Poultry Tips

Volume: 52
[title-raw] Marketing Eggs from the Backyard Flock

For many people, having a backyard egg laying flock is enjoyable simply from the satisfaction of raising a few birds and providing a few eggs for the table. Often backyard flocks begin as a child’s 4-H project, teaching the child basic needs and responsibility on how to care for animals. Caring for and learning animal husbandry skills are important aspects of the project and the benefit of fresh eggs for the family is also a plus.

No. 1
August 2012
Volume: 51
[title-raw] Basics of the Chemical Oxygen Demand (Cod) Wastewater Analytical Test

Since the implementation of the Clean Water Act and subsequent creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) in the early 1970s, commercial egg processing plants have been required to continually improve the quality of their process wastewater effluent discharges. The determination of wastewater quality set forth in environmental permits has been established since the 1970s in a series of laboratory analytical tests focused in four (4) major categories: organics,...

No. 7
September 2011
[title-raw] Basics of the Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) Wastewater Analytical Test

Since the implementation of the Clean Water Act and subsequent creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) in the early 1970s, poultry processing plants have been required to continually improve the quality of their process wastewater effluent discharges. The determination of wastewater quality set forth in environmental permits has been established since the 1970s in a series of laboratory analytical tests focused in four (4) major categories: organics, solids,...

No. 6
May 2011
[title-raw] Integrated Pest Management for Broiler Houses

Poultry farm biosecurity involves a comprehensive range of management procedures put in placeto limit or eliminate the introduction of infection into the operation. A good biosecurity program in anybroiler operation should always include an integrated pest management (IPM) program. Simply put, anIPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management. The lifecycle of the pestin combination with available pest control methods is used to manage and control pest damage....

No. 5
May 2011
[title-raw] Ethanol Production and Feed Ingredient Prices Update

Beginning in 2002 the United States government encouraged the production of ethanol and other bio-fuels through a combination of tax benefits and direct subsidies. The Renewable Fuels legislation of 2005 required that gasoline in the U.S. contain increasing volumes of ethanol beginning in 2006. These volumes were required to increase from 4 billion gallons in 2006 to 7.5billion in 2012. As a result of these programs, ethanol production in the last 6 years has soared from 3.9 billion gallons...

No. 4
May 2011
[title-raw] Comparing Utility Costs for Georgia Broiler Growers

Utility expenses make up the largest component of the annual variable operating costs associated with the live production of broilers on farms in Georgia and the United States. Heating fuel and electrical costs contribute nearly 60% of these costs for Georgia contract broiler growers (Cunningham and Fairchild, 2009). Controlling utility expenses represents one of the best opportunities for growers to reduce their production costs. Contract growers have experienced significant increases in...

No. 3
March 2011
[title-raw] Environmental Impact of Water-Flume Transport of Poultry Processing By-Products

Water serves many important and essential functions in the processing of poultry intosafe and wholesome food products for human consumption. Water is used in the cleaning andsanitation of birds, humans and equipment in a poultry processing plant; as a medium for heattransfer to assist in the cooling of carcasses and in facility HVAC systems; and serves a role asan ingredient in finished products.
In addition, water also serves as the traditional transport medium for moving...

No. 2
January 2011
[title-raw] Poultry Related Information on the Internet

There is a lot of information on the internet that can be useful to poultry producers. However, anyone that has used the internet realizes that content reliability and accuracy can be variable among websites. It is important that information utilized by poultry producers be unbiased and research based. Below are a few websites that I have found to have reliable information and that I visit on a regular basis. They have production tips, news, statistics and economic data that are useful to...

No. 1
January 2011
Volume: 50
[title-raw] Factors to Consider When Transitioning Broilers From Half House to Full House

When brooding broilers, growers can utilize either the partial house or full house brooding method.Partial house brooding uses half of the house square footage and can utilize either half house or centerhouse areas. With half house brooding, a single brood curtain suspended from the ceiling and located atthe center of the house is lowered and chicks are placed in the end of the house that includes the tunnelinlet. Center house brooding uses two curtains that allow broilers to be brooded in...

