The poultry industry in Florida

Material Information

The poultry industry in Florida
Series Title:
Moore, J. S
University of Florida -- Agricultural Extension Service
Place of Publication:
Gainesville Fla
Florida Agricultural Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
16 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Poultry ( lcsh )
Poultry ( jstor )
Eggs ( jstor )
Chicks ( jstor )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


General Note:
"December 1967."
Circular (University of Florida Agricultural Extension Service) ;
Statement of Responsibility:
J.S. Moore.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
30080577 ( OCLC )


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used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
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site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida

december 1967

The Poultry Industry

In Florida

J. S. Moore
Extension Poultryman

orida Agricultural Extension Service Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida, Gainesville

Circular 319


(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida,
and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. O. Watkins, Director


The Poultry Industry

In Florida

J. S. Moore,
Extension Poultryman

Florida with its mild climate,
sunshine and light sandy soils, is
well adapted to poultry production.
Similarly, the rapidly growing hu-
man population affords good mar-
kets in Florida for all types of
poultry products.
The poultry industry may be
classified into two main groups:
"production enterprises" and "al-
lied industries." The production
enterprises include (1) market egg
production, (2) broilers, (3) tur-
keys, (4) production of hatching
eggs, and (5) baby chick produc-
tion. The allied industries include
(1) feed manufacturers and deal-
ers, (2) poultry and egg process-
ors, (3) equipment dealers, and (4)
distributors. With the increase in
the production enterprises there
has been a corresponding increase
in the volume of business by the
allied industries.

The gross farm income of Flor-
ida's poultry industry in 1966, as
reported by the U. S. Department
of Agriculture, April 1966, was
$77,581,000. The number and gross
income for farm chickens, com-
mercial broilers, market eggs, and
turkeys are shown in Table 1. It is
of particular interest to note that
of the total gross farm income for
the poultry industry during 1966,
the eggs produced represent 84
percent; broilers, 11 percent; farm
chickens, 3.6 percent; and turkeys,
.07 percent.
That Florida's poultry industry
has become big business is shown
by the figures in Table 2. During
the past fifteen years, the number
of hens and pullets on Florida
farms has increased from 2,431,000
to 9,643,000, an increase of 297

Gross Farm Income of Florida's Poultry
Industry 1966
Number Gross
Product Produced Income

Chickens Raised 9,832,000 $ 2,765,000
Commercial Broilers 18,640,000 8,828,000
Eggs Produced 1,999,000,000 65,467,000
Turkeys Produced 203,000 521,000

Total Gross Income $77,581,000

This is a typical layout for birds in cages.

percent. The number of eggs pro-
duced has jumped from 347,000,-
000 to 1,999,000,000, an increase
of 476 percent during this same
It is of particular interest to note
the first two columns in Table 2
(hens and pullets on farms and egg
production). It will be observed
that egg production increased at a
more rapid rate than did the num-
ber of hens and pullets. Egg pro-
duction per layer during the past
fifteen years has increased 45 per-
cent. This increase has been
brought about by better stock, bet-
ter feeds, and more efficient man-
The commercial production of
broilers in Florida during the past
fifteen years increased from 9,601,-

000 to 12,855,000 broilers, an in-
crease of only 33 percent; however,
during 1966, the number of broil-
ers raised went up to about 19,000,-
000. This increase was influenced
by the decision of one large feed
company to open up a broiler opera-
tion in the state. This upward
trend is expected to continue.

This is a typical layout for layers on
the floor.

Growth of Florida's Poultry Industry
Hens and
Pullets on Egg Commercial Turkeys Chicks
Year Farms Production Broilers Raised Hatched
Number on Number Number Number Number
January 1 in in in in
in millions thousands thousands thousands
1950 2,431,000 347,000,000 9,001,000 131,000 17,000,000
1955 3,205,000 505,000,000 9,389,000 164,000 27,613,000
1960 5,400,000 1,144,010,000 10,101,000 205,000 31,008,000
1965 7,762,000 1,599,000,000 12,855,000 209,000 39,574,000
1966 8,200,000 1,999,000,000 18,640,000 203,000 52,367,000
1967 9,348,000 -

