period is defined in Polish law. In addition, the regulations specify exactly the time and intensity of light. In the case of broiler chickens and turkeys, they must be tested for Salmonella bacteria, which are dangerous to human health, within three weeks before the birds are sent to the slaughterhouse.

The rules for transporting poultry to the slaughterhouse are also governed by the relevant regulations and the animals should be accompanied by appropriate veterinary documentation. The organisation of the collection of the birds must be carried out as a single loading (at the supplier’s farm) and unloading (at the slaughterhouse) only.

General conditions for slaughter and post-mortem processing at the slaughterhouse

The slaughterhouse must be approved by the Veterinary Inspection and be under its constant supervision. There must also be an HACCP system in place and appropriate written operating procedures. The entire slaughter process should comply with animal welfare requirements, especially the protection of the birds from over-stimulation, stress, pain and suffering.

Both slaughter and post-mortem processing shall take place in the presence and under the supervision of an official veterinarian, who shall carry out appropriate examinations. Carcasses suspected of having a disease are immediately separated from healthy ones.

“The batch number is the coded data that allows the producer to identify the product at each stage of the production and sales process. It is worth pointing out that on the basis of just this one piece of information, the producer is able to trace the entire production and distribution process, as well as going back to the grower.”

– Izabela Topolska, Quality Expert of the National Poultry Council, Director – Quality Plenipotentiary of Indykpol S.A.