No. 15
November 2010
[title-raw] A Brief Look at Different Housing Systems for Commercial Layers

Concerns for laying hens’ welfare began in the 1960’s and led to an aversion to eggs produced by hens housed in conventional battery cages. As a result the European Union (EU) has banned the use of battery cages beginning in January 2012. This move has resulted in the development of alternative housing systems for laying hens. While the EU ban does not currently apply to the commercial egg producers in the United States, some states have made moves towards banning the use of battery cages...

No. 14
November 2010
[title-raw] Control of Salmonella in Breeder Chickens Part II

Salmonella colonization of poultry breeder and broiler flocks is a very complex issue. Chickens may become colonized through both vertical (from parent stock) and horizontal (environmental) means. This purpose of this Poultry Tip is to detail how Salmonella colonize breeder chickens and to explain effective measures for preventing or controlling vertical colonization.

No. 13
November 2010
[title-raw] Starting Your Backyard Flock with Mail-Order Chicks

As someone intimately involved in poultry, I find it hard to admit when I discover something I didn’t know about the poultry industry. But that’s exactly what happened several years ago when my eldest son decided to start his own backyard poultry flock as a 4-H project and someone suggested that he begin by ordering live chicks through the mail. I had experience hatching eggs in an incubator and had enjoyed picking out a few young poultry during annual “chick days” at our local farm supply...

No. 12
November 2010
[title-raw] Iron and Iron Bacteria in Egg Processing Well Water

In 2009, Georgia commercial egg plants processed almost 12.5 million cases (360 eggs per case) of table eggs (USDA, 2010). A survey of water use in 73 U.S. commercial shell egg processing facilities in 2005 showed that 2 out of every 3 (66%) facilities used water supplied by on-site wells (Jones and Northcutt, 2005). The survey also showed that the average shell egg plant utilizes 1.5 gallons of water per case, which means Georgia egg processors use about 19 million gallons of water each...

No. 11
September 2010
[title-raw] How Will I Know that My Birds are Sick?

Backyard flocks are kept for different reasons, some keep them for fresh eggs daily, some will occasionally kill a bird for dinner, some folks grow backyard flocks for exhibition, while others grow birds to sell eggs and meat to their neighbors. Finally some people grow birds just for the pleasure of having them in their yards. Regardless of the reason for growing birds, one should be aware that there is always a chance that birds will become sick or may even die. One important factor in...

No. 10
July 2010
[title-raw] Control of Salmonella in Breeder Chickens Part I

It is often difficult to ascertain how Salmonella issues in poultry begin and what measures should be implemented to prevent them. Chickens may become colonized through both vertical (from parent stock) and horizontal (environmental) means. This purpose of this Poultry Tip is to detail how Salmonella colonize breeder chickens and to explain effective measures for preventing or controlling vertical colonization. Many scientists have implicated breeder chickens as vehicles...

No. 9
July 2010
[title-raw] Controlling Poultry Lice and Mites

Ectoparasites (e.g. lice & mites) are often a problem for small flock producers. These insects are extremely small (about the size of a pin head) and difficult to detect unless one knows how and where to look for these pests. Even though they are very small and not easily noticed, they can cause problems for caretakers as well as the birds themselves. Heavily infested flocks can suffer substantial economic losses as a result of reductions in egg production, reduced weight gains, lower...

No. 8
May 2010
[title-raw] Darkling Beetles in Broiler Houses

Anyone visiting a poultry farm will quickly become aware of the secondary occupants in and around the houses. The darkling beetle is an insect that is commonly found around poultry, specifically meat production birds and to lesser extent commercial layers. The beetle is also known as “lesser meal worm” and its common habitat is flour, meal, and other grain and cereal products. It originated in the tropics and is well suited for warm humid conditions making the broiler house the perfect...

No. 7
May 2010
[title-raw] Reducing Process Wastewater Loading by Increasing Bleed Time

It is logical to assume that allowing birds to bleed out for a longer period of time during the slaughter process would result in greater blood recovery for rendering and less blood entering the scalder and other processing wastewater streams. However the potential economic impact of increasing bleed times in poultry processing has not been established, until now.  Extension poultry scientists at the University of Georgia conducted an experiment to establish the impact that different bleed...

