On Saturday, September 22nd the class went on a field trip to the the Cartanza organic chicken farm. The experience was helpful in gaining a real-life look at how a poultry farm operates. To start, Georgie Cartanza gave us a brief overview of the production process and structure. The chickens on this particular farm stay on location for five weeks. During this time, they are preparing for the end stage of the production, processing. When the time comes to ship out the birds, it takes approximately five hours to catch each house. The workers do this by hand because it is the most efficient, stress-free option for the chickens.
The Cartanza family grows for Coleman, an organic integer that is apart of the Vertical Integration system. Raising organic birds is much different than conventional routes. First off, all chickens must have access to the outside. While we were on site, you could see approximately 15 hatches that lead outdoors. Consumers like the idea of their protein seeing the light of day, but in reality few birds seek the outdoors. In addition to outdoor access, organic farmers provide ‘toys’ for their animals. These objects help in keeping the chickens happy and entertained throughout their stay in the houses.
The visit to the Cartanza poultry house was very educational and entertaining. With that, I cannot wait what we will learn on our next field trip!