Visiting Georgie Cartanza’s poultry farm was an interesting experience that I am lucky to have had during my college career. I have visited a poultry farm once before, however I had never been to an organic farm. With organic chicken being on the rise, I felt it was important to my knowledge and understanding of current agriculture to be aware of the exact meaning of organic and antibiotic free. Organic implies antibiotic free, meaning the chickens harvested have been off of the antibiotics long enough for them to be completely out of their system. A step above antibiotic free, or ABF, is NAE. NAE stands for no antibiotics ever, and instead growers rely on things like vinegar and oregano to combat sickness. Additionally, the better housing conditions such as nipple drinkers, automatic feeders, and temperature control panels have contributed to the health overall health improvements that the poultry industry has seen over the past few decades, allowing chickens to live a healthier life overall, antibiotics or not. Georgie’s farm has allowed me to see the evolution of poultry farms as it is occurring, and I am definitely interested in seeing what we as an agricultural community will be driven towards next.
It was an interesting experience to go to Georgie’s poultry farm. Over the course of two years, I have learned about poultry, poultry farms, poultry anatomy, and poultry nutrition, but I had yet to experience poultry in a farm setting. I was not sure what to expect when entering the barns. I had learned about biosecurity and learned as how to properly keep animals safe. This was my first time fully suiting up and practicing such methods on a farm. Once in the barn, I was surprised as to the actual look of the barn. I had never been inside one and was amazed. Thanks to taking all of my ANFS classes, I understood most of what I was informed about, but was still impressed by the new knowledge. Did you know Sussex county is the largest poultry producer in the US? And that just one farm can produce almost 150,000 chickens per year? I didn’t but it will be become one of my new fun facts.
My Field Trip to the Poultry Farm in Dover went fantastic, as I got a real life hands on experience! Interestingly before we could even get into one of the indoor houses we had to wear a suit, this is a must so there’s no chance of contaminating one of the chickens with a virus or various type of disease. This showed me how difficult the industry is; as you have to make sure that everything goes accordingly (No room for errors)! The three species of birds that Georgie grows are Cornish, Broilers, and Roasters. There are four Chicken houses each house holding approximately 37,000 birds per house, this makes up to approximately 148,000 birds on the farm! Georgie makes sure that almost all the birds survive as she has been in this Business for 11 years! I learned that for every 1 job in the Poultry Industry it creates 7 jobs in the community! I also learned that although the industry has a lot of positive attributes, like anything else there are always negatives that come with the positives. The downsides are the maintenance, cost/budgeting, and the marketing, although it is possible for this not be a factor if you work to the hardest of your ability! Finally I’ve come to the conclusion that the Poultry Industry is like most industries where you get what you put into it, work hard and anything is attainable!