Feeding Systems Used In Livestock Production Poultry

For the most part, poultry (chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese) are fed in houses on complete mixed diets. Chickens are

Table 5. Livestock Use of Manufactured Feed in the United States (1997)

Livestock Percentage of total

Starter, grower, layer, and breeder hens 12.7

Broilers 31.1

Turkeys 7.7

Dairy cattle 13.2

Beef cattle and sheep 15.4

Hogs 13.1

Other 6.8

Note: Primary feed mixed from individual ingredients as complete feed, supplement, or concentrate.

Figure 2. Feed Manufacturing plant with ingredient storage, feed elevators, warehouse, delivery trucks, and office. Source: Courtesy of Ezell-Key Grain Co., Inc., Snyder, Texas.

fed either for meat (broilers) or eggs (laying hens). Breeds and strains of chickens differ for these two purposes. Turkeys are also produced primarily in houses, although some range or pasture is still used. The poultry industry is very different from that of 40 years ago (23). Many broiler production units are vertically integrated (24) from hatching, production, and feed preparation through shipment of processed broilers to grocery stores (Fig. 3). Nearly all (98%) of the broiler feed is fed to the manufacturer's own chickens (11). The eight largest companies produce 55% of the total U.S. broiler production. Modern poultry production firms are well capitalized, take advantage of the economies of large-scale operations, and rapidly adopt new biological and technological advances. As a result, the relative price of poultry products has steadily decreased, which has greatly increased the demand and therefore the production of broilers and turkeys.

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