Broiler Production: Commercial Poultry Performance A Worst to First Story

It's hard not to talk business even while at your children’s school functions. One day in May 2015, while I was at a soccer practice...
commercial poultry production

A case for Litter Life & Big Ole Bird Poultry Supplement

Broiler Production: Commercial Poultry Performance A Worst to First Story

From the onset of the new ABF environment, farmers have fought to thrive in the commercial poultry industry. Bird health has singularly determined the very livelihood of poultry farmers. The lifestyle of a grower is centered around successful broiler production. This success of a commercial poultry farm is measured by broiler performance. This direct effect between bird health and successful poultry production keeps commercial growers searching for solutions to mortality, weight gain, growth rate, and better feed conversions. 

After helping thousands of struggling farmers overcome challenges in bird performance, I have learned the pure determination it takes to raise broiler chickens. From drinker lines, litter conditions, ammonia levels, and feed additives, broiler performance is affected by a myriad of variables. Sometimes leaving growers feeling overwhelmed and finishing last. I can recall the first time I began to understand the desperation a poultry farmer can face when it comes to growing broilers. 

One day in May 2015, while I was at soccer practice, one of the other parents and I began talking about his poultry operation. He began to explain the troubles he was having in his poultry house. His broiler production was suffering from extremely high mortality. As he watched his birds’ health drop he searched for answers, however, no one was able to diagnose or help him with his problems. He was so desperate for a solution he pleaded with me right there in the middle of a soccer field. I began to listen to his description of what was taking place on his poultry farm. What he described seemed to be catastrophic.  As I looked at the pictures of all the dead birds in the bucket of the tractor, I understood that each dead bird was a hit to his livelihood. It was clear his broiler performance was at an all-time low. The mortality was so high it piqued my curiosity to learn how he was running his houses. With my questions driving him further into the conversation, this farmer proceeded to elaborate on his situation.

It was the third grow out in a row, same song third verse.  He grows a 42-day bird and at day 35 dermatitis hits house number four.  The farmer sought out the help of his integrator. The integrator tried multiple strategies to help him, unfortunately, with no success. He was left with no more solutions leaving him helpless as he picked up dead birds in bucket loads.  As he looked onto the soccer field, I could see the uncertainty of the future of his poultry farm. Call it divine intervention or coincidence but as he shared his story I knew I could help. Where he felt hopeless, I felt like I had an effective natural solution to the same problem so many poultry farmers face.

Commercial Poultry Performance: Worst to First

I began to tell him about the Southland Organics product, Litter Life.  Litter Life is a litter amendment that deals with litter through three natural sources: biologically activated organic carbon, soil acids, and indigenous microbiology. The science of a healthy poultry house has led us to believe that litter management is essential to bird health. Properly maintaining litter moisture and waste can positively affect broiler performance. We developed Litter Life to treat the litter floor. Through scientific research, we know the floor of a poultry house is home to harmful bacteria. They constantly feed on wet litter, just waiting to wreak havoc in a poultry house. Once these bacteria reach quorum, they can easily cause an outbreak of Dermatitis or Necrotic Enteritis. There was no question this farmer had an issue with bad bacteria in his floor. Birds are highly vulnerable to the bacteria living in their litter. They can easily absorb or ingest these bacteria, coupled with poor immune systems, leading to sick birds.  

The specific combination of good bacteria and organic acids found in Litter Life vastly improves the quality of the litter in terms of dryness and bad biology.  Through a process called “Competitive Exclusion” Litter Life has helped broiler performance by helping combat harmful bacteria by keeping litter dry. I felt confident that it could be a big help in the case with this farmer. 

After thousands of dead birds and with a little persuasion with his integrator, he was allowed to try Litter Life on the fourth grow out.  Three tiers of management were present on the farm when they made the decision to let him clean the house to the ground and apply Litter Life.

After the application, I called weekly and asked how things were running. He mentioned that the mortality rate was lower than usual, but we were waiting to measure true performance on day 35.  On the evening of day 35, I called him and asked for an update. He said so far everything was great. The afternoon of day 38, I called again. He told me that he had a scare the day before. He picked up eleven birds and they all had dermatitis.  He then proceeded to say that he went into the houses that morning with dozens of 5-gallon buckets, fully expecting the worst. To his surprise, he did not find a single dead bird! He sold his flock at 4:00 am that night and his mortality rate was under 3%.  Relief was an understatement because his battle with high mortality had taken a toll on him. I was confident from the beginning he would see success using Litter Life. His broiler performance was at a complete turnaround. 

The next week, the farmer called me again and said they were going to pick up his birds early for his next grow out.  Due to the shorter grow out time, he needed a way to increase broiler production to reap the same profits of his normal growing period. He chose to use our poultry probiotic- Big Ole Bird. We believe in treating the outside of the bird and the inside. Big Ole Bird helps tighten the gut helping the bird maximize nutrient absorption from feed. Through the grow out, the birds looked healthy garnering him confidence about how his birds would perform.  One day I received a call. Instead of getting the birds early, they caught on the 42nd day. Not only was there still no sign of dermatitis, but the most rewarding news was that he was the top grower in his complex. With that level of success, he decided to use Big Ole Bird again on the next flock. Within his next few grow outs, his mortality rate was at 1.8%.

While these success stories are common, we still celebrate each one. At Southland Organics our desire is to help commercial poultry performance by growing a bigger, healthier bird. We understand certain challenges that come with raising birds. It is the driving force behind our poultry products. We desire to provide growers with effective natural solutions to natural problems. 

About the Author

Allen Reynolds

Allen Reynolds

Poultry Sales Manager

This was written by Allen Reynolds, Southland Organics’ Poultry Sales Manager. Allen spent years working on poultry farms, from installing equipment to dumping chicks. He has been helping poultry farmers overcome obstacles since 2014, focusing on poultry farm strength in the antibiotic-free environment since 2017. He has traveled thousands of miles and worked closely with hundreds of farmers during his time with Southland Organics. Allen is known by even more farmers from the YouTube channel Poultry Biosecurity, where he regularly appears in videos that educate farmers on topics like bird health and farm business.

Learn more about Allen Reynolds

Erin Flowers

Copywriter and Editor

This was edited by Erin Flowers. As a writer and editor, Erin keeps a close eye on the details. Erin thoroughly researches each topic, fact checking and source searching to give our readers helpful resources for raising chickens, homesteading, and growing lawns and gardens. Erin graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor's degree in advertising. She began working with Southland Organics in 2018.

Learn more about Erin Flowers

Erin Flowers
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