Chook Chat Blog

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What’s so great about chicken?

May 23rd, 2020|

In 2018/19, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences estimates that Australians ate their way through 47.4 kg of chicken meat on average each. This is 20.2 kgs more than their next most popular meat (pig meat) and represents over 45% of all meat consumed. Clearly, Australian consumers think it’s a great product, but what is it that makes it so popular?

‘Chicken Farming in the Living World’ Starts School!

April 6th, 2020|

Are you interested in finding out more about how the chicken many of us eat are produced whilst taking a journey to explore the ‘living world’? If so, a new series of online school resources have been launched, free for use in Australian schools.

Antimicrobial Stewardship – The Industry’s Approach

November 20th, 2019|

Antibiotics are potentially lifesaving medications, so long as they are still able to destroy the bacteria that cause life-threatening illness. When a bacteria becomes resistant to an antibiotic, it means that that antibiotic will no longer kill that bacteria, which limits the number of options available to manage a bacterial infection. This is why the […]

Can Chickens ‘Chew’?

July 30th, 2019|

You do know that chickens don’t have teeth, right? Does the old saying “as rare as hen’s teeth” sound familiar? If so, has it ever crossed your mind how chickens can ‘chew’ and therefore get the most out of their food if they don’t have teeth? After all, chickens are the most efficient converters of feed […]

Yes, ‘poultry nutritionist’ is a real job!

May 2nd, 2019|

.. and not just any job, it’s one of the most important jobs in the chicken meat industry. Meat chickens are fed diets formulated specifically to meet their needs at different stages throughout their life, and it’s the job of the poultry nutritionist to make sure chickens get precisely what they need. As you can […]

Take a (’Virtual’) Tour of an Australian Chicken Farm

February 26th, 2019|

Ever wondered what a meat chicken farm looks like, particularly from the inside? Or wondered about what a chicken farmer does on a daily basis? While it’s not possible or practical to offer everyone the opportunity to physically visit a meat chicken farm – for a start, not everyone is located near to where chicken […]

Don’t let your Yuletide joy turn sour.. How to cook the Christmas ‘bird’ safely

December 19th, 2018|

In previous blogs we’ve emphasised the importance of adhering to the key food safety principles of ‘Clean, chill, cook, separate’ (see infographic here in ensuring your chicken handling skills in the kitchen are up to scratch and that your roast chook doesn’t make you crook – but how does this relate to preparing a […]

Australian Meat Chickens – the Facts

October 31st, 2018|

In my August blog (Chicken’s place on the dinner plate and in the mind of consumers) I shared the findings of some consumer research that the ACMF conducted earlier this year which clearly showed that many myths and misconceptions persist about the way meat chickens are housed and looked after in Australia. Australians also have […]


September 27th, 2018|

Are Australian meat chickens genetically modified? The answer is no. Modern breeds of chicken are no more genetically modified (GM) than your poodle or labrador. Given consumers’ uncertainty around whether chickens raised for meat are genetically modified – 37% of Australians say yes, 44% say they don’t know and only 19% say no [1] – then I […]

What Kids Think About Aussie Meat Chickens

August 28th, 2018|

In last month’s blog, I shared with you some insights on what Australian consumers feel about Aussie chicken. In this month’s blog I’d like to share with you what we found out when, for the first time, we asked Australian kids what they know about chickens, in order to help us address some of the […]

Chicken’s place on the dinner plate and in the mind of the consumer

August 2nd, 2018|

It’s safe to say that Australian consumers love their chicken meat – as reported in my last blog (chicken meat eating up its competition) ABARES has forecast that Australians will have consumed a whopping 49 kg of chicken meat per person in 2017-18, making the average Aussie consumer one of the highest consumers of chicken […]

Chicken meat eating up its competition

March 25th, 2018|

Remember when chicken was a special treat, to be shared by the whole family on the occasional Sunday or only for a special celebration? No? Then you are obviously a fair bit younger than me (most people are). So let me take you back half a century… Prior to the mid-1960s, chicken meat primarily came […]

Biosecurity: ‘5 Minutes with…A Farm Manager’ by Guest Blogger: Phil Pirone

November 21st, 2017|

It’s National Agriculture Day! So we thought we’d dedicate this month’s blog to “5 minutes with a farmer”, reported by guest blogger Phil Pirone. What does biosecurity mean for the chicken industry, and what practices are adopted? We talk to Farm Manager, Paul Frank, about biosecurity and the farm he manages north of Adelaide to […]

The Dos and Don’ts of Chicken Food Safety!

September 19th, 2017|

Chicken tartare, carpaccio or sashimi, anyone? No! I think pretty much everyone understands that you shouldn’t eat raw chicken and why (read more here about why… but given recent servings of chicken sashimi overseas we thought it a timely reminder to look at the dos and don’ts that relate to raw chicken meat and food safety. […]

What’s going on here?

August 17th, 2017|

What are the chickens in this photo doing? And why are they all bunched up together, I hear you ask? Well, chickens are by nature social animals; they live in flocks. In the wild, or in a backyard situation, this flocking behaviour provides individual birds with protection from predators and also allows them to keep […]

Why didn’t the chicken cross the road?

