Mary Ann Van Osdell, Owens, William E.
News Release Distributed 10/14/10
HOMER, La. – The first flock of chickens in the new poultry demonstration houses at the LSU AgCenter Hill Farm Research Station has reached the target weight and has been processed by House of Raeford.
Raeford’s goal for this flock was a nine-pound bird in nine weeks, said Bill Owens, Hill Farm resident coordinator. The flock reached the goal three days early with an average bird weight of 8.93 pounds and a conversion rate of 2.04 pounds of feed for each one pound of chicken produced. The flock included 40,961 birds in two houses.
The demonstration houses will provide Louisiana broiler producers with information on equipment, techniques and management procedures to help maximize their profits. The initial flock was a “test” to be sure all equipment was properly installed and to train new personnel, Owens said.
“The new houses performed well, with the extreme heat of August and September providing a good test of the tunnel ventilation, cool cells and the solid-wall design,” Owens said.
During the eight-week growing period, the Hill Farm recorded nine days with temperatures above 100 degrees.
In addition to testing the equipment and training personnel, the demonstration measured bacteria in the houses and chickens. Beginning with the first day, samples were collected every two weeks to identify the microbes present in chickens and litter so scientists could monitor the flocks for bacteria that affect poultry and human health, Owens said.
The houses operate under the direction of a steering committee made up of representatives from the LSU AgCenter, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the Louisiana Farm Bureau and broiler producers. The committee identifies the management and equipment information that needs to be collected.
Future studies will compare feed conversion rates, energy consumption, chick growth and humidity and ammonia levels for two heating systems, Owens said.
Data collected from the Hill Farm houses will be provided to producers through AgCenter publications and meetings, he said.
Mary Ann Van Osdell
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture