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Poultry Farm

Information Assessment Sheet


Expansion to existing poultry farms and new poultry farms
This Poultry Farm Information Assessment Sheet is intended to assist assessment officers
and the poultry industry:

• Ensure new poultry farms are established in locations suitable to their operational
requirements and long term viability;
• Minimise the impact of poultry farms on incompatible / sensitive land uses and the
environment; and
• Ensure correct information is submitted at the start of the development application
process to expedite the assessment and determination of the development
application.

The use of this Information Assessment Sheet is voluntary and is not intended to regulate
or encroach on any other areas of legislative responsibility. The information is to be used
as a guide only.

The focus of the Information Assessment Sheet is on the two main commercial poultry
enterprises of meat chicken production and egg production. However, much of the
information can be applied to other commercial poultry industries such as duck farming
and free range operations.

This Information Assessment Sheet includes the following contents:

• A – Pre-Purchase / Due Diligence Checklist


• B – Town Planning Development Application Lodgement Checklist
• Appendix A Types of Poultry Farms & Support Facilities
• Appendix B Useful Terminology & Poultry Farming Overview
• Appendix C Useful Sources of Information / Reference Material
• Appendix D Example of a Site Plan (indicative only)
A. Pre-purchase / due diligence checklist
The following checklist identifies key issues for consideration when undertaking
investigations of potential locations for establishing a new poultry farm and expanding an
existing farm.

Consideration of potential issues and resolution at the early planning stage will minimise
the potential for conflict with neighbours, manage potential environmental impacts and
ensure the long term viability of the farm. Assessing Officers may wish to use this
checklist for enquiries and pre-lodgement meetings.
Note: References to specific standards / requirements in the following checklist are extracts from the draft
“Best Practice Technical Guide for the Meat Chicken Industry in Queensland”. For a comprehensive checklist
refer to the draft “Best Practice Technical Guide”, Appendix F: Best Environmental Practice Checklist.

Key Issue Best Management Practice # Yes N/A


Farm location and size
1. Planning Scheme Check the site has an appropriate land use zone / area for poultry farming
provisions (Check the planning scheme provisions applicable to the local government area)
Check the site can achieve the necessary separation distance from existing and
future urban or rural residential land uses and other sensitive land uses to ensure
there are no adverse odour, noise and dust impacts.
(Note: this is one of the key issues and will require further detailed investigation
if all the other criteria referred to in this Information Assessment Sheet are met)
Check for potential impacts of future land use planning within the surrounding
local area. (This information may be obtained from the relevant Council)
2. Locational The site should be located outside the following South East Queensland Regional
Requirements – Plan areas:
Hard Constraints • Urban Footprint
(Refer to DLGPSR • Rural Villages (including Schedule 5 list)
maps available at • Rural Living Area
Council) • Investigation Area
The site should be located outside Rural Residential zoned land
Sheds, roads and spent litter storage areas are to be located above the 1 in 100
year flood line
The site should be locate outside declared water catchments and watercourses:
• For a major water supply storage (any public water supply storage, lake,
lagoon, marsh or swamp) - 800 m buffer distance or as per authority
requirements
• For a watercourse – 100 m buffer distance or as per authority requirements

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Key Issue Best Management Practice # Yes N/A
Farm location and size
Locational The site should be located to ensure appropriate separation between poultry
Requirements – farms:
Hard Constraints • 1,000 m between existing or new meat chicken farm complex and any
(cont.) alternative form of intensive poultry farming
• 5 km between a meat chicken farm complex and a meat chicken breeder
farm
The location of sheds and access ways must avoid clearing endangered remnant
vegetation. The ability to clear other significant vegetation (eg of concern) on the
Regional Ecosystem maps should be checked. This is a legislative requirement.
Refer to the Department of Natural Resources & Water Regional Ecosystem maps.
(Website -
http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/nature_conservation/biodiversity/regional_ecosyste
ms/introduction_and_status/Regional_Ecosystem_Maps/)
3. Locational Avoid steep land for sheds and access ways:
Requirements – • Maximum ground slope for sheds – not exceeding 1:10 (10%)
Soft Constraints • Consider maximum grade for vehicular access (eg B-Doubles and semi-
(Refer to DLGPSR trailers)
maps available at (Note: steeper topography on the balance of the site can be used as a buffer to
Council) surrounding properties)
Locate sheds away from natural waterways, wetlands, habitat and biodiversity
areas where practical
Avoid sites in close proximity to gas or oil pipelines (i.e. 200m buffer)
4. Locational Consider proximity of the site to processing plants / abattoirs
Requirements – • Preferred maximum travel distance of 100 km
Opportunities Consider proximity of the site to feed mills / food supplies
(Refer to DLGPSR • Preferred maximum travel distance of 100 km
maps available at Consider proximity to major roads for delivery and pick up vehicles (avoid
Council) encouraging heavy vehicle transportation through residential areas)
5. Buffer / Ensure that adequate buffer distances can be provided to relevant features (eg
Separation water bodies, riparian zones)
Distances Consider separation distances and buffer zones to sensitive land uses and
property boundaries (eg residences, public meeting places etc)
(Note: this will require detailed assessment of potential odour, dust and noise
emissions to determine potential impacts)
Potential odour impacts will have significant impact on the size of the property
that is required to ensure necessary buffering can be achieved. The location of
the sheds and outlet fans in relation to the property boundaries can assist in
reducing impacts.
6. Infrastructure Access to suitable power supply:
• Three phase power
• Backup generator with automatic switch control
Access to suitable water supply (drinking and cooling):
• Town water supply or water treated to potable standard (require
approximately 2 litres of water for every kilogram of feed consumed)
• Backup supply for minimum 2 days total requirement
• If used, surface water is to be treated to an adequate standard

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Key Issue Best Management Practice # Yes N/A
Farm location and size
7. Infrastructure Consider proximity to external road access:
(cont). • All weather road access to property to accommodate anticipated types and
number of vehicles
Note: Whilst setting • Sufficient road width for turning on/off the site (possible need for
the sheds back from acceleration and deceleration lanes)
the road frontage • Site access located on a straight stretch of road with good visibility in both
makes the provision directions
of services such as
power and access • Site access is designed not to interfere with adjoining roads and located
more costly, away from other property entrances
appropriate shed
setbacks can help Internal road access / parking:
reduce potential • Traffic and parking – on-farm roads/parking is located to minimise noise and
adverse impacts.
vehicle light impacts to nearby sensitive land uses
• Accommodate all anticipated vehicles (eg semi-trailers and B-Doubles)
• Ensure internal road, manoeuvring and parking can meet local government
standards (eg gravel etc)
8. On-site spent litter An adequate area of suitable land is available for sustainable litter utilisation if it
utilisation is intended to apply spent litter on the farm
(Note: utilisation of on-site spent litter is a separate land use to the poultry farm
itself and may require a separate material change of use approval. Provisions for
the use of on-site spent litter are not addressed in this Information Assessment
Sheet)
9. Consideration of Potential impacts on neighbours are investigated through consideration of:
adjoining and • Wind directions
nearby neighbours • Use of natural buffers (eg topography, existing vegetation)
• Location of sheds
• Direction of exhaust fans
• Location of waste bins and spent litter
• Use of night lights
• Location of on-site driveways, pick up and loading areas and parking

After investigating the ‘pre-purchase / due diligence checklist’ issues, and prior to
proceeding with a sales contract and/or the preparation of a development application, it is
recommended that applicants arrange a pre-lodgement meeting with Council’s town
planning and environmental health officers.

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B. Town Planning development application lodgement checklist
The following checklist identifies key issues for consideration in the preparation,
lodgement and assessment of a town planning development application for establishing a
new poultry farm or expanding an existing farm.

This checklist does not cover:

• The Environmentally Relevant Activity (ERA) component of a development


application. Please note that an application for the ERA component must be
submitted to Council at the same time as the town planning application. It should
be noted there are a number of overlaps between the requirements for the town
planning component and the environmentally relevant activity component.
• The use of spent litter. The use of spent litter may be defined as a separate land
use activity to poultry farming and may require an independent development
approval.

Preparing and monitoring a development application under the Integrated Planning Act
1997 is not an easy task for applicants. The use of suitably qualified consultants is
therefore strongly recommended for the preparation of the development application (town
planning consultant) as well as any supporting technical report / studies.
Note: References to specific standards / requirements in the following checklist are extracts from the draft
“Best Practice Technical Guide for the Meat Chicken Industry in Queensland”. For a comprehensive checklist
refer to the draft “Best Practice Technical Guide”, Appendix F: Best Environmental Practice Checklist.

