Chickens begin their life in hatcheries, where fertilized eggs (not table eggs) are incubated and hatched into chickens that are raised for meat. These kinds of chickens are called “broiler” chickens. Once the chicks are hatched, they are transported to local farms where they live and grow, until they are big enough to be sold for meat.
Once situated in the barn at the farm, chickens roam, eat, drink and socialize with other chickens under supervision of farmers and veterinarians, who make sure the chickens are comfortable, healthy and growing well. (Note: Just like humans, chickens may fall ill and may be treated with antibiotics.
When the chickens grow to the ideal weight to be sold for meat (usually 4-7 pounds) they are collected and transported for processing. (Short transportation to the processing plant is the only time in a broiler chicken’s life that it spends in a cage, for the safety of the chickens while driving.