Georgie Cartanza, an organic poultry farmer in Kent County, DE. Georgie has four 65’x500 chicken houses, each can hold up to 37,000 chickens, totaling up to 148,000 chickens on her farm during a single flock. Georgie produces over 5 million pounds of organic broilers each year by growing 5 and a half flocks per year. Chicken houses have advanced technology built within allowing farmers to control the optimal environment for the chickens during all stages of growth. Chickens themselves produce a lot of heat so the cooling system within the houses is important in keeping the chickens happy and healthy. For example, Gorgie’s houses cooling system can cycle the air in under a minute. Aside from the organic feed requirements, some of the organic requirements are to have enrichments within and outside of the house and to have outdoor access. Enrichments can be as simple as ramps and boxes.
So you may be thinking how does Georgie produce 5 Million pounds of broiler meat each year?
Well, that’s due to the advancements and improvements in technology, genetics, housing, and nutrition. No hormones and no steroids. Applicable to both organic and commercial poultry farming.
Also, what is done with all the manure generated?
Each year, 5 and a half flocks generate 4 million pounds of manure per year. That is about 1 ton per 1,000 chickens per flock. Then a nutrient-packed compost is made with the manure and mortality. That is then sold to a local dairy farmer as a fertilizer. The manure is improving the soil health and structure by providing vital macro and micronutrients to the soil.
On September 22nd 2018 the entire AGRI 130 class was very fortunate to go on their first field trip of the 2018 fall semester. The field trip took place at a poultry farm in the Dover area of Delaware. The tour was given by former guest speaker Georgie Cartanza. She started the tour by giving us an ample amount of mind blowing facts. For example the buildings that held all the chickens were 600 feet long by 65 feet wide each and she had four buildings on this particular poultry farm. She then shared with us that each building contained 37,000 chickens per house for a total of 148,000 chickens. The average age of the chickens was 7 weeks old with an average weight of 6.5 pounds. Thankfully she did the math for us and told us that it comes out to around 913,900 pounds per flock or 5,000,000 pounds of chicken a year. This sounded like an insanely large number at first, but then Georgie put it into perspective by telling us that the average person eats 83.6 pounds a year. The we walked through the buildings and see the chickens. Overall this was a good field trip and I am glad I was able to experience it.
On this field trip our class had some prior knowledge to the poultry industry from Georgie’s guest lecture, but going to her farm and seeing the actually process is the best way to learn something in my personal opinion. I have experienced chicken farms all throughout my life and have had the opportunity to go into to chicken houses multiple times, but never have I seen the chickens at 8 weeks of age getting ready to leave the farm. This is one reason I really enjoyed this field trip because I had the chance to see the chickens at full age and better understand what they look like and how they act when they are full grown. I also learned a little more about the process of disposing of the mortality and I had the chance to learn about how much liter 4 houses produce a year. The ecodrum that Georgie invested in to compost her dead chickens I thought was very interesting and efficient. Then coming from a family farm where we spread around 1000 tons of chicken manure a year I thought it was interesting to learn how much her chicken houses actually produce, which showed me how many chickens are needed for my families farm production needs. Overall I thought Georgie’s farm was top quality and really enjoyed the first saturday field trip.
Before went to Georgie Cartanza’s poultry farm, we had a lecture from her about the development of poultry farm and what kinds of misunderstanding from the public. Poultry farm was started casually. There were hundreds of eggs that had no place to go. A lady took them and grow them to chicken, then sold chicken meat. The chicken was sold out quickly and poultry house started.
Since the chicken is growing bigger and bigger, people may think poultry industry is using hormones and steroid. but the answer is not. What has really lead to the growth in the size of the chicken is they pick out the stronger and healthier birds and feed them good nutrition, and provide nice housing condition.
there is one more interesting fact to know: poultry company and grower work together to produce chickens. The company provides chicks, feed, propane, litter, health supplies, tech service. Grower provides equipment housing, labor, electric, overhead. Georgie Cartanza’s poultry farm is taking the role of the grower.
