Breeder Farms

This is the second most common type of poultry farm. This farm produces hatching eggs for delivery to the hatchery. After the 21 day incubation period, the hatchery then delivers the baby chicks to the broiler houses. They have roosters which breed the hens, so the hen hopefully lays a fertile egg (about 85-90% hatch is considered to be an acceptable range). Poultry companies such as Tyson, Pilgrim’s Pride, George’s, Simmons, OK Foods, and others, provide the delivery of 20-22 week old hens and roosters and feed, medication, management assistance, picking up eggs from the farm and delivery to the hatchery, catching and hauling to the spent hen processing plant when the hens are approx. 64 weeks old, processing of the eggs – measuring amount of eggs and percentage hatch, and payment to an individual growers farm. The poultry grower provides the housing and equipment, labor, utilities, real estate taxes, insurance, maintenance, clean-out of poultry waste (litter), laying down new wood shavings or rice hulls for the next flock and dead bird disposal.

The grower is paid so much per square foot until the hens start laying at about 30% (for example: out of 10,000 hens, 3000 eggs are collected per day). Then they are paid so much per dozen eggs plus a hatch and feed bonus. These 2 bonuses are paid on a sliding scale based upon the percent of eggs that hatch and the amount of feed per hen to produce a dozen eggs. A flock consists of about 42-44 weeks with 3-6 weeks typical out time. Since a year is 52 weeks and an average flock is 43 weeks with 4 week average out time, they usually get another 5 weeks of a 2nd flock in a 52 week period. They are not paid while there are no hens in the houses.