Checklist Detailed Description Yes N/A


General
1. IDAS Forms Mandatory (all applications):
• Part A – Common Details
• Part D – Material Change of Use
• Part G – Environmentally Relevant Activity
• IDAS Assessment Checklist (assists applicants to determine when an
application requires assessment by a Queensland State entity (eg Department
of Main Roads)
(Website: - http://www.ipa.qld.gov.au/idas/idasformsdevform1.asp)
Mandatory (subject to site specific details):
• Check all other IDAS forms (Parts A to P) to see if any are applicable eg Part J –
Clearing Native Vegetation
(Website – http://www.ipa.qld.gov.au/idas/idasformsdevform1.asp)
2. Application Fee Refer to Council’s Schedule of Fees – development application
• Planning component
• Environmental Relevant Activity (ERA) component
(Note: if the application triggers referral agencies check with each applicable
referral agency if an application fee applies).

Checklist Detailed Description Yes N/A


General (cont).
3. Type of Poultry Farm • Applicants must provide a clear description of the type of poultry farm being
proposed. Refer to Appendix A for definitions of the various types of poultry
farms (For example: meat chicken farm, egg farm, free range)
• Assessing Officers should state the type of poultry farm that is approved in the
development permit.
(Note: utilisation of on-site spent litter is a separate land use to the poultry farm
itself and may require a separate material change of use approval. Provisions for
the use of on-site spent litter are not addressed in this Information Assessment
Sheet).

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4. Maximum scale / • Applicants must provide a clear statement of the maximum number of birds to
intensity of use be housed on-site at any given time (any future increase in bird numbers over
this figure may require a new application)
(Note: Birds are raised in batches. The figure applies to the maximum number
of birds kept on site at any one time. It does not apply to the total number of
birds that may be kept on the farm in one year. For example: the maximum
number may be 100,000 birds. If there are 5 batches of birds in one year this
means that there will be 500,000 birds raised on that farm in one year.
However the maximum number of birds at any given time will be 100,000 birds)
• Assessing Officers should state the maximum number of birds permitted on site
at any given time in the approved development permit.
5. Proposal Description Provide a clear description of all proposed land use activities, including but not
limited to:
• Number of sheds
• Type of shed ventilation
• Maximum number of staff
• Staff car parking details
• Proposed landscaping
• Number and type of vehicle movements (eg maximum number of vehicles
including heavy vehicle movements per week, maximum size of vehicles,
manoeuvring and turning circle details, parking areas)
• Availability of necessary services / infrastructure (eg power, water etc)
6. Plans / Drawings Submit the following plans drawn to scale showing, but not limited to, the
following details (where applicable):
Location Plan
(Aerial photography may be used if it covers all applicable buildings)
• Separation distances from the outer edge of proposed sheds to any adjoining
residences and / or sensitive receiving environment (as defined in the
Environmental Protection Act and the planning scheme) within 2 km of the site
boundaries
• Separation distance to nearest poultry farms (if applicable): - 5 km to breeder
farms or 1 km to all other poultry farms
Site Plan (drawn to scale)
• All site boundaries
• Contours
• Location and size (dimensions) of all sheds and associated buildings /
structures
• Location of tunnel ventilation fans
• Location and size of spent litter storage area/s (stockpiles)
• Separation distances to all property boundaries
• Internal driveways, truck turning areas, parking areas
• Location and size of proposed stormwater detention dam
• Proposed landscaping buffer/s (refer to landscaping details)

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Checklist Detailed Description Yes N/A
General (cont).
Plans / Drawings • Other on-site features such as existing buildings not associated with the farm
(cont.) sheds (eg residence, sheds)
• Any existing stands of vegetation. Specify if remnant vegetation (check
Regional Ecosystem Maps)
• Any water bodies (eg bores, wells, wetlands, surface water, drains or water
courses) within 500 metres of the shed or enclosure.
• The 1 in 100 year flood level or areas of flood prone / low lying land.
• Location of any easements or building location envelopes
• Any aboriginal archaeological sites or other natural / cultural areas of
significant
Refer to Appendix D - Example of a Site Plan (indicative only)
Shed Plans:
• Shed floor plan
• Shed elevations
• External details on fans and cool cells
Landscaping Details:
• Landscaping details may be shown on a separate plan or included on the Site
Plan
• Issues for consideration (opportunity to improve visual amenity and reduce
noise, light and dust impacts):
o Use existing vegetation (where practical) and terrain to maximise visual
screening
o Use quick growing low maintenance plant species indigenous to the
local area (preferably with slender leaves)
o Use a variety of different size trees, shrubs and / or earthen mounds
(low, medium and high range screening)
o Use vegetation screening at the end of tunnel ventilated sheds;
preferable with a width of 8 m
Planting should be set back from sheds to allow for adequate airflow and fire
control
7. Supporting technical • Planning assessment report (including assessment of applicable planning
reports which may be scheme codes).
required • Odour assessment report (include spent litter utilisation areas if applicable).
Refer to draft “Best Practice Technical Guide for the Meat Chicken Industry in
Note: It is recommended
that Applicants Queensland – Appendix D (Calculating Separation and Buffer Distances)” for
undertake a preliminary guidance.
investigation of the • Noise assessment report (subject to proximity to other sensitive receiving
supporting technical environments)
report issues (i.e. odour, • Environmental or Farm Management Plan, detailing proposed farm practices
noise, environmental
values) and where and procedures (Note: this Plan does not need to be prepared by a consultant
applicable confirm with if the farm operator has suitable poultry farming experience)
the relevant Council • Environmental assessment report (flora and / or fauna) depending upon the
officers on the level of environmental values of the subject site and surrounds
technical detail required.
The preliminary • Traffic assessment report, depending upon the size and location of the farm
investigation material • On-site drainage and stormwater assessment report
should be submitted
with the development Notes:
application to 1. It is recommended that Applicants use qualified consultants to prepare the
demonstrate if a above technical reports.
supporting report is not 2. If Council does not have the expertise in-house to assess the technical reports,
required.
it is recommended that Council get an independent review by a suitably
qualified consultant, particularly for the odour assessment report.

