Thursday, July 31, 2008

For those of you in the know...

Hello my fellow chicken chums, I have a question that some of you in the know might be able to help me with. My aunt is now in possession of 20 week-old chicks and she wants to have the males caponized. I know this is an easy procedure to have done at a big hatchery facility, but is there any place I can take the birds to have them altered other than the local dog and cat vet? Where do backyard farmers take their birds to get fixed? Thanks for the help folks, see you on the flop side.

Friday, June 20, 2008

it may just be me ...

... but, according to Comstock, at 5:54pm 6/20/2008, stock from BOTH pilgrims.pride and tyson.foods were being valued at $14.88 per share.

how the mighty have fallen...
(of course, last quarter tyson announced a $0.04/share dividend while pilgrims was stuck at $0.02)

just my opinion, but ... think yum.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Walk this Way

Being ever conscious of exciting new poultry welfare practices, I was immediately drawn to an article I found addressing the unfortunate leg problems afflicting commercially produced broilers. With broilers growing heavier and faster than ever before, it’s becoming increasingly common to find birds in a grow out facility affected by locomotion problems. Their legs just can’t handle the rapid bulk accumulation. So what’s a grower to do? According to the article Testing Gait Scoring System from (, producers are beginning to test a new scoring system to asses the number of birds with leg issues. This new scoring system will hopefully make some changes in the welfare management procedures of bird growers by setting certain production benchmarks and hopefully up the birds’ overall health and comfort. Looking beyond the general welfare of the animal, it is bad business to have birds that can’t even walk to the feeders due to their immobility. The Gait Scoring System is used to test a large number of birds’ ability to walk without any sort of invasive procedure. The scoring system is broken down into three categories with scores from 0-2, 2 being the most severe cases of immobility. The bonus of this new system is that is a lot easier to facilitate than the older system of bird gait scoring. This makes it more desirable to actually implement into a production facility’s management practices. As a consumer interested in the welfare of the animals that we eat, it is reassuring to know that the problem of immobile birds is being addressed. Hopefully, with all of this new information regarding prevalent leg issues, we are at least headed in the right direction for managerial advancements to prevent them.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Truth in Advertising?

On April 21, a federal judge barred Tyson foods from advertising that their poultry products do not contain antibiotics that lead to drug resistance in humans. The ruling was a victory for rivals Sanderson Farms and Perdue Farms. The "beef" Perdue and Sanderson have is that they, and the poultry industry as a whole do not use antibiotics in their feed rations. They believe that Tyson's advertising campaign was misleading the public, that companies other than Tyson were using antibiotics in their rations. The labeling was initially approved by the USDA, then their decision later retracted, after tyson had already spent money on advertising. it was eventually ruled that they could say "raised without antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans."

Sanderson claims to have lost $4 million in revenue due to Tyson's advertising campaign and Purdue claims $10 million. The main argument of these companies is that Tyson has created a false connection between commercially raised poultry and antibiotics.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Future of chickens placed in voters hands?

During election day in November, California voters will decide if they feel small hen cages should be "outlawed" in the state until a re-vote in 2015., this website paints the picture for the views and thoughts of California voters. It is a shame the amount of "pull" the Humane Society has in the state. The opposers of the decision feels as if the decision will force the egg and poultry industry out of the state for good. The "cage free" labeled items in the grocery stores are already listed for higher prices. In addition, these hens are also more prone to diseases and are more likely to injure themselves. Thankfully, the legislator decided not to take a stab at meat produced chickens because they are in a "larger area" to roam and thus this makes it a more friendly environment. I find it scary how one organization like the Humane Society can be a deciding factor of legislation for animals. With their far fetched ads for cruelty to animals and how bad conventional farmers treat their animals is just another way they fuel the emotions of the American Society in their favor and now the issues are moving to the government for them to decide.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

on organic foods

we've been talking about all sorts of price increases in class (from corn to chicken to eggs). however, here is a timely article regarding the effect of prices on organic food production (i added the links for you!).

Sticker Shock in the Organic Aisles - New York Times
... In some parts of the country, a loaf of organic bread can cost $4.50, a
pound of pasta has hit $3, and organic milk is closing in on $7 a

... Over all, grocery prices have increased about 5 percent over the last
year, though some staples like conventional eggs jumped 30 percent and
milk, 13 percent, according to the Consumer Price Index. That
government index does not break out prices for organic food.

... The average retail price for Eggland’s Best Organic eggs in 2007 ranged
from $3.79 to $4.29, company officials said. So far this year, the
range has risen to $4.59 to $4.99.

... Organic food is typically 20 percent to 100 percent more expensive than
a conventional counterpart; the gap has narrowed in recent years as
discount retailers like Wal-Mart have offered organics and more private-label organic products have become available, according to the industry.

... Americans spent $16.7 billion on organic food and beverages in 2006, a
126 percent increase in just five years, according to the Organic Trade
, an industry trade group. Organic sales account for about
2.8 percent of food and beverage sales in the United States.

...“In the last three months or four months, everyone along the chain
in organic food is not making their margins,” said Bob Eberly,
president of Eberly Poultry in Stevens, Pa. The cost of raising poultry
has increased 16 percent in the last six months, but he said his prices
had increased only 7 percent.

“In the next month or so, our customers are going to see a significant price increase,” he said. “We just have to do it.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Egg Prices Doubled from Soaring Feed

Recent stats show that US egg prices have doubled since 2002 to $2.17 per dozen of grade A large. What has caused this increase? Feed prices of course! Along with other agricultural products like dairy, egg prices are seeing a boon due to high feed costs and high transportation costs from rising fuel prices. A mill owner said a truck load of grain cost him $8,000 this week, as opposed to the $3,500 a few years ago. Despite the increased cost for a dozen eggs, it is still a bargain when compared to buying meat of an equal weight.