Chicken Farming Across the World

My trip to Atlanta was, as always, an eye-opening trip.  One of the things that stuck with me, as I wondered the aisles, was the number of international exhibitors.  I got freebies for my kids that I can’t read.  (International exhibitors give away the BEST stuff….I got an oriental labelled magnetic chess set from one of them!….I’m not even sure what country the company was from.)  There were entire aisles where spanish and chinese were the main languages spoken.  It made me think of egg farming elsewhere in the world.  I talked to an Egyptian farmer, who had to make his own fans, because of some embargo that didn’t allow him to import equipment that he thought was decent quality.  Then a farmer from India who was concerned about air conditioning his chick barn so that they didn’t die from heat prostration (they like temperatures of 94F…..and he had to COOL them to that temperature!!).

Then, at one of the lectures I attended, there was a “Future of Chicken Farming” video shown from the United States that was made in 1946.  The description of the challenges and goals of the farmers of the time were amazing….there was no such thing as a broiler-type chicken then….people cooked up and ate laying hens when they were done laying.  The goal of the time was to try to develop a bird with a reasonable amount of meat on it….how things have changed.

Anyway, I started looking around for examples of different egg farming practices from around the world.  Many of the modern egg farmers across the world mostly deal in similar technology….the world is shrinking.  But the traditional and smaller farms vary considerably.  As do the attitudes towards egg handling and food safety.  I honestly don’t know if any of these pictures are representative of egg farming in any of the places or times represented.  I found them interesting, and eye opening.  You may find some things that you could apply to your backyard, or possibly gain an appreciation of the opportunities that we have that other areas do not share.

Employee of a 1940s egg farm, washing eggs for sale in the local store. My 5 year old would start a new product..."pre-scrambled eggs".

 

Proud farmers, displaying their best hens...in 1910.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Feeding Chickens in the 1950s.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Govornment Farm in Victoria, BC. Not sure of the year. Govornment efficiency....the great constant across the years.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

An Egg Farm in Honduras

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

An egg farm currently for sale in the Phillipines....from the realtor ad.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Some hens in Australia

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Interesting way to deliver birds to market in Phillipines.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A farmer in India...you just never see saris in barns in Canada

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Mozambique egg farm

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I LOVE these egg cartons in China....don't believe they are widely used, but they should be!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Back in the 1950s, advertisements were simipler....and more accurate!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Egg market in Korea....not a fridge in sight.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Farm in Japan....much more intensive than here....

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Chinese Egg Farm....again, very large scale

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mike the Chicken Vet.
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6 responses to “Chicken Farming Across the World

  1. Wow. I bet that conference was impressive! Sounds like you gained a lot of information.

  2. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great post again, Mike. I remember the Christmas chicken that was one of grandma’s layers. I don’t know what she did to them but they seemed to taste pretty good.

    PS. Times have changed an awful lot if the proud farmers in the second picture are holding hens. 🙂

  4. Hi Dr. Mike,

    I was sent this link by someone in my chicken group:

    Our skin is the same; "spent" egg-laying hen who died in my arms

    It’s very short, and I don’t even know if it is credible, but I think its worth taking a look at.

    Please tell me what you think about it. I look forward to hearing your opinions.

    Andrew

    • Hi Andrew;

      I have seen some of the “undercover videos” taken by CETFA in the past, and have seen the latest one. I have had comments by egg farmers about it….they were upset about the condition of the birds…but weren’t sure who to be mad at…if they birds were actually in the condition it appeared, they were angry with the farmer, and if it wasn’t the way it was shown, they were angry with CETFA for “faking” a video to make our egg farmers look bad. One thing is for sure….CETFA is an animal rights group, is against animal agriculture and will make the farmers look as bad as they possibly can. The members of this organization don’t believe that we should use animals in any way…not to eat them or thier products, not to keep them as pets, and not to use them for our enjoyment. They believe that animals have the same rights as people, and keeping a dog captive in your house is no different than locking up a slave so you have someone to play with. It is an ethical belief they have, and is very important to them….that is why they will portray agriculture (which uses a LOT of animals for our benefit) in as dark a light as possible.
      If you look at the captions in the photostream, you can see that at least some of the pictures were taken in 2003….a decade ago. Much has changed since then, in our housing systems and animal care. The birds that are “found” in the manure pits are no longer an issue….there are no manure pits in use any more (not quite true…I know of 2 barns that still have manure pits…one is being bulldozed this spring, and the other is slated for replacement next year). Look at my video blog “inside a real egg farm”. You see that there are manure belts under each cage level…the manure is run on conveyor belts and is taken right out of the barn to another building for storage.
      The pictures of the hens “killed by catchers” are misleading….yes, hens that are too stressed or weak to be shipped safely are euthanized instead of being put on a truck, and transported before being euthanized. The birds are left for the farmer to dispose of in his composter, or incinerator….the pile will be removed when the catchers are done. It is better to euthanize the birds on-farm rather than later on, after having suffered a truck ride while in poor condition.
      I think that the videos and pictures are very skewed, with a purpose. Farmers care for their hens very well, for the most part, and those that don’t are condemned by other egg farmers even more severly than by most people. Poor farmers make all farmers look bad, and the good farmers HATE that.
      Bottom line…the videos and pictures are not representative of the egg farmers in Ontario, and there is plenty of evidence in the videos that some of the findings are “staged”. It’s unfortunate, in that these groups make farmers suspicious of visitors, and hesitant to show people inside their barns…..what if your “visitor” took a whole bunch of video, then edited it to make it look as bad as possible….it’s just scary for many farmers, regardless of how well the farm is run, and the birds are cared for.

      Mike

  5. Thanks for all the information. I do think it is basically propaganda against these farms. As I said, I do not know it this is credible, and it is nice to have someone like you to confirm/deny whether the facts are true or not.

    I have read all your posts, and have done lots or researching, and I agree that for the most part the farmers take really good care of their birds, and their facilities.

    I think editing has a lot to do with it, and I think that all it takes is for 1 bad farmer to ruin it for everyone.

    Thanks for taking the time to write such a long response, and for helping.

    Andrew

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