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Poultry farming in HKScan’s food chain

Our contract farmers grow poultry in Finland and Denmark. In Estonia, we raise poultry on our own farms. We provide contract farmers with guidance, training and animal health services.

In Finland, our poultry products can be identified by the Kariniemen® brand. In Denmark, our brand is Rose and in the Baltics, it is Tallegg®.

Pecking, dust bathing and adequate rest - an important part of the natural behaviour of poultry

Birds are reared indoors in separate chicken houses where the solid floor is covered with fresh litter. Farmers carefully follow the conditions, based on both sensory monitoring and condition indicators. The wellbeing of broilers is checked at least twice a day.

Chickens move actively; they scratch and peck the litter as they explore their environment. Even though they get feed from a feeder bowl, they enjoy moving around and pecking. Particularly in Finland and Estonia, wholegrain is added in the feed – it acts as a enrichment and also develops the digestive tract. The birds always have free access to feed and water.

At night, chickens rest on fluffy litter. The minimum resting time is six hours. Chicken houses usually have no windows so that it is possible to ensure sufficient dark time throughout the year. Chickens enjoy bathing in litter to keep the feathers in good shape and to maintain temperature control.

Chickens are attentive animals: they closely follow the reactions and behaviour of other members of the flock. They enjoy flapping and stretching their wings and running around.

Birds are flock animals

The rearing is done in an "all in - all out” method. It means that chicks come to the farm, grow and leave all at the same time. In between the rearing batches, the litter is removed and production facilities are thoroughly washed, disinfected and dried. In Finland, the batches are not thinned to support the welfare of chicks. Instead, the whole bird batch is picked up as a group from the farm. Occasional thinning may take place in Denmark and Estonia.

We are very proud that our poultry meat is salmonella-free. It would not be possible without close co-operation with our farmers who work to meet the biosecurity and hygiene requirements we have set together.

Strict biosecurity practices are followed in the production facilities. With other rearing practices, this promotes animal health and welfare. The practices prevent external pathogens from entering the chicken house and significantly reduce diseases and transmittable pathogens and thus also the need for antibiotics.

Foot pads indicate health

With broilers, welfare can be seen in the foot pads. Healthy foot pads indicate healthy broilers raised in good conditions with fluffy litter. On our poultry farms, foot pad health is at a good level. For example in 2019, 99.46% of the broiler flocks in our chain got a foot pad quality index of zero, assessed by a veterinarian. It is the best possible index reading.

On HKScan's production farms, beak trimming is not done in any of our operating countries.