Animal welfare matters
At Wayne Farms, animal welfare matters. It starts with our animal welfare commitment and recognizing chickens are sentient beings that depend on us for every aspect of their care. We are their guardians and stewards, and we ask our team members and farm partners to put forth their personal best every day.
We raise and care for living, breathing creatures, and we owe it to them to do the right things and continually strive to get better.
What guides us
Because science is constantly providing us with new information and technologies, and because stakeholder values are continuously evolving, we will never — and shouldn’t expect to — arrive at our final destination. Fortunately, we have several guides to keep us on the right path.
- The five freedoms and three models of animal welfare
- Our Animal Care Advisory Committee and other employees
- New learning and technologies
- Customer and consumer needs
Raising chickens with intention
We believe it’s our moral and ethical obligation to provide the best possible care for our chickens. As a basis for care, we start with the most up-to-date, comprehensive National Chicken Council (NCC) animal welfare guidelines and may exceed those guidelines based on our own research and findings. We also use third-party audits performed by Farm Animal Care Training & Auditing (FACTA) and Professional Animal Auditor Certifier Organization (PAACO) to ensure adherence to responsible care practices.
Wayne Farms’ Animal Care Advisory Committee (ACAC) was formed in November 2017 to address the ongoing desire to improve our animal welfare practices based on emerging discoveries, viewpoints and technologies.
All the chickens for Wayne Farms products are raised on family-owned farms in climate-controlled chicken houses which protect chickens from inclement weather, predators and wild birds, which can carry serious diseases, such as Avian Influenza. Inside the houses, chickens are free to roam and have 24/7 access to fresh food and water.
Chickens are fed nutritious feed, which changes throughout their lifetimes, based on the evolving dietary needs of developing chickens. While more than half of chickens’ feed is sourced from wholesome corn and soybean meal, essential protein and fat is added to ensure an overall healthy, balanced diet. Hormones and steroids are never used, as government regulations strictly prohibit their use in raising poultry and pork.
Wayne Farms is committed to responsible antibiotic use. We see antibiotics as an important tool in animal health management but continually strive to minimize their use, including those which have been classified as medically important. All antibiotic use is overseen by a licensed, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-accredited veterinarian, who is board-certified by the American College of Poultry Veterinarians. Most importantly, 100% of our chicken products are free of antibiotics. Federal regulations require medicines to be withdrawn well in advance of processing to ensure that no antibiotic residue is present in meat.
Wayne Farms offers other product lines for customers and consumers who want chicken products that come from flocks that have never been given antibiotics, as well as those which carry humane care certification. Here are some other programs we offer.
No antibiotics ever, vegetable and grain diet with no animal byproducts
This specification means antibiotics have never been used at any point of the process of bringing healthy chickens to market — including hatching, raising, harvesting, transporting and processing chickens. Essential nutrients are provided in chickens’ diets from plant-based sources.
Global Animal Partnership (GAP) step-2 rated
Many of our farms have been certified by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP), an international organization with the goal of improving farm animal welfare standards around the world. GAP’s third-party certifiers audit every farm every 15 months to ensure their standards are met. Our farms that support the Naked Truth® [insert link to Naked Truth] brand have achieved the GAP step-2 certification, which includes the following standards:
- Fewer chickens in the chicken house (less densely populated)
- Environmental enrichments
- Six hours of continuous darkness daily to simulate natural day/night cycles
- More light intensity than conventionally raised flocks
- No antibiotics ever
- Vegetable and grain-based diet (no animal byproducts)
What our customers say
We’ve had frequent opportunities to host farm visits for our customers and partners, and they almost always say the same thing: it’s not what they expected. Many have appreciated that the farms where our chickens are raised are still family owned and operated. They are also reassured by the high level of care our farm partners provide. Most of all, they’re surprised to see the level of attention to detail in everything we do to meet the needs of our stakeholders — including the chickens that rely on us for responsible animal care.