Georgie Cartanza came in to our class and gave a guest lecture on her experience in the poultry industry and owning a poultry farm. It was a very informative lecture, I previously knew very little about the poultry farming industry or where our chicken comes from. I was surprised to learn that for every job in the poultry industry, seven are created in the community. She explained to us how she started her poultry farm after working in the industry for many years, and how the poultry company provides a lot of the things she needs to run her farm efficiently. We also were told about the amazing technology that is used to control the ventilation and temperature within the chicken houses. Overall, Georgie gave us a lot of very useful information and gave me a much better perspective of where the chicken that we eat comes from. I was amazed at how it all works.
On November 4th, my class had the privilege of meeting the University of Delaware’s Newark farms superintendent, Scott Hopkins, who led the tour for us. We started the tour with an introduction to the dairy herd that supplies us our beloved UDairy ice cream. Scott Hopkins explained that the dairy herd was the most difficult and time consuming livestock on the farm due to the amount labor, time and research that goes into the herd. I found it really interesting to see how feed studies were conducted on a herd within by the use of ID collars that would sync with a specific feed bin that granted that specific cow access to its feed. This practice helps to conclude that technology plays a major role in livestock production. We then moved onto the poultry section of the farm where he explained to us why there were so many small shed-like houses. These are used for testing immunology and virolity amongst small flocks of birds. I think that this field of research is so fascinating and important, especially since the poultry industry is huge to the Delmarva area. Next, we ventured to Webb Farm where we learned about the beef management practices, equine practices, as well as the sheep practices. Currently, the farm is tracking estrous in the ewes and are monitoring breedings and whether or not the ewes take. They track this by recording which ewes have the color coded chalk on their backs – marking a mounting by the ram – and crossing the presence of chalk with their estrous cycles. Scott was very informational and provided a lot of insight into how much work really goes into running a successful farming operation. He was well versed and had a tremendously wide amount of knowledge. I learned a lot on this trip and I hope to continue learning more about management practices throughout my time here at the University of Delaware
This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to tour an organic poultry operation and to learn all about the ins and outs of it. Georgie Cartanza, the owner and operator of this organic poultry farm, was full of not only knowledge about the industry, but as well as wisdom that I will hold onto as I go throughout my life. I found this field trip especially valuable since I was able to apply what I have learned about the poultry industry, its management and the ever-changing market demands to a real life operation. Georgie explained to us that being an organic farm is a lot more work to keep up to standards as well as costs. The average cost of organic feed is 3x the amount of conventional chicken feed – she attributed this to the fact that organic feed has to be shipped to the United States from other countries due to the lack of profitability for farmers to grow organic feed in the states. Georgie also mentioned that with the ever-changing consumer and market, in a few years, she will have to implement more windows, more shade cloths and more enrichments to each house to satisfy the “organic” standards put in place. The poultry industry is always changing and advancing as technology increases and I’m excited to see where it shifts next. This field trip was a great learning experience and I throughly got a lot out of it. Ms. Cartanza is a very knowledgable woman and I hope I get to encounter with her again.
On September 9th, 2017 we visited Georgie Cartanza’s organic poultry farm. Once we had arrived to the farm, we were embraced by Georgie’s small presentation that consisted of details about her farm as well as the chickens on the farm. We were then able to suit up into protective gear, however, this was to protect the chickens, not us! Once suited up, we walked between houses 3 and 4 where we were able to view how the organic chickens were able to graze, as well as being able to play. To get a full understanding of how chickens are taken care of as they are grown, we were ble to enter a chicken house that consisted of 37,000 thousand chickens! Once being inside, I was able to see that the publics view on how chickens are raised may be off. The chickens are given maximum amounts of food and water, as well as very nice conditions in the house. After seeing life on a organic poultry farm, Georgie then preceded to give advice on how to become successful throughout life and that you get what you give. Overall it was a fantastic trip and learning experience.
This past Saturday, September 9th, I had the opportunity to go to a Poultry Farm. Georgie Cartanza has been in this business for quite some time now. She’s been growing organic chickens for the past 11 years and previously worked for Perdue. When it comes to growing organic chickens, they’re certain requirements and guidelines one must follow. This poultry farm consisted of four houses that were 65×600 feet long, each house had roughly 37,000 chickens in each house for a total of roughly 148,000 chickens. Each house had ventilation, air-conditioning, automatic water and food machines that filled up by itself, and lastly an outdoors area for the chickens to go out if pleased. Georgie produces enough chicken to feed nearly 60,000 families for roughly 5 million pounds of chicken a year. Going into this trip, I had knowledge about chickens but no knowledge of how poultry farms functioned rather just my own opinions. I figured the housing and conditions were nearly as bad as people thought, and once visiting these houses, I realized I was correct that the environment was nice. The housing was much cooler than I expected and as well answered many of my questions. One question being how they harvested these chickens? I thought possibly there was some kind of machinery that made it easy but Georgie informed us that all the chicken are caught by hand. My second question was how much room would the chicken have to move and such? And once entering the house you realize the size of the house is more spacious than you would think. Overall, the field trip was quite interesting, I never thought I’d ever visit a poultry farm but I’m glad I did for I learned greatly.
