RSPCA welfare standards for chickens

RSPCA welfare standards for chickens cover © RSPCA Farm Animals Department

Our detailed RSPCA welfare standards have been developed to represent good practice in the care and welfare of commercially-farmed chickens at all stages of their lives (hatching through to slaughter).

RSPCA welfare standards for chickens

RSPCA broiler welfare assessment protocol

Download the RSPCA Broiler Welfare Assessment Protocol 2017

For breeds accepted for use within the RSPCA Assured scheme, please visit the RSPCA Assured website.

Low Atmospheric Pressure Stunning

Since 2018 Low Atmospheric Pressure Stunning (LAPS) has been permitted in the EU for the killing of chickens weighing up to 4kg. In simple terms, the method involves placing chickens in a closed container and then gradually reducing the oxygen level. LAPS has a number of potential welfare positives compared with other commercial methods (gas killing and electrical stunning). These include improved consistency of the process and reduced stress (due to there being no need to invert the birds and reduced handling).

The RSPCA is encouraged by this development. We are looking into the possibility of including LAPS as a permitted method of killing in the RSPCA welfare standards for meat chickens in the future, after we have assessed the operation of this system in a commercial setting. 

RSPCA chicken standards technical advisory group

Members of the advisory group are selected on the basis of the specific expertise they bring to the group in different areas of meat chicken care. Members include:

  • Kate Parkes (RSPCA chicken specialist)
  • Andrew Maunder (Chair)
  • Muhammed Maliki (Moy Park)
  • Nick Davies (2 Sisters Food Group)
  • Richard Jennison (Poultry Health Services)
  • Emilie Wix (RSPCA Assured)
  • Annie Raynor (Food Animal Initiative)

For information on the group's discussions download:

Find out more about the consultation process for the development of the RSPCA welfare standards for farm animals.