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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
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in the world are China
the countries of the former Soviet Union
United States
The Broiler Industry
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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
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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
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according to research, fitting birds with red contact lenses helps to decrease cannibalism
not a common practice because of the cost.
Broiler Production
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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.