I'm a fan of impressive, mind-blowing statistics - which lead me down the path of finding out how many chickens are eaten a day across the world!
The numbers are absolutely staggering!
Here is what I was able to find out:
How Many Chickens Are Eaten a Day?*
To give you the best estimate off the top, it's estimated that around 197 million chickens are eaten every day across the world.
The size of that number took me by surprise, as I'm sure it did for you.
In numbers, that looks like this - 197,000,000!
Here is an overview of some key chicken-eating stats:
- In the United States, approximately eight billion chickens are eaten each year. That's about 22 million chickens being eaten every day!
- In the UK, it's estimated that around 800 million chickens are eaten each year. That's 2.2 million chickens being eaten every day!
- According to this article, China is responsible for eating 9.3 billion chickens a year. That's around 25 million chickens eaten every day!
- Overall, it's estimated that 72 billion chickens are butchered and eaten around the world every year. That means around 197 million chickens are eaten every day!
Wow, just wow.
Which Country Eats the Most Chicken?
Records indicate that China is responsible for eating the most chicken, although this shouldn't come as a surprise as China has the largest population of any country.
Still, you would expect China to eat more chicken when you compare how similar their consumption numbers are compared to the US.
This is because chicken isn't the first choice for most meat-eaters in China, pork is.
Related - Looking to start your own backyard flock? Check out our hatchery listing by state here.
A Look at Chicken Consumption by Country
According to indexmundi*, chicken consumption by country for the top 10 looks like this:
- 1. United States
- 2. China
- 3. European Union
- 4. Brazil
- 5. India
- 6. Mexico
- 7. Russia
- 8. Japan
- 9. Argentina
- 10. Malaysia
*This data is taken from 2016, unfortunately, I wasn't able to find a reliable list that was more up to date!
How Are So Many Chickens Produced Commercially?
There are a few key methods used in commercial chicken production, these include:
- Intensive farming
- Free-range farming
- Organic farming
The most common method of commercial chicken production is intensive farming.
This is where chickens are kept in conditions that are carefully controlled in order to maximize their growth and meat production.
This method is often criticized as it can lead to poor welfare for the chickens.
Free-range farming is where chickens are allowed to roam freely and have access to the outdoors.
Organic farming is a method of chicken production that adheres to strict guidelines set out by organic certification bodies.
The latter two methods of chicken production have the best welfare standards for chickens, and honestly, the meat tastes a lot better when it comes from happy, free-ranging chickens.
But the obvious problem is that there just would be no way to produce the 72 billion chickens required each year in a free-ranging environment.
At least not in a sustainable and cost-effective way.
What Country Produces the Most Chickens?
According to Statista, the top chicken producing countries in the world are:
- United States
As you can see, the top producing countries are among the top consumers.
This is normal with produce that can be farmed or harvested in the countries that want to consume it as it's more cost-effective that way.
How Long Does It Take for Broiler Chickens to Grow?
The majority of chicken that finds its way onto the supermarket shelves is from what is known as 'broiler' chickens.
The term broiler refers to any chicken that is raised for the purpose of meat, regardless of the breed.
Obviously, breeds that are inexpensive to feed up and grow into nice fat birds are the main breeds that are used for broilers.
Most broilers reach butchering age between just 12-18 weeks of age when they're around 4 lbs in weight.
This is a stark contrast to heritage breeds of chicken that can take up to 24 weeks to mature.
The main reason for this difference in grow-out time is the difference in body composition.
Broiler chickens are bred to have large breast muscles and fewer feathers, meaning they put on weight a lot faster.
Related - Broilers can lay eggs, too, here's how!
So there you have it, everything you ever wanted to know (and probably more) about how many chickens are eaten a day and every year across the globe!
*I did my very best to verify the numbers in this post with more than one reliable source. But as you can appreciate, no one is keeping a 100% accurate account of every chicken processed and eaten daily, or even annually.