No. 6
May 2010
[title-raw] New House Costs and Cash Flow Estimates

New broiler house construction has slowed in recent years as a result of the economic recession. Nevertheless, new house construction to primarily replace depreciated facilities, continues across the poultry producing regions of Georgia. Financing for new broiler house construction is dependent on cash flow assessments for these operations. A recent survey of broiler housing costs and cash flow examples (Cunningham and Fairchild, 2009) provides some insight to the current situation for...

No. 5
March 2010
[title-raw] Frequently Asked Questions about Backyard Flocks

Why are my chickens loosing feathers?  There are several possible reasons why chickens may be losing feathers. Nutrition is the first factor to consider. Protein requirements of chickens change as they mature. The nutrient requirements also change depending on whether the birds are being used for egg or meat production. The best way to assure proper nutrition is for the backyard flock owner to purchase a properly balanced and formulated feed for the appropriate age and type...

No. 4
March 2010
[title-raw] Housing and Confinement for the Backyard Flock

Raising chickens in the United States dates back to the 17th century when the English first brought them here. The chicken was originally domesticated by the English for cock fighting which was considered a spectator sport. Since then chickens have been grown for showing, meat and egg supply or just the pure pleasure of having the birds running around in the yard. Whatever your reasons for having a flock of birds in your yard, consideration should be given to where and how the birds will be...

No. 3
January 2010
[title-raw] Management Procedures to Reduce Infectious Process (IP)

Infectious Process/Inflammatory Process, commonly known as IP, is a form of cellulitis in which inflammation occurs between the skin and muscle tissue. Before IP can be controlled, it is important to understand the underlying factors that contribute to the condition. One common factor among IP incidents is injury to the skin. The skin is the first line of defense against bacterial infections. It is generally accepted that most cases of IP are a result of a scratch or other injury that...

No. 2
January 2010
[title-raw] Water Conservation Makes Sense, But Where to Start in My Processing Plant?

Whether it is limited water supplies due to urban growth or drought conditions, or simply the rising cost of purchasing potable water, most poultry processing plants today are expending resources of time and money on water conservation efforts. It is logical that the goal in water conservation is to consume less water in the processing of poultry, but the question arises: Where Do I Start?

No. 1
January 2010
Volume: 49
[title-raw] Water: Poultry Health’s Most Overlooked Nutrient

No nutrient is more important to the overall health of your backyard flock than water. Restricting access to an unlimited supply of clean, cool water will cause detrimental effects faster in your flock than restricting any other nutrient in your flock’s diet. That’s because water plays a vital role is every aspect of poultry metabolism. Water is essential in controlling body temperature, assists in food digestion, and aids in the processing and elimination of body wastes.  Although water is...

No. 18
November 2009
[title-raw] Majoring in Poultry Science = Employed

Obtaining a major from the Department of Poultry Science at The University of Georgia is a good return on investment. Students that major in Poultry Science or Avian Biology are well prepared to work in a number of positions in the poultry industry, in businesses that support the poultry industry or in other agribusiness or science related positions. The Poultry Science major gives students an understanding of the basic sciences such as biology, chemistry, microbiology, genetics, and physics...

No. 17
November 2009
[title-raw] Important Nutritional Diseases that Affect Laying Hens

We frequently discuss pathogenic diseases that can infect and quickly spread through a flock of hens, however, there are also nutritional and metabolic disorders that may not be infectious but if they are not identified and treated their symptoms will be seen quickly spreading through a flock. This month’s commercial layer tip will focus on three common nutritional or metabolic disorders that can affect laying hens.

No. 16
November 2009
[title-raw] How Well is the Poultry Industry in the U.S. Controlling Salmonella, Campylobacter and Other Bacteria on Raw Poultry?

Introduction
The USDA-Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) just released a document entitled, “The nationwide microbiological baseline data collection program: Young chicken survey.” The program was designed and performed by the FSIS to estimate the percent positive and level of microbiological pathogens and indicator bacteria on raw chicken carcasses sampled between July 2007 and June 2008.
Methods
From July 2007 to June 2008, 6,550...

