Types & Numbers of ChickenThe four categories of commercial chicken are:
For sources and notes for these figures see below: Notes for Table 2 & Notes for Table 3.
Number of Broilers Produced Annually WorldwideAbout 30 billion broilers are alive in any one year. Three countries produce over half of them (60 percent): US, China and Brazil. Worldwide the number of broilers is increasing by about a billion per year.
For the source and notes for these figures see below: Notes for Table 2.
Number of Egg-laying Hens WorldwideThere are five billion egg-laying hens worldwide. China produces most egg-laying hens (one in five) and the US is the second largest producer.
For the source and notes for these figures see below: Notes for Table 3.
Egg-layers produced 53 million tonnes of eggs in 2002 (The World Egg Industry - a few facts and figures. International Egg Commission).
Wild hens lay up to about 30 eggs each per year. But the chicken industry breeds and manipulates egg-laying hens to lay about 300 eggs each a year. The hens become exhausted, go for slaughter after one year and a new annual cycle begins with replacement hens. Exhausted egg-laying hens end up in pet food and cheap pies.
NotesA precise count of the number of chickens worldwide is impossible. Therefore figures in these tables are rounded to avoid spurious accuracy and totals do not necessarily add up.
Notes for Table 2
The source for the figures in Table 2 is Livestock and Poultry: World Markets and Trade. United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, Office of Global Analysis. Circular Series DL&P 2-07 November 2007. www.fas.usda.gov. (Web site accessed February 2008.)
Note that figures are in billions. Thus the total number of broilers produced for 2007 was about 32 billion.
The original United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data included only countries that are the major animal producers. Therefore the World Total in Table 2 is a minimum figure. USDA figures for 2007 are preliminary and for 2008 an estimate.
The original data from the USDA were in tonnes of ready to cook chickens, that is chickens minus heads, feet and internal organs. The live slaughter weight of US broilers, according to USDA information, averages around 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs); therefore ready to cook weight will be about 2 kg (4.4 lbs). Assuming US broilers are among the heaviest in the world, an average of 2 kg per broiler worldwide was used to generate the figures in Table 2 and these figures may therefore give a conservative estimate of broiler numbers.
USDA say they base their data on "USDA-FAS attaché reports, official statistics, and results of office research".
Notes for Table 3
The sources for Table 3 are The World Egg Industry - a few facts and figures. International Egg Commission. (Web site accessed February 2008.) The figure for Japan (for 2001) is from Hens & Eggs, Vegan Society, (web site accessed February 2008), citing Statement on the Welfare of Laying Hens , 2001. International Egg Commission.