Poultry farming is the process of raising domesticated birds such as chickensducksturkeys and geese for the purpose of farming meat or eggs for food. Poultry - mostly chickens - are farmed in great numbers.
Farmers raise more than 50 billion chickens annually as a source of food, both for their meat and for their eggs. Biomass of birds on Earth . Poultry producers routinely use nationally approved medications, such as antibiotics, in feed or drinking water, to treat disease or to prevent disease outbreaks.
Some FDA-approved medications are also approved for improved feed utilization. Commercial hens usually begin laying eggs at 16—20 antibiotics and meat consumption of age, although production gradually declines soon after from approximately 25 weeks of age. In some countries, hens are force moulted to re-invigorate egg-laying. Environmental conditions are often automatically controlled in egg-laying systems. For example, the duration of the light phase is initially increased to prompt the beginning of egg-laying at 16—20 weeks of age and then mimics summer day length which stimulates the hens to continue laying eggs all year round; normally, egg production occurs only in the warmer months.
Some commercial breeds of hen can produce over eggs a year. Free-range poultry farming allows chickens to roam freely for a period of the day, although they are usually confined in sheds at night to protect them from predators or kept indoors if the weather is particularly bad.
In the UK, antibiotics and meat consumption, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Defra states that a free-range chicken must have day-time access to open-air runs during at least half of its life. Unlike in the United States, this definition also applies to free-range egg-laying hens. The European Union regulates marketing standards for egg farming which specifies a minimum condition for free-range eggs that "hens have continuous daytime access to open-air runs, except in the case of temporary restrictions imposed by veterinary authorities".
Free-range farming of egg-laying hens is increasing its share of the market. Suitable land requires adequate drainage to minimise worms and coccidial oocysts, suitable protection from prevailing winds, good ventilation, access and protection from predators.
Excess heat, cold or damp can have a harmful effect on the animals and their productivity. The benefits of free-range poultry farming for laying hens include opportunities for natural behaviours such as pecking, scratching, foraging and exercise outdoors. Both intensive and free-range farming have animal welfare concerns. Cannibalismfeather pecking and vent pecking can be common, prompting some farmers to use beak trimming as a preventative measure, although reducing stocking rates would eliminate these problems.
Instead of keeping them in cages, free-run laying hens roam freely within an enclosed barn. This type of housing also provides enrichment for the hens, including nesting boxes and perches that are often located along the floor of the barn. Many believe that this type of housing is better for the bird than any caging system, but it has its disadvantages, antibiotics and meat consumption, too.
Due to the increase in activity of the birds, dust levels tend to elevate and the air quality decreases, antibiotics and meat consumption. When air quality drops, so does production as this compromises the health and welfare of both birds and their caretakers, antibiotics and meat consumption.
In organic egg-laying systems, chickens are also free-range. Organic systems are based upon restrictions on the routine use of synthetic yolk colourants, in-feed or in-water medications, other food additives and synthetic amino acids, and a lower stocking density and smaller group sizes. In the UK, organic laying hens are not routinely beak-trimmed. While often confused with free range farming, yarding is actually a separate method by which a hutch and fenced off area outside are combined when farming poultry.
The distinction is that free-range poultry are either totally unfenced, or the fence is so distant that it has little influence on their freedom of movement. Yarding is common technique used by small farms in the Northeastern US. The birds are released daily from hutches or coops, antibiotics and meat consumption.
The hens usually lay eggs either on the floor of the coop or in baskets if provided by the farmer. This husbandry technique can be complicated if antibiotics and meat consumption with roosters, mostly because of aggressive behavior. As cardiovascular system and diagram April 1,no new battery cages are able to be installed in Canada.
The walls are made of either solid metal or mesh, and the floor is sloped wire mesh antibiotics and meat consumption allow the feces to drop through and eggs to roll onto an egg-collecting conveyor belt. Water is usually provided by overhead nipple systems, and food in a trough along the front of the cage replenished at regular intervals by antibiotics and meat consumption mechanical chail.
Battery cages are arranged in long rows as multiple tiers, often with cages back-to-back hence the term. Within a single barn, there may be several floors containing battery cages meaning that a single shed may contain many tens of thousands of hens.
Light intensity is often kept low e. Benefits of battery cages include easier care for the birds, floor-laid eggs which are expensive to collect are eliminated, eggs are cleaner, capture at the end of lay is expedited, generally less feed is required to produce eggs, broodiness is eliminated, more hens may be housed in a given house floor space, internal parasites are more easily treated, and labor requirements are generally much reduced.
In farms using cages for egg production, there are more birds per unit area; this allows for greater productivity and lower food costs. In response to these bans, development of prototype commercial furnished cage systems began in the s. Many design features of furnished cages have been incorporated because research in animal welfare science has shown them to be of benefit to the hens, antibiotics and meat consumption. Furnished cages Enriched give the hens more space than the conventional battery cages, so that each bird may spread their wings without touching one another if desired.