No. 15
November 2009
[title-raw] Disease Prevention Practices for Small Poultry Flocks

As the popularity of small scale poultry production increases and producers seek avenues to sell their poultry products, small flock owners need to be mindful of their flock health and endeavor to take needed steps to prevent the spread of disease to other poultry.  Unfortunately, many of the respiratory diseases of poultry have similar clinical signs. Sneezing, gurgling, labored breathing, nasal discharge, swollen eyes and head all are symptoms that can be associated with respiratory...

No. 14
September 2009
[title-raw] Decrease your Water Use and Increase your Bottom Line

In 2008, Georgia commercial egg plants processed almost 14 million cases of table eggs (USDA, 2009). A survey of water use in U.S. shell egg processing facilities in 2005 showed that on average shell egg plants utilize 1.5 gallons of water per case, with 36% of plants reporting using less than 1 gallon per case and 30% utilizing over 2 gallons per case (Jones and Northcutt, 2005). This wide variation in water use indicates that significant opportunities exist to increase efficiency of water...

No. 13
September 2009
[title-raw] New Opportunities for Small Flock Poultry Producers

Modern American agriculture is a model of production efficiency and mechanization. Fertilizers, pesticides and modern genetics help farmers fight disease and ensure a safe and abundant food supply. With this success also comes increased scrutiny and concern over the environmental impacts of largescale agricultural enterprises. Concerns such as water quality and quantity, soil integrity, food safety, and energy usage are associated with large farming operations. Warranted or not, these...

No. 12
July 2009
[title-raw] Considerations in Poultry Drinker Line Management

One of the basic needs of poultry is unlimited access to clean water. The U.S. poultry industry has for the most part adopted totally enclosed drinker systems, reducing contamination from foreign debris, such as shavings, feed, and feces. Another benefit of enclosed drinker systems is minimal water leakage onto the floor. Birds obtain water from the enclosed systems by pushing a metal pin that in turn pushes the internal mechanism of the drinker system, allowing water to pass through....

No. 11
July 2009
[title-raw] Controlling Broodiness in Backyard Flocks

Broodiness is a condition in which laying hens have a desire to set their eggs. When hens go broody they stop laying eggs and marshal their physiological and behavioral resources for incubating and hatching chicks. This is a favorable condition if one wants to produce chicks through the natural nesting process. It is, however, a detrimental condition if one is only interested in maximizing egg production. If one wants to achieve maximum egg production from their flocks, they must minimize...

No. 10
May 2009
[title-raw] Why Use Litter Treatments?

Poultry litter is a mixture of manure, bedding material and feathers. It is a valuable source of nutrients that contains high levels of minerals including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and calcium and is also a good source of crude protein. One of the major problems associated with poultry litter is the volatization or loss of nitrogen on the form of ammonia (NH3) from the litter. Ammonia volatization from poultry litter in poultry houses results in high levels of NH3 in the atmosphere...

No. 9
May 2009
[title-raw] Back To Basics: Revisiting Blood Collection

Technological advances in waste minimization, waste stream analysis and wastewater treatment have focused the environmental efforts of many poultry processing plant personnel on the minutia of pollution prevention. However it is often a good idea to periodically step back from the small details and revisit the basics. One of these pollution prevention basics is blood collection.  The potential impact of blood on poultry processing wastewater streams is significant. Research shows that blood...

No. 8
May 2009
[title-raw] A Few Basic Points about Protein

Everyone is familiar with the word "protein", because it turns up so frequently in everything from food to shampoo. Whether we are dealing with commercial or backyard flocks, all poultry need protein in the feed. Because of its tremendous importance, it is worthwhile to gain a basic understanding of this important nutrient. The range of different substances that are composed of proteins is so varied it is difficult to remember we are talking about the same basic thing. To illustrate, animal...