The commercial
turkeys in Florida
sixteen years has

production of
during the past
increased from

131,000 to 203,000, an increase of
55 percent.
No poultry industry is complete
without a good hatchery (baby
chick) business. The number of
chicks hatched in Florida hatch-
eries increased from 17,000,000 in
1950 to 52,367,000 in 1966. This
represents an increase of 308 per-
cent during the past sixteen years.
The hatching of baby chicks is
one of the most important of the
poultry production enterprises for
two reasons. All of the other poul-
try enterprises are dependent on
the hatcheries for their supplies of
baby chicks and poults. In addi-
tion, the Florida poultryman's re-
sults are influenced by the quality
of chicks offered by the hatchery-
Table 3 shows the number of
hatcheries, their total egg capacity,
and the number of chicks hatched
during the past sixteen years. The

number of hatcheries operating in
Florida decreased from 79 in 1950
to 32 in 1966. During this same
period the total egg capacity in-
creased from 4,132,392 to 8,927,-
710. This increase illustrates very
clearly the change in the average
size of hatcheries. In 1950 the
total average capacity per hatch-
ery was 52,307 compared with a
capacity of 208,785 per hatchery
in 1966.

r / <

This is typical of a broiler operation.
Note the location of the automatic

Number of Hatcheries, Egg Capacity, and Number of
Chicks Hatched in Florida
Number of Total Egg Total Number
Year Hatcheries Capacity Chicks Hatched

1950 79 4,132,392 17,000,000
1955 67 5,051,335 27,613,000
1960 44 5,346,540 31,008,000
1965 31 6,472,330 39,574,000
1966 32 8,927,710 52,367,000

Another very interesting item is
the total production of chicks since
1950. This figure increased from
17,000,000 chicks in 1950 to a total
of 52,367,000 in 1966.

Florida hatcheries are operating
their incubators twelve months of
the year to supply the demands for
broiler chicks, chicks for replace-
ments in the laying flock, and

poults. As a result, Florida poultry
raisers are able to purchase chicks
at any season of the year.
Florida hatcheries not only pro-
duce chicks for Florida farmers,
but they also export about one mil-
lion baby chicks a month primarily
to the Latin-American countries.
This export chick business has been
developing during the past forty

A typical hatchery room.

Integration and contract are
terms now used in poultry produc-
tion. Contracts first came into the
picture with regard to broiler pro-
duction. Now there is contracting
not only in broiler production, but
in market eggs and turkey pro-
Contract production involves a
contract to produce broilers, eggs
or turkeys under specified condi-
tions. Contracting in its simpliest
form is an agreement by the pro-
ducer to furnish land, labor, hous-
ing and equipment to grow broil-
ers, or turkeys or to produce eggs.
A feed manufacturer, a processing
plant or the program operator,
whoever he may be, agrees to fur-
nish the baby chicks, turkey poults
or pullets and the feed and other
essentials required to grow these.
He also furnishes a certain amount
of supervision and aids in the mar-
keting program. There is an agree-
ment as to how the profit or loss
will be handled.
There is much contracting of
broiler production in Florida and
contracting of market egg produc-
tion is increasing. As contracting
has developed, more and more at-
tention has been given by both
parties to the contract.
The American Poultry and
Hatchery Federation recommends
that contracts: state the purposes;
give the date, name the contracting
parties, describe the property, and
list the terms of the contract; list
the responsibilities of the supplier
and producer; describe prices, pool-
ing and payment terms; outline the
sharing of possible additional ex-

penses; describe arbitration pro-
cedure; describe actions if breach-
ed; state whether assignable; and
list responsibilities for miscellane-
ous contingencies.
Contracts should be written.
They should be analyzed. Consult
your attorney.

