Question to Commercial Fowl Breeders : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I have met different persons along the cyber road. Once saw a statement on the net that the feed, fed to chicks was so full of steriods, the Farmer dared not touch it, with his own hand. The "feed" would burn the skin of a human. Verified that statement, by an ex-commercial who graced my sphere, for another mechanical task. Yet yesterday, I happen chance to be graced by a distance experience ex-commercial chicken farmer, who said they saw their relative dip their hand into the feed, to smoothe the flow. To date: same relative has their original arm intact. But latest voice of expertise, also said chicks will eat, without ending, as long as they think it is daylight. Hence, the lights are kept on 24/7. Chicks are so hyper, a sudden noise could cause many to die of a heart attack, in their unnatural frenzy. So, the healthy pack of chicken breast you feed your family, might only be the result of a mass heart attaccckkkk. Your call to investigate. Grandma had chicks, she did not feed them 24/7.They had a nice pen, water. Your call on this one. Probably, you do not want to know the real history of how that ham got on your dinner table. Stun Gun, come to mind?

-- Kill Floor (, October 02, 2000


DH and I had a commercial fertile egg operation for 4 years. Had an average of 14,000 hens and 1,400 roosters running loose in a 40x600' henhouse. We handled the feed all the time, to balance the hopper as it was augered in. Never lost an arm or had it balloon in size. Seriously, alot more goes into that feed than I care to think about. Hormones, medication, possibly steroids, larvacides, etc. To say nothing of the fact that the hens often got mouth sores from the aflatoxin spores on the corn. In regard to the larvacide-it was added to the feed, went through the hen's digestive system, was deposited, where flies laid eggs on it, and the hatching maggots died. Now, tell me that doesn't do SOMETHING to the hen. Then, that hen, after she was done laying, was sent to either a well known soup company that will remain nameless, or to a company that made chicken lunchmeat from the breast meat. I don't care too much for poultry these days. We have our own little home flock now, and they are fed very differently. I'm not trying to condemn or justify the mass production of food, but remember that meat prices have stayed quite low for many years, and mass production is one of the reasons. Until we are willing to produce our own, or pay much higher prices for organically grown, this will be our only choice. That is why we got out of the business and now grow our own chickens and rabbits.

-- melina bush (, October 02, 2000.

As I have complained many, many times, Pilgrim Industries has 12 large broiler houses just .2 mile up the road from me. I do not believe they use larvacide in their feed as we are constantly covered in flies here unless there is actually ice on the ground or at least it is below freezing. They do not keep the lights on 24/7. They have night lights on all the time to prevent the birds from piling up and killing each other, but only have the bright lights on part of the time. The amount of time varies according to the age of the chicks. By the time they are 6 weeks old, they are large enough to dress out at about 3.5 or 4 pounds. The birds are extremely breast heavy as they are bred to make the chicken tenders sold by a famous fast food restuarant that I never frequent. As for the chickens in general I grew up here and there was always some type of aquatic life in the seasonal creek in back of the house. There were always crawfish, tadpoles, small catfish, water bugs, etc. Now there is nothing. There has been nothing in the creek for several years now. However, when my son was in the 9th grade he was told to bring in a water sample from a non-tap water source. He got some water from the spring beside the creek that the creek overflows into after heavy rain. It had bacterias in it the science teacher could not identify and took with her to the classes she was taking towards a masters degree. Her professor couldn't identify it either. They had to go through many reference sources and the bacteria from my spring became the college class project. The runoff from all the chicken houses goes straight down a wash to the creek and into my spring. Gee, thanks Pilgrim Industries.

-- Green (, October 02, 2000.

As I have said before on this forum, any type of wastestream like the person above is describing is illegal by federal law. If the locals don't do anything about it then complain to state authorities who are in charge of federal wastewater permits (aka NPDES permits). If state doesn't do anything, then go to the feds. Contact the EPA office in your region with your complaint.

All wastestreams to public waters (and that includes dry ditches, lakes, ponds, creeks, ditches, drains, rivers, streams, brooks, and so forth) must be permitted to go to a public water. In that permit are certain criteria that must be met in the wastestream to ensure that Federal Water Quality standards are being met. In other works, the company must have a type of wastewater treatment system in place that cleans the water before going to the public stream.

-- R. (, October 03, 2000.

