Science & Medicine:Natural Sciences
A Close Up Look at Poultry Processing Day - The Steps and the Process (GFL12)
We will start by going back in time by 8 weeks to April 22. That will be our starting point, Day 0 for the new chicks arriving on the farm.
Delivered via mail, the newborn chicks start out their life on the farm in the comfort of the brooder. There they enjoy the warmth of an electric light as the play in wood shavings all day while they eat, gain weight and feather out.
As we move ahead to Day 20, the chicks aren't as fragile as they once were, and they are now started to get crowded in their brooder. That means that it's time to move out, and the chicks head out to pasture where they touch grass for the first time, spending their first night in the open air under the protection of a chicken tractor.
The chicks will spend the next 35 days here, each day getting moved to a fresh patch of pasture, leaving their nutrient rich manure behind.
It's now late spring or summer, and despite their growth some will die along the way from the damp, the heat or the raccoon that got a little too close.
The others will grow bigger and bigger eating bugs, grass, and the grain that you the farmer provides them each day.
When the chicks are around 8 and half weeks old they will have converted all that food into body mass and each bird will weigh around 6.5 lbs.
It's a pretty fast weight gain, in a pretty short amount of time - it's what the Cornish Cross were breed for.
Now at just over 2 months old, the chickens live in the field, and their life in general, is almost over.
Because that day has arrived; it's now time to process the birds - taking that living breathing chicken, and converting it into food for humans.
When the birds reach this stage of their life you as the farmer have a couple options for processing them.
One is to process the birds on farm.
The other is taking the birds to a local processor.
That's how Darby processes his birds, and today we'll pick our story right here at this stage. We'll zoom in on the day before, the day of, and the day after processing his birds. You'll get an inside look at everything that takes place between the chickens last hours on pasture to their return back to the farm as sellable meat in shrink wrapped bags.
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