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Growing Chickens for a Living

Farming is one of the foundation stones of the American Dream. In my neck of the woods, chicken farming is a significant part of that foundation. Here in Mississippi, the poultry industry is huge and is thriving. After all, people in all regions of the world eat and love chicken. (I personally could eat fried chicken every day....but that’s another story.)

Owning a chicken farm is a great way to make a living. It’s hard work, but it can provide a lifestyle that is envious in multiple ways. Chicken farmers rise early and work hard. The work is often strenuous, and it’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s dirty, and it smells! Most farmers, however, will tell you that smell you experience on chicken farm is the smell of money.

The part of poultry farming that really resonates with folks is the family life that comes with it. I have known many couples who work their farm together. They get to spend the majority of each day in each other’s company, and they get fulfillment in seeing the work of their hands come together on a day to day basis.

In some families, one spouse works the farm while the other has a full time job elsewhere. This not only provides a second stream of income, but can have the benefit of health insurance for the family.

Children who grow up on a farm have unique opportunities to grow and become self sufficient. They see the cycle of life in living color. They learn the value of hard work while enjoying the country life. On a chicken farm, you can help Mom & Dad feed and do chores, then go out in the field to hunt or down to the pond to fish, all in the same day. They also learn to fix broken equipment, operate machinery like tractors and farm implements.

The farm lifestyle is attractive because the farmer is working for him or her self. Making decisions and carrying out plans is empowering. There’s not another feeling in the world like seeing the fruit of your own labor on a daily basis.

Poultry farming is a great life for families who love the outdoors and the rewards of meaningful work.

Poultry Houses: Solid Wall or Curtain

Ventilation and temperature management is a key componenet in the production of healthy broiler chickens. In the last several years, chicken houses have gone from a couple of fans and drop curtains to today's setup of multiple fans , cool cells, vent doors and curtains or solid walls.  Some farmers prefer drop curtains.  The curtains can drop in an emergency such as power failure accompanied by failure of the farm's generator to function, but they are less efficient in the use of costly propane.  

Sollid walls save on fuel costs, and provide for more efficient air flow, but can compound problems during a power failure accompained by a generator malfunction.  Some farmers have "walled up" the north side of the broiler houses, leaving the south side with curtains.  Some integrators (Tyson, Sanderson, etc.) prefer solid walls and may require them for a farm to qualify for top pay from the company.  



I have two clients who have made the change to LED bulbs in their chicken houses.  They both are very happy with the bulbs.  One poultry farmer I know has 12 broiler houses, and he has made the change in all twelve houses.  He told me recently that the change has cut his electric bill by more than 50% !  Another farmer who has four chicken houses tells me that he has seen dramatic savings as well.  

Some power companies are cooperating with the Tennessee Valley Authority to incentivize customers to change to LED's.  For more information and to start the process go to http://www.energyright.com/business/how_to.html.  You can also contact your local power company to inquire about the program.

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