On Tuesday, I am flying down to Atlanta, Georgia. I am one of 20,000+ attendees from over 100 countries who are gathering to discuss, gawk at, learn about and share ideas on the latest and greatest in the world of poultry farming. If a chicken will ever see, hear, smell, taste, touch or be processed by, it will be on display in Atlanta. The convention center is many football fields in size, and will be filled, shoulder to shoulder with farmers, vets, scientists, salesmen and industry reps who are hoping to discover the cutting edge of egg and chicken farming technology.
There is also a scientific program where some of the more obscure points of vet medicine and research will be presented and discussed. I am looking forward to this exchange of knowledge, but I can imagine that most of you would pay good money NOT to attend. Interestingly, this year (similar to last year, but not common before that), a big part of both the displays and the scientific program deals with animal welfare. It is going to be COOL.
Getting to talk face to face with the guys who invented the new cage systems, or the better light-bulbs, or the better mouse-traps (It’s true…there ARE better mouse-traps), is an amazing opportunity! Why the plastic at the front of the cage is higher density than the stuff on the side, or why the light-bulb manufacturer spent so much more money on his bulbs so the light contains more of the red spectrum….these things can’t be found in a sales manual, or be explained by the company rep who you have contact with.
I think it’s interesting and worth noting how intricate, in-depth, and exhaustive the knowledge about poultry farming is. I’ve been involved in other aspects of agriculture in many capacities, and have heard (or had to say) “I don’t know” when discussing a lot of aspects of livestock farming. There are a lot less grey areas in poultry farming (although still plenty)….partly because so much research is done in the area, partly because of the controlled housing that the birds are kept under, and partly because we collect so much data on each flock. I’m looking forward to my trip (being wined and dined by companies hoping to influence my opinion is not a horrible part of it either), and will post after I get back about anything that I think will be of interest to y’all. Chickens are chickens, and knowledge about professional farms often help with backyard issues too.
Mike the Chicken Vet