Description of the poultry farmer's job

Poultry farmers are responsible for the daily care of chickens, turkeys, ducks and other poultry species raised for meat production. About nine billion broilers and 238 million turkeys are consumed in the United States each year. These birds are raised in more than 233,000 poultry farms, many of which are small farms.

Duties of a poultry farmer
The routine responsibilities of a poultry farmer include:

Food distribution
Administer drugs
Cleaning the speakers
Ensure good ventilation
Removal of dead or sick birds
Maintain the facilities in good working order
Monitor herd behavior for signs of disease
Transporting birds to treatment plants
Replenishment of young bird enclosures
Keeping detailed records
Supervise various employees of poultry farms

Poultry producers work with veterinarians to ensure the health of their herds. Feed sales representatives and nutritionists can also advise poultry producers on how to create nutritionally balanced rations for their facilities.

As with many careers in the livestock sector, a poultry farmer may be required to work long hours that may include nights, weekends and holidays. The work can be done in various weather conditions and extreme temperatures. Workers may also be exposed to diseases commonly found in poultry waste, such as salmonella or E. coli.

Career options
Most poultry farmers raise a species of poultry for a specific purpose. Nearly two-thirds of poultry income comes from the production of broilers, young chickens reared for meat. About a quarter of poultry income comes from egg production. The remaining income from poultry comes from the production of other species such as turkeys, ducks, game birds, ostriches and emus.

According to the USDA, most US poultry farms involved in meat production are concentrated in the Northeast, Southeast, Appalachian, Delta and Corn Belt regions, placing them close to most poultry processing centers. Georgia, followed by Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi, is the country with the largest number of broiler farms. The United States is the second largest exporter of broilers, after Brazil.

Most of the farms that produce broilers are large commercial farms involved in the production of broilers indoors. Other types of broiler farming are the production of free or organic broilers.

Education and formation
Many poultry farmers hold a degree in poultry science, animal husbandry, agriculture or a closely related field of study. However, a degree is not necessary to access the career path., physiology, breeding, meat production, nutrition, plant science, genetics, farm management, technology and agricultural marketing.

The earning potential of a poultry farmer
The income of a poultry farmer can vary considerably depending on the number of birds kept, the type of production and the current market value of the poultry meat. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median salary of farm managers was $ 68,050 per year ($ 32.72 per hour) in May 2014. The tenth lowest paid farm manager earned less than $ 34,170 , while the best-paid tenth in the category over $ 106,980.

Chicken manure can also be collected and sold to gardeners for use as fertilizer, which can be an additional source of income for poultry farmers. Many small, non-business poultry farmers engage in other farm operations - from raising crops to producing other farmed species - to provide additional income on the farm.

Poultry farmers must consider various expenses when calculating their total earnings. These expenses may include food, labor, insurance, fuel, supplies, maintenance, veterinary care, garbage removal and equipment repair or replacement.

Employment prospects
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts that there will be a very slight decline of about 2% in the number of job opportunities for farmers, ranchers and farm managers over the next few years. This is mainly due to the consolidation trend of the agricultural sector, while the smaller producers are absorbed by the larger commercial enterprises.

While total employment may decline slightly, USDA industry surveys indicate that poultry production will show steady gains through 2021 due to growing demand for broilers.

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