COLES’ LAUNCHES SLOW HILLS CHICKEN


Chicken RSPCA Approved / 27th Feb 2020

Coles has a new range of chicken for foodies, and it’s slightly different to what consumers across Australia will be used to.

Back in 2014 Coles were the first Australian supermarket to commit to sourcing only from RSPCA Approved farms for their own brand of fresh chicken, and today, all their Own Brand fresh chicken is farmed to RSPCA Approved Standards. Giving hundreds of millions of chickens a better quality of life, by having access to perches, good quality dry litter, enough space to move, flap and stretch their wings, and good lighting periods to allow proper rest. Coles have extended this commitment to chicken used as an ingredient in their Own Brand products by the end of 2020, and have expanded their free range lines, which are also farmed to RSPCA Approved Standards.

Continuing on their journey for better chicken welfare, Coles have launched a new chicken breed into Australian supermarkets, called Slow Hills. The Slow Hills breed is from the poultry genetics company Hubbard and matures slower than current breeds available in Australia. These birds gain weight at a slower rate and, compared with conventional breeds, only gain approximately 60% of the weight of their conventional cousins in the same amount of time which is purely down to their genetics. These slow growing birds are fed a full and nutritious diet and well cared for to the RSPCA Approved standards.

Slow Hills chicken growers have observed that these birds aren’t quite the ordinary chook either. Anecdotally they have found them to be more active and bold when exploring outside the shed. A Slow Hills chicken grower told the RSPCA, “As a poultry farmer for 24 years, I can honestly say that this breed of chicken is the best I have ever seen and raised on my farm. Full of energy and curiosity. They grow slower and explore outside so well, utilising the maximum outdoor range area.”

Coles customers may find that Slow Hills chicken is slightly different to what they’re used to having on their plate, and it’s the slower growth that really is key to this. Coles Development Chef, Michael Weldon says that as the birds mature more slowly, the fibres in the chicken are more tender and you get a more succulent breast, and as the legs do more work, they have a full and succulent flavour. “Because the chicken has more flavour, the less you have to do as a cook to get an outstanding roast,” he said.

Even the Slow Hills chicken grower we spoke to and his family have noticed the difference, “We were pleasantly surprised at how wonderful it tasted and everyone in the family thoroughly enjoyed the meal. We will continue to buy Slow Hills at our local supermarket.”

Slow Hills chicken are raised on free range farms in NSW and to the RSPCA Approved Standards. The range is available now in selected Coles supermarkets across Australia.

Want more? Coles’ free range RSPCA Approved chicken – ranging further across Australia or Meet the people and farms behind Coles free range pork 

4 comments

  1. It is sad news when we congratulate farmers for producing a ‘slow’ chicken, instead of a natural chicken. It is sad news that we describe a chicken as ‘more active and bold’, but kill it anyway. It is sad news that a ‘chicken grower’ has to endorse this type of chicken as a wonderful meal, when they could hardly say otherwise.

  2. Does the RSPCA also track the transport and the handling of chickens at the slaughter factory? Does the RSPCA inspect (without notice) the working conditions of employees including the speed of the rotary?

    • Hi Wendy, thanks for your comment. The RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme Standards set specific requirements and criteria related to the transportation, handling, stunning and slaughter of meat chickens. You can read more of the detail within these standards on our website here: https://rspcaapproved.org.au/join#standards Included in these standards is the requirement for CCTV in any areas where live birds are handled or processed at abbatoirs. CCTV must also be routinely monitored by authorised staff to ensure standards are maintained.

      Assessment of farms against the Standards is a critical aspect of the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme. RSPCA Approved farms are visited by an RSPCA Assessor 2–4 times a year, with additional unscheduled visits. Assessors also conduct yearly assessments at abattoirs, where chickens from RSPCA Approved farms are sent for slaughter, to ensure they are meeting the requirements.

    • Wendy Rice has some good questions to which I would like to read the reply from the RSPCA. I would expect the RSPCA to say they do adhere to all Wendy’s questions, but it would be even better to read the reply from the RSPCA.

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