It’s a question that comes up a lot in the fast food world. After all, McDonald’s is one of the biggest and most popular fast food chains in the world, with thousands of locations across the globe. And while it’s easy to assume that McDonald’s has its own farms where it raises all of its chicken, this isn’t necessarily true
. In fact, many people aren’t even aware that McDonald’s uses chicken at all! But they do—and here we’ll explain where they get their chicken and how they prepare it for you to enjoy (or not).
Where Does McDonald’s Get Their Chicken?
If you’re a McDonald’s fan, chances are you’ve wondered how the fast-food chain gets its chicken. After all, it can be hard to find out where your food comes from these days. Fortunately, McDonald’s is pretty transparent about their process—and it all starts with raising the chickens themselves.
The company works with over 700 independent family farms in the United States to raise their chickens. These farms are located across the country and vary in size, but they all work to give the best quality of life possible to the chickens they raise. This includes providing them with room to roam and plenty of fresh water and food options as well as clean living quarters.
What are the living conditions for the chickens? Do they have access to food and water?
The chickens that supply McDonald’s with their chicken are raised in a clean and safe environment, where they have access to food and water.
The chickens are kept in an air-conditioned barn, where they can roam freely on the floor. This allows them to get the exercise they need to stay healthy, while also ensuring that their feet do not get injured by walking on wire mesh.
The birds are fed a diet of corn and soybean meal (which is made from corn or soybeans). The feed is given to them twice daily, so that they are always well-fed and never hungry.
What happens to the chickens when they are no longer producing enough eggs for McDonald’s needs?
You might be wondering what happens to the chickens when they are no longer producing enough eggs for McDonald’s needs. Well, they don’t just get thrown away. Instead, they go on to live out their days in a sanctuary.
The chickens are usually around six months old when they are retired from their egg-laying duties and sent to one of two sanctuaries where they will spend the rest of their lives (they can live up to 20 years).
- The first is called “Hatcheries” and is located in Tekamah, Nebraska.
- The second is called “Shelter,” which is located outside of Grand Island, Nebraska.
Both sanctuaries were built specifically for these chickens and have everything they need to be happy: plenty of space to roam around outside and inside; toys; other chickens and roosters to interact with; treats like corn on the cob; and even doggie daycare!
Do McDonald’s use any antibiotics in the production process? If so, why is this necessary?
Sadly, McDonald’s does use antibiotics in the production of some of their chicken.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) allows for the use of a number of antibiotics in chickens, including penicillin, amoxicillin and tetracyclines. These are used to prevent and treat diseases that can affect poultry during its life or at slaughter. These include respiratory infections, skin infections and diarrhea caused by bacteria such as Clostridium perfringens, E. coli and salmonella.
What kind of waste is generated by the chickens being raised by McDonald’s (for example: feces, feathers)?
One of the biggest concerns surrounding McDonald’s chicken is the amount of waste that it generates. The company’s farm-raised chickens produce a lot of feces and feathers, which can be a risk to public health if they are not properly disposed of.
And while the company has taken some steps to reduce its environmental impact, such as switching from Styrofoam cups to paper cups and recycling grease trap water, there is still room for improvement.
How long does it take to raise a chicken? (Organic, Antibiotic-Free)
A chicken takes about 7 months to grow from the time it’s hatched until it can be butchered.
McDonald’s chickens are usually born in hatcheries, where they are fed with food and water before being transported to farms. On the farm, they will be fed with corn, wheat, soy and other grains.
At this point, the chickens are still small so they will spend their days eating, drinking and roaming around the farm.
After a couple of months, they start to look like adults and are ready to lay eggs. This can take another two months or so before they start laying eggs regularly and all year round instead of just during certain seasons like other animals do (like cows or sheep).
What are the environmental impacts of raising chickens?
The environmental impacts of raising chickens can be broken down into three major categories: food, water, and eggs.
The production of food to feed chickens uses a lot of resources. It takes about 2 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of chicken meat, which means that a lot of land and water is used to grow enough crops to feed all the chickens in factory farms. Chicken waste also contains ammonia and nitrates, which pollute groundwater when it’s dumped onto fields or stored in lagoons.
Hens on factory farms are kept in cages so small they can’t even spread their wings. They’re often fed antibiotics because the conditions in which they’re kept make them more vulnerable to disease than hens raised outdoors on pastureland would be. The antibiotics that go into the water runoff from these farms are killing off coral reefs around the world!
How much space do they have to move around?
The chickens at McDonald’s are kept in cages. They can move around a bit, but they can’t fly or run, and their wings are clipped. The cages are stacked on top of each other in rows and columns, so they’re not able to see much of the outside world.
There is a water dispenser at the front of each cage, but the chickens cannot reach it. There is also a food dispenser at the front of each cage, but the chickens cannot reach that either—they have to wait for someone to come by and push food through an opening in their cage.
McDonald’s egg suppliers follow strict guidelines set forth by the American Humane Association (AHA), which include:
No cages or crowded conditions
No forced molting
No live transport of hens
McDonald’s chickens are raised in the United States and Canada in facilities that are not open to the public or even other suppliers. These facilities are called “buildings,” and each one houses about 4,000 chickens at a time.
They get their chicken from farms.
The farms are in the USA, Canada, Brazil, and China.
The farms where they get the chickens have been approved by McDonald’s to supply them with food.
The farms that supply McDonald’s with chickens do not use any drugs on their animals, including antibiotics or hormones (like steroids).
McDonald’s buys their chicken from Tyson Foods, who have a system in place that allows them to sell chicken at an incredibly low cost.
McDonald’s purchases more than 100 million pounds of chicken every year in the United States alone—that’s about 4 billion McNuggets! We also purchase about 3 billion eggs every year for use in our restaurants.
Our suppliers are required to source their chickens from suppliers who meet our animal welfare and food quality requirements. These chickens come from a variety of countries, including the United States, Canada, Brazil.
We have strict guidelines in place to ensure that our suppliers only use antibiotics responsibly. This includes animals only being treated when they are unwell and not routinely or as a growth promoter.