Poultry breeding

Poultry breeding is done by a wide range of people for diverse end uses and purposes. Poultry breeding can be divided into three main areas which include:

  • Commercial breeding
    • For egg production, or
    • Meat production
  • Village/Backyard breeding
    • Poultry bred for both eggs and meat on a small scale
  • Fancy/Exhibition breeding
    • Non commercial production of small poultry breeds by enthusiasts

Commercial breeding

Chicken is by far the most popular poultry species utilised by Australians for both meat and egg production. Breeding for the commercial poultry sector is on a large industrial scale and hatcheries supply both the broiler and layer industries. In Australia, the term “broiler” or “meat chicken” is used by the industry to describe a chicken grown for meat, while the term “layer” is used for chickens grown and maintained for egg production. Chickens are also affectionately referred to as “chooks”. Other poultry species such as Turkeys, Ducks & Geese, and game birds such as Quails are also produced in Australia for meat. Emus and Ostriches are also bred for commercial purposes.

More details about Commercial poultry breeding and the Breeder farm sequence can be found below.

Village/Backyard breeding

Many farmers and some suburban householders still like to keep their own poultry for egg and meat production. Most of them buy commercial crossbred hens at the point of lay and keep them in semi-intensive conditions in the yard. Some use small colony cages or even use a few layer cages in a protected spot. Others buy day-old chicks and rear their own birds.

Fancy/Exhibition breeding

There are many breeds of poultry which play very little part in the commercial poultry industry. These are called fancy poultry and are usually kept by small producers (or fanciers) who enjoy breeding, showing and exchanging birds with other fanciers.

Breeder farm sequenceCommercial poultry breeding