Checklist Detailed Description Yes N/A


General (cont).
8. Pre-Purchase / Due The information that was obtained as part of the Pre-Purchase / Due Diligence
Diligence Checklist Checklist process should be submitted with the development application.
Location Issues
9. Proximity to existing The site should be located outside:
and future • The following South East Queensland Regional Plan areas:
development areas o Urban Footprint

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o Rural Villages (including Schedule 5 list)
o Rural Living Area
o Investigation Area
• Rural Residential zoned land
10. Declared water The farm is located outside declared water catchments and watercourses as
catchment areas, follows:
watercourses and • Major water supply storage (any public water supply storage, lake, lagoon,
biodiversity areas marsh or swamp) - 800 m buffer distance or as per authority requirements
• Watercourse – 100 m buffer distance
• Separation distances from biodiversity area will depend on individual
situations
11. Protection of surface The farm is designed and located to ensure surface and groundwaters are
and groundwaters protected.
12. Flood immunity The farm complex (sheds and spent litter stockpiles) and roads are located above
the 1 in 100 year flood line
13. Separation to other • 1,000 m between an existing or new meat chicken farm complex and any
poultry farms alternative form of intensive poultry farming
• 5 km between a meat chicken farm complex and a meat chicken breeder farm
14. Adjoining land uses • Identify existing sensitive land uses in the local area (eg 2 km radius)
and sensitive land • Adequate separation distances from sensitive land uses should be resolved
uses in the local area through the odour assessment process
• Consider potential future land use development on surrounding / adjoining
properties, particularly for sensitive land uses
15. Miscellaneous • Avoid loss of any good quality agricultural land (however, consider the use of
Location Issues surrounding agricultural land for buffer purposes)
• Avoid locating in close proximity to gas or oil pipelines (eg 200 m buffer)
External and on-site facilities
16. Reliable water supply • Town water supply or water treated to potable standard (require approximately
1.2 megalitres of water for every 100,000 birds housed)
• Back-up supply for minimum 2 days total requirements
• If used, surface water is to be treated to an adequate standard
• Water is required for drinking and cooling
17. Reliable power supply • Three phase power is available
• Backup generator with automatic switch control
18. External road access • All weather road access is required to the property to accommodate anticipated
types and number of vehicles
• Consider transport routes for transporting resources and products
• Ensure there is sufficient road width for turning on/off site (possible need for
acceleration and deceleration lanes, accommodate semi-trailers and B-doubles
if required)
• Site access is to be located on a straight stretch of road with good visibility in
both directions

Checklist Detailed Description Yes N/A


External and on-site facilities (cont.)
External road access • Site access is designed to not interfere with adjoining roads and is located
(cont.) away from other property entrances
• Siting and design is to minimise noise and vehicle light impacts to sensitive
land uses
19. Internal road access / • Traffic and parking - on-farm roads/parking is located to minimise noise, dust
parking and vehicle light impacts to nearby sensitive land uses
• Internal roads can accommodate all anticipated vehicles (eg semi-trailers and
B-Doubles)
• Internal road, manoeuvring and parking can meet local government standards
(eg gravel etc)
• Lighting of sheds and lighting from vehicles is not to interfere with nearby
sensitive land uses and adjoining properties
Farm Design
20. Consideration of Potential impacts on neighbours are addressed through careful consideration of:
adjoining and nearby • Wind directions
neighbours • Use of natural buffers (eg topography, vegetation)
• Location of sheds

