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The type of chickens in this powerpoint is called broilers or broiler chickens. Broiler chickens are specifically grown and bred to be commercialized. As this breed of chickens is bred to be processed for food, they have specific traits that would make them more desirable to consumers such as having the weight of their breast-muscle increased. They also lack some behaviors that more natural species of chickens usually have, such as pecking (as their beaks are removed). This type of chickens’ life cycle is divided into three distinct phases: the time they spent at the hatchery, at the farm where they will stay for the rest of their life after the first day at the hatchery, and when they are processed and eaten.
First, a fertilized egg is formed inside of a hen and is then laid. As these chickens are bred for meat, the mating and egg fertilization occurs naturally. The egg then exits the hen through the same hole that waste is excreted. The egg is then collected and taken from its hen, usually by a conveyor. Sometimes, the floor of the hatchery may be sloped downward so the egg can roll down the slope and be collected. According to a report by Natural News Network, a chick while still in its egg may get injections so the meat could be declared “without antibiotics”, as this appeals more to consumers. Then, it would be put into an artificial incubator that would simulate the temperature of the underside of a hen. This temperature is around 33-35 degrees Celsius (92-95 degrees Fahrenheit). After spending 18 days inside the incubator, the egg would be moved to a “hatcher”, where it would spend another 3 days until the chick pecks its way out of its shell independently.
When a chick is born, it may get vaccinated immediately if it has not been when inside the egg. It could also be debeaked, which is when a chick gets its beak trimmed off so as it would not peck other chicks. After the first day, the chick would then be transported with other chicks in a transport module or a “chick box” to a rearing farm inside of a “chick bus” that has its internal temperature regulated. This would be one of the only two trips that a broiler would experience; the second trip would be to the slaughterhouse.
At the rearing farm, a chick would be kept with a mixed-sex flock that usually consists of 10000-20000 birds in one of the rearing sheds, where it would stay until it reaches slaughter age. This would be about 42-56 days after moving to the rearing farm, which is before a chicken’s egg-laying age. When this point comes nearer, the flock is often thinned which means that the flock’s number would diminish to make space for the rest to grow more in weight.
When the day comes, the chicken would be caught, put back in a transport module, and then transported to the slaughterhouse. The chicken would not be allowed to eat during the 12-hour period before slaughter. When the time comes, the chicken would be killed by either electrical or gas methods. After that, the chickens are generally hung upside down. Their necks are cut by machines. Their blood is drained. Their feathers, feet, heads, and guts are removed and the chicken is chilled. In a large processing plant, the carcass would be weighed, sorted, priced and labeled by machines and the chicken is sent off to stores within hours of its slaughter. They’re usually moved from place to place fresh inside refrigerated trucks. According to Sam Pardue, head of the Department of Poultry Science at North Carolina State University, the length of time a chicken has been dead before it gets to your table can vary depending on your distance from a processing plant, but they usually reach your grocery store within a day, and at most, should be consumed about 14 days after slaughter.
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