Perdue Farms, a leader in animal welfare, recently announced the winner of its first Chicken Welfare Enrichment Design Contest. Perdue challenged family farmers in its network to develop new inventions that improve the lives of the animals in their care. The company received more than 30 submissions for creative new enrichment designs that allow chickens to roost, perch, play and exercise in different ways.
“I want to commend Perdue for having this contest,” said Temple Grandin, contest judge, renowned animal welfare expert, subject of an Emmy and Golden Globe-winning biopic and Time 100 Hero for her work in animal welfare and autism awareness. “Enrichments like these greatly improve the quality of life for the chickens and are equally as great for the farmers raising the chickens – I enjoyed seeing the farmers get excited about creating opportunities for the chickens to play and exercise.”
The Carpenter Bench, designed and built by the Carpenter family from Wadesboro, N.C., bested the competition by creating a design that was both beneficial for the chickens and easy to build, store and integrate into chicken houses for the farmers. While the chickens enjoying the enrichments was a given priority for judging, the ease of use for farmers was also a primary factor. Long term, Perdue is looking to make these enrichments available for farmers to use across its family farm network.
“This has been a phenomenal family experience,” said Nicole Carpenter, after taking home the $5,000 prize and winning the title. “We’re real proud of the Carpenter Bench enrichment. We tried to build something that encouraged the natural social skills and things that a chicken likes to do in its natural environment while adding square feet to the chicken house.”
This contest was designed as one of many efforts by Perdue to ensure the farmers in its network are engaged in the company’s efforts to be a leader in animal welfare. As part of this commitment, the company has moved beyond the basics of food, water, shelter and protection from disease to consider not only what chickens need, but what they want. Farmers throughout the network developed enrichments that ranged from a chicken tree roosting structure to a double roosting ramp.
“The innovative designs that the Carpenter family and our network of family farmers have developed will encourage chickens to engage in their natural behaviors and interact with each other and their surroundings,” said Dr. Bruce Stewart-Brown, SVP of Food Safety, Quality and Live Production at Perdue. “At Perdue, our family farmers are the experts at raising healthy and happy chickens, and that’s why we turned to them to help us innovate new solutions to improve animal welfare. We look forward to implementing the winning inventions and seeing the positive impact of these innovations on creating a better environment for our chickens.”
Perdue Farms is a fourth-generation, family-owned, U.S. food and agriculture company. Through belief in responsible food and agriculture, the company is empowering consumers, customers and farmers through trusted choices in products and services. Learn more at www.perduefarms.com.