In 2002, 54.7 million broiler chickens were reared on Dutch chicken farms, nearly one and a half million more than in the record year 1999. Compared with 2001, the number rose substantially: by nine percent. Per capita consumption of chicken meat has also increased in the Netherlands.
The number of broiler chicken farms, on the other hand, has decreased steadily: from more than 1,800 in 1980 to around 1,100 in 2002.
Broiler chickens and broiler chicken farms
Fifty thousand broilers on average
In 1980 three-quarters of broiler chicken farms reared fewer than 25 thousand chickens. In 2002 only one quarter of chicken farms had fewer than 25 thousand birds, accounting for eight percent of all broiler chickens.
Two-thirds of all broiler chickens are reared on farms with over 50 thousand birds. There are now 440 of these large chicken farms. A broiler chicken farmer has 50 thousand birds on average, twice as many as twenty years ago.
Number of broiler chickens per province, 1980 and 2002
Most broiler chickens in North Brabant; growth in Groningen
Over thirty percent of broiler chickens are reared on farms in the province of North Brabant. This proportion has fallen slightly in recent years. The share of broiler chickens has fallen most strongly in the province of Limburg, from 15 percent in 1980 to 8 percent in 2002. The largest increase was in Groningen, from just over three percent in 1980 to nearly ten percent in 2002.