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• Direction of exhaust fans
• Location of waste bins and spent litter
• Use of night lights
• Location of on-site driveways, pick up and loading areas and parking
• Use of non-reflective materials for sheds
21. Steep land Avoid steep land for sheds and access ways:
• Maximum ground slope for sheds - not exceeding 1:10 (10%)
• Consider maximum grade for vehicular access (eg B-Doubles and semi-trailers)
(Note: steeper topography on the balance of the site can be used as a buffer to
surrounding properties)
22. Shed Separation and Separation distances between sheds - minimum 15m, less for tunnel ventilated
Orientation sheds
Sufficient distance between sheds for collection from centre of sheds to reduce
noise and light impacts during bird pick-up
Long axis of sheds oriented in an east-west direction. Tunnel ventilated sheds
oriented to minimise odour, dust and noise impacts on surrounding community
23. Drainage System • Address on-site drainage, waste and stormwater handling facilities
• Shed floors, spent litter stockpiles (if any), stormwater detention dams (to
capture runoff from around the farm complex / controlled drainage area during
a rainfall event) designed to minimise impacts on surface water and
groundwater
• Raise base of shed above natural surface level or bund sheds to prevent entry
of stormwater runoff
• Ensure stormwater from the controlled drainage area freely drains to
stormwater detention facilities
• Consider use of vegetation such as grass swales to treat the quality of the
stormwater runoff
• Can captured runoff from stormwater detention dams be irrigated back onto
trees, grass, crops or pasture when weather conditions permit?
24. Ventilation System • Shed design to provide adequate ventilation to maintain bird health (refer to
Best Practical Technical Guide for details)
• Locate any extraction fans to direct any exhaust air away from sensitive land
uses to minimise potential impact from odour, dust and noise

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Checklist Detailed Description Yes N/A
Farm Design (cont.)
25. Feeding and Watering Feeding and watering systems to be designed to supply sufficient feed and water
Systems to chickens (refer to draft Best Practice Technical Guide for details)
26. Monitoring and • Automatic controllers for feed, water, fans and blinds (temperature and
Control Systems ventilation)
• Alarms (preferably visual and telemetry) to alert farm manager of malfunctions
or extended abnormal shed conditions
Farm Management
27. Issues for • Erosion management during construction
consideration
• Stock density (compliance with Animal Care and Protection Regulation 2002)
• Clean bedding material
• Litter clean-out and spent litter storage and composting:
o Avoid contamination of surface water/groundwater
o Minimise amenity impacts (odour, dust and noise)
o Avoid disease transmission and excessive fly breeding
• Traffic (both farm and contractor operator vehicles) managed to ensure off-site
impacts of noise, dust and light are minimised
• Use of energy and eco-efficiency measures (eg automatic control systems,
regular maintenance etc)
• Waste management - waste quantities produced, the method of treatment,
recycling and disposal
• Litter management for health of flock and to minimise off-site odour, dust and
ammonia impacts (including clean-out, spent litter storage, composting and
utilisation)
• Control of pest and disease vectors (including managing manure/litter beetles,
flies, rodents, feral animals, contact with native animals and wild birds)
• Dead bird disposal management
• Biosecurity protocols are followed by persons / vehicles entering and leaving
the site to avoid cross contamination
• Shed, plant and equipment maintenance to minimise odour and dust
emissions and to avoid excessive noise
• Minimise noise and light impacts to neighbours during delivery of feed and
harvesting of birds
• Safe chemical and fuel storage and use
• Contingency plans for dealing with extremes and emergencies (eg high
temperatures, power & water supply failure, mass bird deaths)
• Preparation of Environmental Management System farm plan or similar. This
provides a structure for documenting:
o The environmental risks of the farm
o How these risks are managed
o The effectiveness of design and management strategies through
monitoring
o Any required reporting of monitoring results
o Any identified or implemented improvements
Refer to the draft Best Practice Technical Guide for details on the above issues

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Appendix A – Types of poultry farms and support facilities
A. Summary:
Farms: Support Facilities:

(a) Breeder Farm (e) Feed Mill


(b) Hatchery (f) Processing Plant
(c) Meat Chicken Farm
• Free Range Meat Chicken Farm
(d) Egg Production
• Pullet Rearing Farm
• Layer Farm
• Free Range Egg Farm

B. Descriptions:
(a) Breeder Farms – Using parent breeding stock from the national breeder farms, fertile
eggs are produced for use in either egg or meat production. Breeding commences at
approximately 6 months of age and continues until the end of their commercial
reproductive life at 16 months of age. At the end of their productive phase, breeders are
removed for processing for meat or by-products. Breeding farms may incorporate cage,
slatted floor or litter-based systems. The fertile eggs that the breeding chickens produce
are collected daily and stored for transport to the hatchery.