No. 7
March 2009
[title-raw] Effect of Feed Costs on Egg Costs

In 2002, the United States government encouraged the production of ethanol and other bio-fuels through a combination of tax benefits and direct subsidies. Since most of the ethanol produced in the United States comes from corn, this program increased the demands for corn supplies. In 2002, 11 % of available U. S. Corn was used for ethanol production. However, by 2008, 30 % of the U.S. corn crop was used for ethanol production. The increased demand for corn supplies as a result of the...

No. 6
March 2009
[title-raw] Salmonella Intervention Strategies and Testing Methods Differ Greatly Between the U.S. and Europe what are the Implications?

Countries that produce poultry on a large scale have evolved different methods of production, processing, and testing especially with regard to controlling and testing for Salmonella. The implications of these differences will be discussed.
Production differences: In the U.S., companies are limited as to the types of interventions they may use to control Salmonella in poultry during breeding, hatching, and growout. These limitations are placed on the...

No. 5
March 2009
[title-raw] Which Breed of Chicken Should I Put in my Backyard Flock?

Poultry production has evolved from raising a few hens and a rooster in your backyard to one of the largest food industries in the country where poultry farmers contract with companies to grow chickens. Even so, many people continue to raise chickens in their backyards and the practice is catching on. They decide to begin a backyard flock for a variety of reasons. Some do it for the pleasure of having them, others for the convenience of having eggs or meat on hand at all times. Some people...

No. 4
January 2009
[title-raw] Getting Chicks Off to a Good Start

Flock efficiency is one of the main goals in broiler management. Achieving the heaviest weights with the least amount of feed requires dedicated practices at the farm to reduce bird stress. Minimizing bird stress is important to ensure that the nutrients and energy that are consumed in the form of feed results in maximum growth and development. Each day is important when determining overall bird feed efficiency. Broilers are going to be the most efficient during the first week when provided...

No. 3
January 2009
[title-raw] Natural Mating and Fertilization

Fertilization in commercial chickens is usually the result of natural mating. However, in some cases, artificial insemination is commonly practiced. The turkey industry especially depends on artificial insemination since natural mating is virtually impossible as a result of intense genetic selection for conformation and body weight. The completed mating in chickens is the culmination of a sequence of behaviors. The rooster will initiate mating by exhibiting courtship behavior: dropping one...

No. 2
January 2009
[title-raw] Understanding Water and Sewer Rates and Rate Structures in Georgia

Many of Georgia poultry processors receive potable water from and discharge wastewater to public utilities. As a result, poultry processors receive a monthly bill that is often processed and paid without much thought to how the amount due was derived. In May 2008, the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (.gefa.org) and the Environmental Finance Center (.efc.unc.edu) published a report entitled, “Water and Sewer Rates and Rate Structures in Georgia” along with an interactive website...

No. 1
January 2009
Volume: 48
[title-raw] Maintaining Egg Quality

 
Many small flock producers keep poultry for egg production. The recent increase in the interest in home grown products has made locally produced eggs more popular for many consumers. In addition, consumers are more quality conscious and more demanding of uniformity in products than ever before. Escalating costs for poultry feed during the past two years has increased the costs of egg production for all producers, small and large. Thus it is important that the quality of “home grown”...

No. 14
November 2008
[title-raw] Marketing Eggs from the Backyard Flock

For many people, having a backyard egg laying flock is enjoyable simply from the satisfaction of raising a few birds and providing a few eggs for the table. Often backyard flocks begin as a child’s 4-H project, teaching the child basic needs and responsibility on how to care for animals. Caring for and learning animal husbandry skills are important aspects of the project and the benefit of fresh eggs for the family is also a plus.
This tip was revised in August 2012

No. 13
September 2008
[title-raw] Composting Daily Mortality

 
Poultry producers in the United States have to deal with numerous issues in the day to day operation of their facilities. One important issue is the disposal of their daily mortality. Several options are available to poultry producers, including: burial, incineration, rendering, and composting. Available options are becoming more restrictive with rising processing costs and continued concerns of environmental safety. The objective of this broiler tip is to inform readers of the...

No. 12
September 2008
[title-raw] Alternative Feed Ingredients: An Option to Combat High Feed Prices?