Enrichment such as nest boxes, perches, and dust baths are also provided so that the birds may carry out their natural behaviors such as nesting, roosting, and scratching as though they were outdoors. Enrichment of laying hen cages ultimately results in better bone quality. During egg production, large amounts of calcium are transferred from bones to create egg-shell. Although dietary calcium levels are adequate, absorption of dietary calcium is not always sufficient, given the intensity of production, to fully replenish bone calcium.
This can lead to increases in bone breakages, particularly antibiotics and meat consumption the hens are being removed from cages at the end of laying. Osteoporosis may be prevented by free range and cage-free housing systems, as they have shown to have a beneficial impact on the skeletal system of the hens compared to those housed in caged systems, antibiotics and meat consumption.
Countries such as Austria, Belgium or Germany are planning to ban furnished cages until additionally to the already banned conventional cages.
Meat chickens, commonly called broilersare floor-raised on litter such as wood shavings, peanut shells, and rice hulls, indoors antibiotics and meat consumption climate-controlled housing. Under modern farming methods, meat chickens reared indoors reach slaughter weight at 5 to 9 weeks of age. The first week of chickens life they can grow percent of their body size, a nine-week-old chicken can average over 9 pounds in body weight.
At nine weeks a hen will average around 7 pounds and a rooster will weigh around 12 pounds, having a nine-pound average. Broilers are not raised in cages. They are raised in large, open structures known as grow out houses. A farmer receives the birds from the hatchery at one day old. A grow out consists of 5 to 9 weeks according to how big the kill plant wants the antibiotics and meat consumption to be. These houses are equipped with mechanical systems to deliver feed and water to the birds.
They have ventilation systems and heaters that function as needed, antibiotics and meat consumption. The floor of the house is covered with bedding material consisting of wood chips, rice hulls, or peanut shells.
In some cases they can be grown over dry litter or compost. Keeping birds inside a house protects them from predators such as hawks and foxes. Some houses are equipped with curtain walls, which can be rolled up in good weather to admit natural light and fresh air. More modern houses are often larger and contain more birds, but the floor space allotment still meets the needs of the birds. The larger the bird is grown the fewer chickens are put in each house, to give the bigger bird more space per square foot.
Because broilers are relatively young and have not reached sexual maturity, they exhibit very little aggressive conduct.
Chicken feed consists primarily of corn and soybean meal with the addition of essential vitamins and minerals. No hormones or steroids are allowed in raising chickens. In intensive broiler sheds, the air can become highly polluted with ammonia from the droppings. In this case, a farmer must run more fans to bring in more clean fresh air. Broilers bred for fast growth have a high rate of leg deformities because the large breast muscles cause distortions of the developing legs and pelvis, and the birds cannot support their increased body weight.
Because they cannot move easily, the chickens are not able to adjust their environment to avoid heat, cold or dirt as they would in natural conditions. The added weight and overcrowding also puts a strain on their hearts and lungs and Ascites can develop.
In the UK, up to 19 million broilers die in their sheds from heart failure each year. In the case of no ventilation due to power failure during a heat wave, 20, chicken can die in a short period of time. In a good grow out a farmer should sell between 92 and antibiotics and meat consumption percent of their flock. After the marketing of birds the farmer must clean out and prepare for another flock. Antibiotics and meat consumption farmer should average 4 to 5 grow outs a year, antibiotics and meat consumption.
In a "higher welfare" system, chickens are kept indoors but with more space around 14 to 16 birds per square metre, antibiotics and meat consumption. They have a richer environment for example with natural light or straw bales that encourage foraging and perching. The chickens grow more slowly and live for up to two weeks longer than intensively farmed birds.
Free-range broilers are reared under similar conditions to free-range egg-laying hens. The breeds grow more slowly than those used for indoor rearing and usually reach slaughter weight at approximately 8 weeks of age. In the EU, each chicken must have one square metre of outdoor space. Because they grow slower and have opportunities for exercise, free-range broilers often have better leg and heart health.
Organic broiler chickens are reared under similar conditions to free-range broilers but with restrictions on the routine use of in-feed or in-water medications, other food additives and synthetic amino acids. The breeds used are slower growing, antibiotics and meat consumption, more traditional breeds and typically reach slaughter weight at around 12 weeks of age. Animal welfare groups have frequently criticized the poultry industry for engaging in practices which they believe to be inhumane.
Many animal rights advocates object to killing chickens for food, the " factory farm conditions " under which they are raised, methods of transport, and slaughter. Compassion Over Killing and other groups have repeatedly conducted undercover investigations at chicken farms and slaughterhouses which they allege confirm their claims antibiotics and meat consumption cruelty.
Conditions in chicken farms may be unsanitary, allowing the proliferation of diseases such as salmonellaE. Concerns have been raised that companies growing single varieties of birds for eggs or meat are increasing their susceptibility to disease. Rough handling, crowded transport during various weather conditions and the antibiotics and meat consumption of existing stunning systems to render the birds unconscious before slaughter, have also been cited as welfare concerns.
A common practice among hatcheries for egg-laying hens is the culling of newly hatched male chicks since they do not lay eggs and do not grow fast enough to be profitable for meat. There are plans to more ethically destroy the eggs before the chicks are hatched by "in-ovo" sex determination.