(b) Hatcheries – Hatcheries are usually located on a separate property from the breeder
farm. A small number of hatcheries supply the entire poultry industry within Queensland.
Eggs from breeder farms are incubated at hatcheries until they hatch. Day-old chicks from
the hatchery are transported to either meat chicken farms or egg farms.

(c) Meat Chicken Farms (also referred to as Broiler Farms) – Batches of day old chicks are
delivered to meat chicken farms. Here they are raised within large naturally or
mechanically ventilated sheds until harvested.
• Day old chicks are usually placed in an insulated hot air brooding section (usually half
of the shed), which occupies about one third to half of the shed. As the chickens
grow, the floor space is increased over the next 10 to 14 days with the chicks
ultimately occupying the entire shed.
• Meat chickens feed on demand from automatic feeders filled from bulk bins or silos.
Drinking water is continually available through designated waterers.
• The meat chickens are reared on litter, which may consist of sawdust, wood shavings,
paper or chopped straw, depending on availability, price and absorbency.

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Meat Chicken Farms (cont.)
• There is a number of different clean-out regimes used in the industry. These are:
o Full cleanouts where all the litter is removed at the end of a batch. The shed is
then washed and disinfected before fresh bedding is placed back into the shed
for the next batch of chickens.
o Partial cleanouts where litter is removed from the brooding section of the shed
and this section is washed and disinfected and new bedding is placed back in
the brooder for the next batch of chickens. Sometimes the spent litter remaining
in the shed will be windrowed and allowed to heat up for 4-6 days before being
respread.
o Full reuse involves leaving all the litter where it is and possibly covering up the
spent litter in the brooder area with a thin coating of new bedding. This would
normally only occur if there was a very short time between batches due to an
unexpected peak in production.
• Sheds are mostly 100-150m long and 12-20m wide and house approximately 20,000
to 50,000 meat chickens. Most farms have 3 to 4 sheds, with newer farms generally
having a larger number of sheds.
• Meat chickens are generally raised in batches and when they reach market age they
are caught (generally at night), placed in crates and transported to processing plants.
Part of the flock is usually processed after about 5 weeks (first thin-out), with the
majority of the flock harvested between 6 to 8 weeks of age.
• Sheds are generally empty for one to two weeks after bird harvest for shed cleanout
and disinfection between batches.
• Farms usually raise 5 to 6 batches of meat chickens per year.
• Most growers have contracts with meat chicken integrators.(Chicken Meat Industry
Committee Act 1976)

Note: A meat chicken farm complex includes the sheds used to produce meat chickens
and associated infrastructure (e.g. silos) and any nearby spent litter/compost stockpiles.
It excludes any spent litter utilisation areas. For tunnel ventilated sheds it includes a
distance of 25 m out from the exhaust end of the sheds.

Free Range Meat Chicken Farms – Free Range farming is a system of poultry farming
that does not confine birds to cages or a poultry house, but instead allows them access to
pasture during daylight hours. Birds have access to indoor shelter for night and
inclement weather conditions.

(d) Egg Production – There are two types of farms associated with egg production:

1. Pullet Rearing Farms: Pullets are young hens normally less than six months of age.
Pullets may be raised by the egg farmer, or by specialist pullet growers. At 16 weeks
of age, when the birds are nearly mature, they are transferred to layer houses for
commencement of egg production.

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Egg Production (cont.)
2. Layer Farms: Layer farms usually employ a caged system (birds are continuously
housed in cages within a shed), due to its production and labour efficiency. However
barn systems (birds are free to roam within a shed which may or may not have vertical
levels. The floor may be based on litter or other material such as slats or wire mesh)
or free range systems (birds range outdoors and have indoor shelter for night and
inclement weather conditions) are also used.
• Layer farms operate on a 12 to 18 month cycle depending on whether birds are
purchased from Hatcheries as day old chicks or from Pullet Growing Farms at
point of lay.
• Layer farms vary in size but the average is approximately 12,000 hens
• Most layers remain in production for 14 months after which they are sold to
poultry abattoirs for processing.
• On average the eggs are picked up twice per week by an Integrators / processors
pick-up truck for transportation to a central grading floor for grading and retail
distribution.

3. Free Range Egg Farms – Free Range farming is a system of poultry farming that does
not confine birds to cages or a poultry house, but instead allows them access to
pasture during daylight hours. Birds have access to indoor shelter for night and
inclement weather conditions.