 
The unprecedented increase in feed prices during the past year are by now an unfortunate matter of record. The cost of virtually all feed ingredients, especially corn, soybean meal, phosphate, fat and even vitamins has gone far beyond any reasonable expectation. A number of causes for the current crisis have been cited, and their respective magnitudes debated, but it is certain that the massive diversion of feed ingredients to biofuels, reduced crop yields, and an increased demand...

No. 11
September 2008
[title-raw] Choosing the Best Chicken Breed for Your Flock

 
When establishing a backyard flock it is important to choose the best breed of chicken to meet your goals whether that is egg production, meat production, dual purpose, or exhibition/ornamental.  Chicken breeds differ in their production abilities, and it is important to take this into consideration when choosing a breed for your backyard flock.  For example, if you choose leghorn varieties, then there should be an abundance of eggs produced, but if meat is your objective then you...

No. 10
July 2008
[title-raw] A Non-Invasive Method to Monitor Bone Weakness in Commercial Laying Hens

 
Nodulation and folding at the costro-chondral junction of the ribs is a common consequence of osteoporosis in laying hens. Cransberg et al. (2001) used a 6-point scale to score rib deformity in cage-housed laying hens and found that 80% of the hens in their research flock were affected by 42 weeks of age, with about 30% having severe deformities. They thought that the rib deformity developed around 27 weeks of age because they noticed that hens with severe rib deformities had reduced...

No. 9
July 2008
[title-raw] Microbiological Testing Changes Proposed by USDA-FSIS

 
On January 25, 2008, the USDA-FSIS issued a formal report entitled, “Public Health Risk- Based Inspection System for Poultry Slaughter-Technical Report.” This document may be accessed at the following web address: edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/08-292.htm. In this report on page 8, a table is provided and is shown below: 

No. 8
July 2008
[title-raw] Difficult Phospate Situation

 
As has been obvious to everyone, the price of feed phosphates has undergone an almost incredible increase. A number of reasons can be cited for this, including: increased fertilizer needs to support the levels of corn production stimulated by ethanol policy, a worldwide shortage of sulfuric acid needed for some phosphate manufacture, and the extraordinary energy needs for producing of defluorinated phosphates. Whatever the reason, the tripling (possibly quadrupling) of price has...

No. 7
May 2008
[title-raw] Vitamins and Minerals Important to Poultry

 
Achieving maximum health and performance of poultry requires nutritionally balanced diets. One of the common issues with regard to back yard flocks relates to poor or inadequate feeding programs that can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies for the birds. Vitamins and minerals are very important components of a chicken’s diet and unless a formulated ration is feed, it is likely that deficiencies will occur. Poultry require all known vitamins except C. Some vitamins are soluble in...

No. 6
May 2008
[title-raw] The Use of Probiotics and Prebiotics in Poultry Feeds

 
Through genetic improvements the productivity of broilers has improved significantly. While this is a good thing for the poultry industry, increased rearing density has concentrated and increased disease challenges making birds more susceptible to various pathogens especially enteropathic microbes such as E. coli, Salmonellaspp., Clostridium perfringens, and Camplyobacter spp. This increased susceptibility has resulted in the use of antimicrobial...

No. 5
May 2008
[title-raw] Behavior of Backyard Flock Part II

 
Previously we looked at three specific behaviors that you will observe in your backyard flock. In the Backyard tip this month we will continue to look at more behaviors that birds perform in the backyard. Some of these activities will be more obvious if your birds are allowed to roam freely.

No. 4
March 2008
[title-raw] Biosecurity. Do You Need to go to a Higher Level?

 
In a previous poultry tip it was concluded that there is no good way to depopulate a large cage layer house to contain an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian disease. In a case of potentially zoonotic disease, such as H5N1 avian influenza, existing depopulation methods may be unworkable because exposure of human workers to the pathogen would be too high. Even if a good depopulation method were available, it would be a nightmarish prospect if an egg company had to depopulate an entire...

No. 3
March 2008
[title-raw] Which Feed Does My Flock Need?

