Pilgrim’s is committed to providing the livestock and poultry under our care with comfortable and safe housing that meets their needs. Housing is key to protecting and improving the health and well-being of our livestock and poultry.
At Pilgrim’s, we contract with approximately 5,200 family farm partners who raise breeder hens, broiler chickens or hogs. From the farmers’ barns to the Pilgrim’s production facilities, we require our team members and family farm partners to provide proper care to our chickens and hogs.
Our family farm partners who raise our breeder hens, which produce hatching eggs, use fresh shavings as bedding material in hen houses. These shavings are clean, absorbent, free of sharp objects and resistant to fungal growth. Our service technicians visit our breeders weekly to monitor chicken health. At our hatcheries, the temperature in the chick-holding room is targeted for chick comfort based on their internal temperature. We monitor and document ambient temperatures on an hourly basis, making any needed changes as soon as possible. We make sure our chicks have enough space to prevent overheating and that they are not placed under direct air flow that could cause them to become chilled. Before placing any chicks at a farmer’s broiler farm, we go through our pre-placement checklist to make sure the farm and houses are neat and orderly, ventilation and temperature are ideal for brooding, ammonia levels are appropriate and lighting and bedding are in line with program requirements. In addition, our European poultry operations are pioneering industry-leading initiatives to continually improve the housing of poultry by providing environmental enrichment, windows and provision activities, such as perches and bales.
Pilgrim’s Tulip higher welfare supply chain contracts with farmers who raise all sows according to the RSPCA higher welfare outdoor bred standards, at a minimum. Sows are free from confinement during gestation and farrowing. Pigs are born outdoors and provided with shelter, where they remain until they are weaned at approximately 28 days of age. All of our hogs in our higher welfare supply chain have permanent access to environmental enrichment. Tulip also sources hogs from independent farm partners. Those partners meet, and often exceed, the requirements of the Red Tractor or QMS assurance schemes. Farm partners must provide hogs with permanent access to environmental enrichment and sows must be housed in open pen systems during gestation.