(e) Feed Mills – Most feed is supplied from mills owned and operated by the vertically
integrated chicken companies. The remainder is supplied by commercial feed mills,
formulating diets to the nutritional specifications determined by the chicken companies.
The location of company feed mills is driven largely by transport costs, so most major
feed mills are close to significant areas of chicken farming, although access to feed
ingredients is also a factor.

(f) Processing Plants – Chickens are taken directly from the growing farms to the
processing plant where they are unloaded from their transport crates or modules,
slaughtered, plucked, cleaned, cooled and graded. They are then either packaged and
frozen or chilled, or processed further (called Further Processing Plants) into various
products prior to packaging and sale to distributors. Processing plants are very large,
highly mechanised operations.

Poultry processing plants have developed close to markets and labour sources, with
many of the largest operations within 50km of a capital city. This keeps distribution and
transport costs down and ensures labour and other services are available. Meat chicken
farms are generally within 100km of the processing plant.

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Appendix B – Useful terminology & poultry farming
0verview
Contents:
A. Useful Terminology

B. Poultry Farming Overview

A. Useful Terminology
(a) Farmers / Growers – provide labour, management, shedding, equipment and bedding
material. Farmer who provides shedding and the care of birds from when they arrive on
the farm until they are removed for processing.

(b) Integrators / Processors – ‘Vertical integration’ is a common feature of the poultry


industry, particularly the meat poultry industry. An ‘integrator’ (invariably the processing
company) owns and operates various stages of the production process, which may
include breeding stock, breeding farms, feed mills, hatcheries and processing facilities.
Some of these integrated production companies also operate poultry growing farms,
however the majority of growing farms are owned by independent farmers operating
under contract to the company operating the poultry processing facility. Integrators also
provide day old chicks, feed, medication, technical advice and chicken pick-up crews and
transport. There are only a few integrators / processors operating within South East
Queensland.

(c) Environmentally Relevant Activity (ERA): Poultry farms are an environmentally


relevant activity that is devolved to local government.
• Level 1 ERA – A poultry farm with a total holding capacity exceeding 200,000
birds. Requires development permit and registration certificate.
• Level 2 ERA – A poultry farm with a total holding capacity of 1,000 to 200,000
birds. Requires development permit and registration certificate.

(d) Bio-security – protecting the flock from introduced disease. This governs farm planning
and operations. The aim is to prevent disease outbreaks and avian disease transmission
from one poultry property to another. There should be one kilometre between poultry
farms and five kilometres between a breeder farm and other poultry farms. The distance
between on-site sheds is at the operator’s discretion.

(e) Poultry Litter – a mixture of manure and sawdust or other absorbent bedding material.
(This is different to ‘manure’ which is 100% bird droppings).

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B. Poultry Farming Overview
1. General Practice:

• Usually involve night time activities (i.e. catching and loading chickens for
transportation).
• Meat chicken farms usually raise 5 to 6 batches of meat chickens per year.
• Indication of costs of establishing farm (eg approximately $450,000 per shed for
40,000 birds plus site works, roads, water, power and associated infrastructure) and
need to protect from encroachment
• Involves the use of tunnel and / or naturally ventilated sheds for both meat chicken
farms and egg production
• Meat chickens are raised on litter and egg production usually involves raising birds in
cages or on litter. In caged systems, droppings fall through the bottom of the cage to
accumulate on the floor below or onto conveyor belts. In litter-based systems, birds are
kept on sawdust, wood shavings or other absorbent material over a compacted floor.
• Formulated feed is provided via automated delivery systems and drinking water is
reticulated to the birds.

2. What Growers look for:


• A nearby feed mill
• Guaranteed water supply
• Guaranteed electric power, preferably three phase
• Access for heavy transport for feed and live poultry
• Available labour, depending on farm size
• Available services such as tradesmen, servicemen and veterinarians

3. Cost of Facilities:
The cost of poultry industry facilities is very high:
• An average plant that processes 200,000 birds each week costs $20 million
• An integrated operation incorporating feed mill, fertile egg production, hatcheries, grow-
out and processing facilities takes about $100 million in fixed and operating capital.
• A typical family farm would house 100,000 meat chickens and produce a total of
550,000 birds a year in several batches. The average investment in each poultry farm is
around $3 million, including land value.
(Source: 2005 Australian Chicken Meat Federation Inc website)

4. Odour:

• During the cleaning of shed (when litter/manure is disturbed) ammonia and other
odours are released in greater than normal quantities and it is at this time that most
complaints are received.
• Cleaning and removal of litter/manure from sheds is usually done in a matter of hours
and is a small percentage of the bird growing cycle.