 

It goes without saying that an essential part of poultry rearing involves providing adequateamounts of the correct diet. Sometimes backyard poultry producers are confused by exactly which diet is needed. In fact, this is a relatively straight forward matter. Virtually all poultry feeds have about 60% corn and 25-30% soybean meal. It is the adjustments in these two ingredients, plus the addition of smaller amounts of a few others, that differentiate one diet from the next. Corn, or...

No. 2
January 2008
[title-raw] Frequently Asked Questions about the Egg

 

As a small child while visiting my grand-parents farm, I found a very small egg (pee wee) in thechicken coup. My cousin, who was a little older that I was, informed me that this egg was laid by the rooster.  As a Poultry Specialist I have been asked numerous questions about chickens and eggs. From experience, it is clear that over the years people have been misinformed about certain facts concerning the egg. Others have information that is now inaccurate due to advancement in...

No. 1
January 2008
Volume: 47
[title-raw] Predicting Chick Quality: Which Is Best - Chick Length Or Hatch Day Body Weight?

 
Measuring chick quality has been a difficult issue since the beginning of the poultry industry. There have been many attempts over the decades to evaluate chick quality in the hatchery to predict future performance in the broiler house. One can examine chicks in the hatchery and enumerate conditions such as the incidences of red hocks, open navels, string navels, and other abnormalities. In most circumstances, the percentage of these obviously poor quality chicks is so low that it is...

No. 16
September 2007
[title-raw] Bio-Security and Beyond

 
Many people interested in keeping chickens, either as pets or for production of meat and eggs, have not had previous experience with poultry. Several considerations might be made at the outset so that the backyard producer can provide the facilities necessary for successful poultry rearing.

No. 15
July 2007
[title-raw] Leg Problems in Broilers

 
With the advancements in the genetics of broilers combined with improvement in the diet, enhanced feed conversion efficiency and growth rate have been observed in broiler chickens. The result is a bigger bird with a larger breast muscle than their ancestors. Scientists have associated this increased growth rate to the increasing skeletal and leg problems that are currently observed in growing broiler. Of course, rapid growth rate is not the only cause of leg problems in broiler...

No. 14
July 2007
[title-raw] The Commercial Egg Industry Should Consider Controlled Atmosphere Stunning for Spent Hens

 
Unlike the broiler industry, where individual companies maintain ownership of flocks through farm production and processing, commercial egg flocks sent for slaughter are sold to a fowl processing company. The processing company catches and transports the hens from the farm. Egg companies typically do not see themselves as being responsible for a hen’s welfare once ownership of the bird is transferred, and what happens to spent hens after that tends to fall under the radar. 

No. 13
July 2007
[title-raw] How Can Processors Significantly Improve Processing Yield and Lower Salmonella without Added Expense?

 
 For years, poultry companies have known that they can significantly improve finished whole-ready-to-cook WOG yield by lowering scalder temperatures. However, every time companies attempt to lower scalder temperatures two problems routinely occur: 1) Salmonella begins to multiply in the scalder and 2) carcasses do not pick well. This has led to repeated assistance to companies that were having difficulty meeting the USDA-FSIS, HACCP/Salmonella ...

No. 12
July 2007
[title-raw] Behavior of Backyard Flocks

 
So now that you have established your backyard flock, you will observe that they will perform different activities during the day. The activities that the hens perform under natural conditions are done with a purpose. In this issue of “Backyard Poultry Tip” we will give an insight of some of these behaviors and their importance to the hen’s welfare. Natural behavior can be defined as any behavior that is exhibited under natural conditions. These activities may be done purely for...

No. 11
May 2007
[title-raw] Keeping Birds Cool in Hot Weather

 
Birds that are heat stressed have increased mortality, reduced weight gain and poor feed conversion. As warmer weather approaches, the threat of heat stress increases. Poultry producers need to anticipate this and have housing and management procedures ready to respond. Effective summertime management is crucial for growers to achieve maximum weight gains and optimum feed conversion while preventing bird loss due to heat exhaustion. The following is a summary of some steps to be...