Initially, when Dr. Isaacs informed my class about our field trip to the poultry farm I was a bit apprehensive about it. Being that I’m a vegetarian, I was afraid I’d be exposed to conditions that I wouldn’t be emotionally ready for. Aside from that, I’ve seen cruel documentaries of how chickens are mistreated. But after our class lecture about the evolution of the poultry industry and the farm we would be visiting, I was less anxious about the field trip.
To my surprise, the farm was nothing that I expected it to be. The farm is run by a woman named Georgie Cartanza. Ms. Cartanza is a very hardworking woman who has dedicated most of her work life to the poultry industry. She is extremely passionate and well-informed about the chickens she raises. I was shocked when she told us that she has approximately 148,000 chickens and only has two other people help her maintain and care for the chickens. I was under the impression that she would have many more people helping her. She was very welcoming and allowed us into one of the chicken houses. Although I contemplated if I wanted to go into one, I’m glad that I decided to. The house was very well kept and the chickens seemed to be content in their environment. The chickens are provided with ample food and water through rows of dispensers. After seeing all the technology used to run the houses, I understood why Ms. Cartanza doesn’t need much additional help. I was pleased to hear that her chickens are organically grown meaning they aren’t given any antibiotics and are provided with natural light.
This field trip allowed me to see a side of the poultry farm I most likely wouldn’t have known about. Due to all that I’ve seen and heard about animal farms, I found it difficult to see around the negative associations. However, I can say that Georgie’s farm has skewed my perception.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of visiting an organic poultry farm run by Georgie Cartanza. I was shocked to learn it was mostly a one-man business. Most of the technology producers use today saves a lot of physical labor older generations had to do. Luckily instead of turning the temperature up and down by hand, an automatic system regulates the temperature by itself as needed with fans, heaters, etc. Georgie’s goal in her chicken houses is for the birds to feel as little change in temperature as possible.
As we saw in the houses, technology also allows them to be fed automatically. Once the food gets below a certain level a sensor alerts the system to put more food into the feeders. We could even hear the noise of the food going down into their feeders. Once we stepped into the houses for the first time I was pleasantly surprised. The chickens would move away when we stepped in but as we stood there long enough they would slowly get closer and more comfortable with us. For 37,000 chickens in one house, they were barely making noise. Despite some of the misconceptions I’ve heard, the chickens were moving with ease despite being a couple days away from being processed. Being an organic farm comes with certain requirements like having a door for them to come in and out freely to an outdoor space the same size as 50% of their inside space, and enrichments for them to play on. Most people think that the chickens with the access outside would be outside all of the time, but only a few
chicken at a time would step out for a few seconds and go back in. Georgie runs a wonderful farm with making an impressive number of 5 million pounds of chicken per year from all her hard work and previous experience helping other producers start their own farms. I learned a lot about the poultry industry that opened my eyes about possible careers in the future.
Georgie Cartanza has been growing organic chickens for eleven years, but organic wasn’t always the direction she planned to go. Before Mrs. Cartanza’s transition into the organic poultry she worked for Perdue growing roasters. Chickens that are termed “roasters” will eventually be sold for their meat. Over the years the consumer market for chickens has changed dramatically. Requirements for growing organic chickens are a lot stricter including: certified feed and soil, access to the outdoors and enhancements to keep the chickens entertained. Georgie, being extremely passionate about what she does, felt like the benefits would outweigh the risk and went ahead and made the switch. On the farm there were four houses 65’ wide by 600’ long. Georgie produces about 5,000,000 pounds of organic meat per year, which approximately feeds 59,808 people per year. Our society has such a concrete image of how they think chickens are produced and if more people had the opportunity to see how technologically advanced and modern our agricultural industry has become I think it would be valuable to everyone involved with the chicken industry. My interest in poultry has grown during my time here at the University of Delaware and this experience at Georgie’s family farm has intensified the interest I have.
On September 9th the Understanding Today’s Agriculture Class visited Cartanza Farms in Dover, Delaware. This is an organic farm which is run by Georgie Cartanza. On her farm, she has a total of four houses and holds approximately 37,000 birds per house. With her being an organic farm she has certain regulations to follow in order to make the consumers happy along with the chickens. Georgie has given her bird’s access to food, outdoor areas with toys and water whenever they please; in their food, there are no steroids or hormones to please the consumers who do not want anything to help “enhance” the growth and development of the chicken. On the other hand with Georgie not being able to feed her flocks the proper medicines (Antibiotics). Since that technically is a steroid she can not help her birds fight off sickness. This is the one major problem with having the birds on no enhancements. Despite the birds being “natural” or “healthier” with the medicines given to them, they will have to be kept extra healthy. This can be a challenge for Georgie and her farm because if one flock get sick or begins an illness this can damage the incoming flocks along with her profit. Consumers, who want their birds to be steroid/antibiotic free, in the case that the bird does end up being sick, is it truly the proper thing to let the suffer Along with infecting the rest of the flock? Georgie has gone above and beyond for supporting her family and farm. I find this to be inspirational and such a strong role model in the Agricultural Field. She has definitely influenced me and my perspective on organic farms!
When I first heard that we were going to be taking a field trip to an organic poultry farm I was very standoff-ish. Personally I do not agree with organic for many reasons. However when listening to Ms. Cartanza I was pleasantly surprised. She explained that the practices outlined in the organic guidelines are basically unnecessary because for the most part the chickens do not take advantage of theses organic specific practices. Which furthered my opinion on the nature of organic operations. Furthermore I was surprised by the condition of the chicken houses, they were very pleasant. The temperature was very comfortable, the noise level was low, and the smell was more then bearable; the chickens seemed to be very content with their living conditions. Which is why I was a little bothered by the fact that she cannot allow anyone to take pictures while in the chicken house for fear that they’ll negatively misconstrue what are actually very nice living conditions, in order to further their own agenda.
On our first field trip for AGRI130, we visited Georgie’s chicken farm located about an hour or so drive away. During this field trip Georgie gave a detailed overview of her farm’s own numbers regarding the 37,000 chickens growing per house, her personal history regarding the “roasters” she used to grow for Perdue, and her experience in growing cornish, broiler, and roaster chickens. I immediately liked that Georgie made an effort for the students to understand just how many chickens were in one of her four chicken houses and how comfortable they were living indoors versus the negative image the media drives toward factory farms. She demonstrated that the sound, much like a typewriter’s, was a good sound to hear due to the fact that it demonstrated that the birds were thirsty and drinking from the nipple nozzels. I want to note how effective this piece of technology is because not only does it provide the birds with 24 hour access to feed and water, but the water is contained so the floor does not become wet. This is good for the birds because they need comfortable places to lay and a wet area is not ideal.
During the field trip, one of the most interesting things I learned that I was unaware of before was the speed of laws changing for farmers regarding building structures as Georgie mentioned. By luck, she had more than enough room for the birds to roam free range when the laws changed that the space needed to be larger and implemented by 2018. I find this fascinating because farmers already have a lot to deal with regarding the health of their livestock, maintaining good relations with their neighbors, and managing money to keep the operation going so to keep changing with a changing consumer demand seems challenging. Additionally, I learned the difference between “Antibiotic free” meaning antibiotics were given before but have been weaned out of the animal’s system entirely now versus “No antibiotics” which means the animal has never been administered antibiotics. This caught my attention because as a consumer, I support cage free eggs, which is more labor intensive and costly for the farmer to produce. As a consumer, the farmer has to provide what is demanded of them so the argument that sometimes the consumer is hurting the welfare of an animal by choosing not to administer antibiotics when it’s sick is important to think about. It is a question most consumers do not consider but is very important because the two labels seem similar but varies depending on how the animal is treated when faced with a cold.
Overall, I’d like to conclude my blog post and say I had a great time on the farm and learned a few things I did not know before stepping into the chicken house. Georgie was very informative and I would look forward to hearing more from her again in the future.