Odour (cont.)
• All poultry litter/manure usually contains at least some water. This is essential to avoid
dust problems, allow for ease of handling, and promote a suitable environment for
beneficial insects and other organisms. Ideally, litter and manure will be sufficiently dry
to be friable (i.e. contain water levels of approximately 25 - 30%). Excessively wet litter
is the most likely source of offensive odour.

June 2007 15
• Excessive odour from decaying litter and manure usually signals a breakdown in best
management practices or inappropriate feed formulation.

5. Free Range Farms (additional details):


• Birds must be able to range during daylight hours.
• The rangeland must be productive (i.e. covered with palatable vegetation). If it becomes
barren, it must be rotated.
• Density restrictions of a maximum number of live bird per square metre apply to both
the shed and range.
• Hens must have:
o Permanent access to weather proof shelter with dry litter or slatted floor, and
equipped with feeders, drinkers, nesting boxes and perches
o Adequate shade
o Protection from predators at all times
• Bio-security issues: -
o No feed or water (eg dams) on the ranges as this attracts wild birds
o Discourage wild birds - keep the grass cut short (avoiding grass seeds), select
shade trees that do not attract birds, and use scarecrows and various devices that
discourage wild birds
o Irrigation water that has not come from a closed source is to be treated if used
within two weeks of birds having access to the range.
• Only natural foods are permitted with vitamin and minerals as required for the bird’s
welfare. Natural foods may include grains, green feed, and meat by-products (with an
antioxidant added).
• Induced moulting and beak trimming are not allowed and antibiotics can only be used
under veterinary advice for treatment of illness.
• If artificial lights are used, the combination of natural and artificial light should not
exceed fifteen hours a day.

June 2007 16
Appendix C – Useful sources of information / reference
material

1. Draft ‘Best Practice Technical Guide for the Meat Chicken Industry in Queensland’ [Copies
available by contacting the Chicken Growers Association on (07) 3837 4767]

2. Maps applicable to the location of new poultry farms in South East Queensland, prepared by
Department of Local Government, Planning, Sport and Recreation (DLGPSR), including:
• Hard Constraints for Location of New Poultry Farms Map 1 of 4 (June 2007)
• Soft Constraints for Location of New Poultry Farms Map 2 of 4 (June 2007)
• Hard and Soft Constraints for Location of New Poultry Farms Map 3 of 4 (June 2007)
• Opportunities for Location of New Poultry Farms Map 4 of 4 (June 2007)

3. Development application forms (IDAS forms):

www.ipa.qld.gov.au/idas/idasformsdevform1.asp

4. Remnant vegetation check (Department Natural Resources and Water regional ecosystem
maps)

www.epa.qld.gov.au/nature_conservation/biodiversity/regional_ecosystems/introduction_
and_status/Regional_Ecosystem_Maps/

5. ‘National Environmental Management System for the Chicken Meat Industry’, Publication No.
03/038, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC)

6. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) website:

www.rirdc.gov.au

June 2007 17
Appendix D – Example of a site plan (indicative only)

The following items, where applicable, should be illustrated on a Site Plan drawn to scale:

… North point
… Scale bar
… Contours
… Property boundaries and adjoining properties
… Existing buildings and structures not associated with the farm sheds (eg residence,
sheds)
… Location and size (dimensions) of all sheds and associated buildings /
structures
… Location of tunnel ventilation fans
… Existing internal roads / driveways
… Proposed roads / driveways, pick up and loading areas, turning areas and
parking
… Location and size of proposed stormwater detention dam
… Any water bodies (eg bores, wells, wetlands, surface water, drains or water courses)
within 500 metres of the shed or enclosure.
… The 1 in 100 year flood level or areas of flood prone / low lying land.
… Location of any easements, building location envelopes or other
encumbrances
… Any aboriginal archaeological sites or other natural / cultural areas of
significant
… Any existing stands of vegetation:
o Existing remnant vegetation (check Regional Ecosystem Maps)
o Existing non-remnant stands of vegetation
… Proposed landscaping buffer/s (refer to landscaping details in Checklist)
… Location and size of spent litter storage area/s (stockpiles)
… Separation distances:
• Sheds to closest property boundaries
• Nearest shed to water bodies
• Nearest shed to stormwater detention dam
• Nearest shed to road
• Separation distances between sheds
• Nearest shed to adjoining dwellings and noise sensitive places

An example of a Site Plan (indicative only) is attached.

June 2007 18
June 2007 19