Me, again. Lets get real about the clean water situation. In four years, we never had anyone check on where our water was going. I know for a fact that it ran into a stream that ran into another stream that ran into the river, one of the major rivers in the South. We had no aquatic life in our pond because the algae overgrew and smothered everything in it. Now, about disposal of dead birds. We were supposed to have a chicken pit, which we did. Then, the company decided we needed to have a composter, which we built to USDA specifications. There are dozens of unused composters in this area, and the farmers are still doing what they always have done. Throw the carcasses in the woods where the coyotes, bears, hawks and eagles can feast on them. Feast on chemically grown carcasses of animals that died from who knows what, and have been dead for who knows how long. Get real. The inspectors turn their backs and do nothing so Tyson, Pilgrim, Conagra, and a dozen other mega-companies can stay in business. God help the farmer if he complains or reports anything. He loses his contract and will never grow another bird for any of them. I would not be saying any of this if I was still trying to make a living growing poultry. It would be a death sentence for my farm. Some of the companies do a better job of policing their growers than others, but none are willing to do what it takes to produce a product that is Earth-friendly. And for the lady who complained about the flies. The larvacide is used in laying hen houses, but I don't know whether it is used in broiler houses. Anyway, it's not to keep flies down, it's to keep maggots out of the manure. They want to keep the manure dry, so it's easy to transport and spread on fields. Manure with maggots in it becomes soupy. Another regulation that is broken daily is the one stating that you cannot spread manure on a field with more than a 30% grade. It happens everyday, then it rains, and that manure runs off into streams....etc. Everyone is supposed to keep track of where their manure goes, but no one does and no one checks up on them. It is an industry that survives only because they are big enough and powerful enough to do just exactly what they want. And don't even get me started about the illegal aliens they knowingly employ at their processing plants all over the South.

-- Mel B. (, October 03, 2000.

Well, now I'm back. It does no good to complain about the waste from Pilgrim's Industries. Mr. Pilgrim is a personal friend of our beloved governor, G. W. Bush. Mr. Bush stays at Mr. Pilgrim's mansion on occasion. You know, the mansion with gold (not gold plated) faucets in all the bathrooms, marble from all over the world on the floors, and it is only a modest 3 bedroom house, with 14 other rooms, plus bathrooms. It is the house that chickens built, as Mr. Pilgrim likes to say. Mr. Pilgrim was caught handing out $10,000 checks to state congressmen in Austin. His defense? Why, he didn't know it was illegal. Nothing was ever done about it. He has everything so sewn up there is little or nothing to be done about it. He is building a new processing plant in the north part of the county that is in the water shed of Cypress Creek, which makes Lake O' the Pines and Caddo Lake and eventually flows into the Red River. He eventually got the water permit by proposing to INJECT the waste water into the ground water table with wells!!!! Now, how clean is that going to make the well water for every one else? On top of that, last I heard he had also, very quietly, gotten permission to run the water off into Cypress Creek after all. He is already dumping "treated" waste water from another plant into the same creek about 3 miles upstream. Corruption runs deep in Texas, and probably the whole world.

As for the larvacide, I was working on the theory that if there was larvacide in the feed, then there would not be maggots, and therefore there would not be millions and millions of flies.

Pilgrim's picks up their dead bird in trucks and hauls them someplace, I believe to be used in animal feeds. Did I mention that he also owns a feed mill?

And as for the illegals, probably 1/4 of the residents of this and adjoining counties are illegal. Many were trained by Pilgrim's in their Mexican plants.

And by the way, who knows how many of the birds being sold in the US were really produced in Mexico? The bulk of Pilgrim's operations is in South America, and I doubt the market is that strong down there. He has really grown since NAFTA and GATT came in. The Japanese looked at some of his farms, including the one beside me. Brought their own rolling lab with them. They refused to do business with him last I heard.

-- Green (, October 03, 2000.

Yes, let's get real on the clean water situation - When a person complains it certainly does help the inspector/investigator to have some hard facts from the complainee about where, when, who, what, and how. Many times I have received anonymous complaints from people with very little to nil to go on (As you can tell I am an inspector.) They don't want to reveal their names, which is fine. I understand that as well as others at work who take complaints anonymously. But an inspector can not go out with just a complaint without any specific details. An inspector is not there all the time. S/he is not omniscient. The neighbors are there. It certainly does help to have those neighbors supply photos and/or logs of the incidents they are complaining about. It helps us to find the perpetrators. And those perpetrators can fool an inspector by not telling him things, leading him/her in different directions, submitting complaints of their own and on.

I am not talking about dead animals. That is for your local board of health. I am speaking of federal water quality standards. I don't know of any inspector in my section who turns their back on a complaint. On the contrary we are required to respond to them within three days. Do follow ups and enforcement action until the situation is resolved.

A lot of times when a person complains to the local board of health they won't respond because it is not their jurisdiction. For water quality complaints go to the state or the epa and make sure you find the correct people to complain to. Otherwise, yes, your complaint may get shuffled around.

And don't come back with "all those government people are corrupt". That is foolish. Perhaps many are. But I am not and I can testify to many fine people I work with including other inspectors. Some I even know would love to have a bribe offered to them just to be able to bring the "briber" down!

-- R. (, October 03, 2000.

I don't mean to insult anyone individually who earns their living regulating the poultry industry. I just know there are alot of people out there defying the regulations and not getting caught. And they laugh about it. We chose to get out, took a loss on the farm to do it, but we can sleep at night.

-- melina bush (, October 03, 2000.


I am not a Bush supporter. I do need to point out that your political slant on the Pilgrim situation seriously puts into question the veracity of your statements because you do not discuss the Tyson situation.

Please clarify. Are you not familiar with the Tyson situation or are you simply a Bush hater?

-- William in WI (, October 04, 2000.

Funny you should mention that William. I was thinking about the Tyson connection while I was reading the responses. Corruption is corruption and the republicans aren't alone in their practice of it but in all fairness I don't think Green was suggesting Billary was lily white by their absence in his post.

-- john leake (, October 05, 2000.

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