No. 10
May 2007
[title-raw] The Challenge of Improving the Energy of DDGS with Supplemental Enzymes

 
The tremendous growth of the ethanol industry is making increasing amounts of Dried Distillers Grains plus Solubles (DDGS) available to the poultry industry. Studies at the Poultry Science  Department of the University of Georgia and elsewhere have characterized the nutrient composition  of this ingredient, including it's level of metabolizable energy. This parameter is of major importance due to the increase in cost of corn and fat, traditional major sources of energy in feeds. As...

No. 9
May 2007
[title-raw] Will Online Reprocessing Become Extinct?

 
According to an excellent review of the history of online reprocessing by Dr. Stan Bailey of the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS), approximately 0.5 to 1% of processed broilers require reprocessing. This percentage equates to 45 to 90 million carcasses per year. Prior to 1989, the USDA-FSIS would allow a fecally contaminated carcass to be inspection passed if the part that had feces on it was trimmed from the carcass. In 1989, the Code of Federal Regulations was amended such...

No. 8
May 2007
[title-raw] Ethanol Production and Corn Prices

 
The increased emphasis on ethanol production in the United States as an alternative fuel is having a significant impact on corn supplies and prices. Corn prices that were in the $2.00 per bushel range during 2005, are expected to average around $3.50 per bushel for 2006. Corn prices for 2008 may even exceed the $4.00 per bushel level unless pressures on inventories can be accounted for.  

No. 7
March 2007
[title-raw] Lighting Programs for Backyard Egg Production

 
There are many factors that can influence the egg production of back yard flocks. Diet, plenty of water and environmental factors such a temperature, relative humidity, and light can influence poultry performance. Controlling the light environment can improve egg production and growth.  Light influences bird behavior, metabolic rate, physical activity and physiological factors such as reproduction. While it is important to optimize all environmental conditions, many times errors in...

No. 6
March 2007
[title-raw] Prevention of Listeria Growth on Fully-Cooked Chicken During Storage

 
Over the last decade, L. monocytogenes has gradually entered the limelight as an “emerging pathogen or pathogen of concern” on fresh meat and poultry products. In a review on industry perspectives on Listeria monocytogenes, Marsden stated “through the application of thermal processes that assure the destruction of Listeria monocytogenes and through the wide use of HACCP and GMP’s, improved sanitation, separation of raw materials from cooked product and...

No. 5
March 2007
[title-raw] Feeding the Backyard Flock in Cold Weather

 
Because of the long, hot, humid summers we experience in Georgia, it is natural that when questions of feed quality andthe feeding of poultry are discussed, more emphasis is given to problems encountered during the summer months. However, feed problems can also occur in the winter and these need to be reviewed. During the summer, warm temperatures and high humidity tend to make feed go out of condition more quickly. It is not uncommon for feed to become damp, with visible or...

No. 4
January 2007
[title-raw] Litter Management During VLT Outbreak

 
When Vaccinal Laryngotracheitis (VLT) breaks into broiler flocks, many issues come into play as poultry companies, growers, and state agencies attempt to suppress the spread of the outbreak.  Modification of traffic patterns, flock placement schedules, litter management and vaccination programs all help to contain the disease. Most importantly, working together in a concerted effort towards the same goal is paramount to success.

No. 3
January 2007
[title-raw] Depopulation Methods for Commercial Layer Flocks: Part 2

 
Part 1 of this two-part series considered cervical dislocation, water-based foam killing, poisoning with avicides, electrocution, and masceration as mass depopulation methods. All were inadequate for caged commercial layer flocks when dealing with H5N1 AI. Gas killing will be discussed here.

No. 2
January 2007
[title-raw] Early Pre-harvest Food Safety Issues that Carry Over into the Plant

 
When a poultry company exceeds the Salmonella standard set by the U.S.D.A., the initial reaction is to place blame on the plant employees. Various companies have spent enormous amounts of time and money attempting to reduce Salmonella levels on finished carcasses by making changes in the plant. Unfortunately, this is not always successful. Numerous factors during breeding,  hatching, growout, and transportation (chick and broiler) can directly impact the level of...

No. 1
January 2007