July 3rd, 2017|

…or the oceans, in the case of chicken meat available to Australian consumers. Consumers often associate the beef and lamb that they buy as having been grown in Australia, but are not so confident about the origin of their chicken meat. Well, good news! Almost all chicken meat available for you to buy in Australia […]

Nerdy chickens? Supporting chicken welfare with science

May 17th, 2017|

by guest blogger, Dr Kylie Hewson* The viability of the Australian chicken meat industry depends on the implementation of good welfare practices every day, for every flock, and this has been recognised since the start of the commercial industry back in the 1950s. Not only do farmers have an obligation to protect and respect the […]

Shower On, Shower Off

March 22nd, 2017|

“What’s this got to do with chickens?” I hear you say. Well, in some parts of the chicken production business, quite a lot! Why? Because it’s one of the many biosecurity measures that may be implemented by industry to protect flocks from infectious disease. What’s biosecurity? From a chicken industry perspective, biosecurity refers to a set of preventative […]

Lean chicken’s contribution to the ‘bottom line’

February 12th, 2017|

How many times have you heard it reported that Australia is in the grip of an obesity epidemic?
Well, to help to address this, this week (13 – 19 February) the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) is organising online initiatives and a series of activities around Australia in support of Australia’s Healthy Weight Week (AHWW).

Four Key Facts About Australian Meat Chickens

December 12th, 2016|

With Christmas and a new year just around the corner, it seems a good time to remind readers of some of the key facts about Australian meat chickens, including what they look like and how they are reared. Since this is about the chickens themselves, I’m going to focus on four key facts […]

Food Safety Myths Busted!

November 7th, 2016|

by Guest Blogger, Kylie Hewson There are many myths surrounding chicken meat, and keeping with the theme “Raw is Risky” for Australian Food Safety Week (6 – 12th November), which is coordinated by the Australian Food Safety Information Council (AFSIC Food Safety Week), we’ve decided to focus this month’s Chook Chat blog on those myths […]

Are meat chickens male or female?

August 25th, 2016|

The simple answer to this commonly asked question is: “both”. Both male and female chickens are used to produce chicken meat. That’s the case right around the world. Unlike the case for the egg industry, where only hens are required to lay the eggs that are sold for human consumption, both male and female meat […]

The Chicken Family Tree

July 26th, 2016|

In 2016, Australian chicken farms will produce over 590 million meat chickens. But where do they come from? It may be obvious, but it’s something most people don’t think about – every meat chicken has a set of parents, and those parents have their own parents, and so on up the line. But where are […]

What’s this?

June 21st, 2016|

OK – what do you think this is? And what’s it got to do with chickens? Well, it’s a great but simple piece of technology that is used right across the chicken industry and which has helped to significantly improve the environment and welfare of millions of meat chickens grown in Australia every year….in fact […]

Myth Busting #1: Is it safe to refreeze chicken?

May 10th, 2016|

Do you ever take some chicken out of the freezer to defrost before leaving for work in the morning, only to get home and not feel like cooking? I know I do! A question we get asked often is whether it is safe to put the defrosted chicken back into the freezer, and the answer […]

Poultry at the Sydney Royal Show

April 12th, 2016|

The Steggles Commercial Meat Chicken Pairs Competition at the Royal Agricultural Society’s Sydney Royal Easter Show just keeps going from strength to strength! Each year, schools from around NSW get the chance to test their understanding of how meat chickens are grown, and just how much needs to be done and how well they need […]

It’s Official: Chicken Remains Australia’s Favourite Meat

March 16th, 2016|

Earlier this month, ABARES (the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences) released its annual update on current and forecast future production and consumption of Australian agricultural products, including meats. Its statistics show that Australians are forecast to consume a whopping 46.2 kg of chicken meat, per person, over 2015-16, not only cementing […]

Can chicken help long term weight loss?

February 15th, 2016|

Put on a few extra kgs over the festive season? Well, you’re not alone there!
This week (15 -21 February) is Australia’s Healthy Weight Week ( – an initiative of the Dietitians Association of Australia, aimed at raising awareness of the importance of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. It’s a great concept and I’d encourage you to get involved.

Food Safety at Christmas

December 9th, 2015|

By Guest Blogger, Dr Kylie Hewson Don’t forget the roast chicken for Christmas lunch – but also don’t forget food safety! But what does ‘food safety’ actually mean? And how can we talk about it without getting bored and losing interest? It can be difficult to find a food safety message that will be effective […]

Meat chicken behaviour – how do farmers use it?

November 17th, 2015|

Last month, I talked a little bit about meat chicken behaviour – not just what chickens do, but why it’s important. I foreshadowed that in my next blog I’d explain how chicken farmers use chicken behaviour to read and respond to their birds’ needs. So, what behaviours does a chicken farmer use, and how does […]

Meat Chicken behaviour – what they do and why it’s important

October 20th, 2015|

In last month’s blog, I talked about traditional selective breeding, what it means, how it is done, and what its impacts have been in terms of the productivity of modern meat chickens and flow-on benefits for consumers. I hinted that in this month’s blog I would discuss whether and how selective breeding might have changed […]