The Poultry Industry One of the fastest growing segments of the animal industry Consumption *Worldwide consumption of poultry is increasing *Per capita consumption of broilers is 90 pounds *generally accepted in most cultures Largest Producers in the world are China the countries of the former Soviet Union United States The Broiler Industry Today, almost all of the poultry is raised in large operations the term broiler refers to chickens which are about 7-8 weeks of age and are raised for meat concentrated in the South East leading states are Arkansas, Georgia, and Alabama majority of broilers raised in this country are raised on contract Broiler Houses raised in large houses where the birds spend most of their lives designed to provide the ultimate in environmental conditions for the comfort of the birds. generally lighted 24 hours a day helps cut down on cannibalism Cannibalism according to research, fitting birds with red contact lenses helps to decrease cannibalism not a common practice because of the cost. Broiler Production process begins with the production of eggs that will be hatched into chicks. Parents are selected from breeds that are large and muscular different in appearance from those chickens used to produce eggs for consumption Layers are selected on their ability to lay eggs most are hybrids derived from mating of different breeds usually mated through artificial insemination results in heterosis or hybrid vigor Hybrid Vigor the resulting offspring are healthier and outproduce the average of their parents. most are white colored birds have pigmentation spots in their skin which is undesirable to the consumer Egg Production eggs are expelled from the hens body and the embryo develops outside the mother’s body. Eggs are encased in a hard shell and can weigh several ounces most mammal eggs are microscopic process begins with the release of the ovum (yolk) from the ovary if the female has been mated, the ovum will be fertilized within the infundibulum. The albumin or white of the egg is secreted by cells in the magnum. Chalazae is formed it is a ropelike substance which holds the yolk in place in the center of the egg. Inner and outer shell membranes are formed in the isthmus the shell is formed in the uterus in 18-20 hours the shell is completed and moves to the vagina and out of the hens body. hens prefer nesting boxes that are enclosed gives the chickens a feeling of security some facilities collect eggs with the use of a conveyor belt the egg rolls out of the nest box and onto the belt eggs must be kept clean and free from contamination if the egg becomes soiled it will not be used for hatching dirt may be easily scrubbed off the egg this process can press dirt into the shell and removes the protective coating on the egg Egg hatching eggs are stored at 70-80 degrees until being placed in the hatchery within 48 hours after incubation begins the embryo has developed a circulatory system circulatory system sustains life by carrying nourishment from the yolk to the embryo eggs are turned at least two times per day turning eggs keeps the embryo from sticking to the inside of the shell by the end of the first week, embryos are recognizable as chickens after two weeks, the chicks are covered with down incubation takes about 21 days. After hatching, chicks are removed from the incubator, dried off, cleaned, and placed in a warm dry environment. The chicks are sexed and separated into groups. At one day of age chicks are vaccinated and the beaks are trimmed to prevent canabalism. Chicks are then placed in ventilated cardboard boxes to be shipped to the broiler house. Before the chicks arrive at the broiler house it must be cleaned and disinfected. Fresh bedding is placed in the house. Heaters, called brooders are suspended from the ceiling to keep the birds warm. Chicks are usually kept in the broiler house for seven to eight weeks. At that time they weigh about 4 1/2 pounds and are ready for market. When the broilers are transported to the processing plant, the house is again cleaned. The bedding is very high in Nitrogen and is used for fertilizer, it may also be used as a source of protein in cattle rations. Layer Industry Per capita egg consumption in the U.S. has drastically decreased over the past thirty years. Even with the decrease in demand, the layer industry is quite strong. Over 90% of eggs produced are by layers in cages. The most common grouping is four hens per cage. Some layers produce brown eggs and some produce white eggs. Most eggs sold in the U.S. are white. In commercial operations, lighting is used to stimulate the hormonal activity of the hens to increase their production of eggs. They produce eggs naturally when the days are longer than the nights. Most operations allow 14 - 15 hours of light per day. As eggs are laid they roll onto a conveyor belt where they go to a work room where they are cleaned if necessary and refrigerated. Eggs are coated with a thin coat of mineral oil to prevent carbon dioxide from escaping from within the egg. Eggs are graded according to size and checked for cracks and interior spots by candling. The turkey industry The sale of turkey is second to chicken in the overall sale of poultry meat. Between 1980 and 1990 turkey consumption increased 92% in the U.S. Turkey represents a high quality, low cost, nutritious source of food protein. One third of all turkey sales occur during the weeks around Thanksgiving and Christmas. The modern white turkey is a descendant of the wild turkey and is result of a mutation which left the gene out for feather and skin pigmentation. Heavy muscled, broad breasted birds have been developed. These highly developed birds are not efficient breeders. The physical act of mating is difficult because of the weight of the birds and because of this they are reluctant to breed. This problem is solved through artificial insemination. They heavy breasted birds have another problem. Their legs can’t support them when they reach a certain size and the weight of their breasts makes them tip over. Turkeys are grown in confinement houses and on ranges. Other poultry In some parts of the world ducks and geese make up a major portion of the poultry raised and consumed. This is true in China and Southeast Asia. In some areas quail and pheasant are grown for the gourmet food and restaurant market and for release in the wild to stock the population for hunters.