A farmer receives the birds from the hatchery at one day old. A grow out consist of 5 to 9 weeks according on how big the kill plant wants the chickens to be. These houses are equipped with mechanical systems to deliver feed and water to the birds. They have ventilation systems and heaters that function as needed. The floor of the house is covered with bedding material consisting of wood chips, rice hulls, or peanut shells.
Meat chickens, commonly called broilers, are floor-raised on litter such as wood shavings, peanut shells, and rice hulls, indoors in climate-controlled housing. Under modern farming methods, meat chickens reared indoors reach slaughter weight at 5 to 9 weeks of age. The first week of chickens life they can grow 300 percent of their body size, a nine-week-old chicken can average over 9 pounds in body weight. At nine weeks a hen will average around 7 pounds and a rooster will weigh around 12 pounds, having a nine-pound average.
Broilers are usually raised in large, open structures known as grow out houses.
Traditionally, a flock of broilers consist of about 20,000 birds in a grow out house that measures 400/500 feet long and 40/50 feet wide, thus providing about eight-tenths of a square foot per bird. The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) states that the minimum space is one-half square foot per bird. More modern houses are often larger and contain more birds, but the floor space allotment still meets the needs of the birds. The larger the bird is grown the fewer chickens are put in each house, to give the bigger bird more space per square foot.
Chicken feed consists primarily of corn and soybean meal with the addition of essential vitamins and minerals. No hormones or steroids are allowed in raising chickens.