Florida's poultry industry is
made up of farms scattered
through the state. However, there
is a concentration of the number of
laying hens in the following coun-
ties; H e r n a n d o, Hillsborough,
Polk and Pasco. The second most
concentrated area is made up of
these counties; Alachua, Clay, Co-
lumbia, Duval, Nassau, and Brad-
ford. Other counties are Orange,
Volusia, Dade and Lake. The five
counties having the greatest num-
ber of hens and pullets are; Hills-
borough, Hernando, Nassau, Pasco
and Bradford.
There are two specialized broiler
production areas in the state. One
area of concentration includes the
counties of Putnam, Clay, Alachua,
Bradford, Duval and St. Johns. The
second broiler area is in West Flor-
ida in and around Walton County,
particularly the area adjacent to
DeFuniak Springs. Beginning late
in 1964 and continuing into 1966 a
third broiler area has developed.
This area includes the counties of
Suwannee, Hamilton, Lafayette
and Madison.
Commercial turkey production
over the past 16 years has varied
from a low of 131,000 birds in
1950 to a high of 459,000 birds in

1959. Since 1959 production has
leveled off at about 200,000 birds
annually. There are only 12-15
commercial turkey growers in the
state and at the present time one
grower is producing 3/4 of the 200,-
000 birds now being grown.
Sixteen counties in Florida have
hatcheries. Three counties in the
state have more than 54 percent of
the total incubation capacity. The
three counties having the greatest
incubator capacity are Duval, Hills-
borough, and Dade. Although the
hatchery capacity is concentrated
around the larger cities, the pro-
ducers in all sections of the state
are able to secure the chicks from
Florida hatcheries with prompt

There are several agencies with-
in the state engaged in educational
activities to assist the poultry pro-
ducers in improving their efficiency
of operation. These activities in-
clude production testing and work-
ing with members of the allied
industries to make Florida's poul-
try industry of greater economic
importance to the state. In addi-
tion, there are several commodity
organizations in existence which
permit various segments of the in-
dustry to be brought together to
develop a more uniform program
for the benefit of the entire in-
The state agencies giving aid to
poultry producers include the De-
partment of Poultry Science, Uni-
versity of Florida, Gainesville, with
its program in teaching, research
and extension. Poultry courses are

offered to students enrolled in the
University so that they may major
in this field as undergraduates or
graduates. The Department under-
takes research studies to assist in
solving problems confronting the
industry. Agricultural Extension
Service personnel work with coun-
ty and home demonstration agents
and industry members to improve
the efficiency of their operations,
and this agency supervises the
Florida Random Sample Test. The
Department of Veterinary Science,
a teaching and research unit of
the University of Florida, offers
courses in poultry diseases and par-
The State Department of Agri-
culture with its Poultry and Egg
Inspection Division at Tallahassee
has the responsibility of enforcing
the poultry and egg laws to see
that these products are properly
classified as to quality and weight
grades. These laws have been of
great value in improving the qual-
ity of poultry products offered for
sale and in protecting the producer,
dealer and consumer.
The State Marketing Bureau,
Tampa, has the responsibility of
quoting egg and poultry prices.
The Florida Department of Agri-
culture, Division of Animal Indus-
try, Tallahassee, supervises the
National Poultry Improvement
Plan in the state. The National
Poultry Improvement Plan was
created by an Act of Congress in
1935. It authorized the Agricul-
tural Research Service, U. S. De-
partment of Agriculture, to coop-
erate with one official agency in
each state in the administration of

the plan. In Florida, the Division
of Animal Industry was designated
as the Official State Agency. While
this division is responsible for the
administration of the Plan, it has
the endorsement and cooperation
of the State and County Agricul-
tural Extension Service personnel,
the Poultry Department of the Uni-
versity of Florida, the Florida
State Poultry Producers Associa-
tion, the Florida Poultry Industry
Federation, and the Florida Hatch-
ery and Breeders Association.
The rules and regulations of the
Division of Animal Industry and
the National Poultry and Turkey
Improvement Plans require that
flocks must have one official nega-
tive blood test for pullorum and
typhoid. If reaction is found on
the first test, the flock may qualify
as U. S. Florida Pullorum Typhoid
Clean with two (2) consecutive
official negative tests 21 days apart.
All hatcheries and flocks listed in
this official directory have this rat-
ing and all hatching eggs and
chicks handled by the National
Plan Dealers or Exporters are re-
quired to have this same classifica-
tion. Chickens are tested by the
stained antigen, rapid whole blood
method and turkeys are tested by
the serum-plate method.
In addition to the program of
pullorum-typhoid testing, as pro-
vided for in the Plans, testing for
P.P.L.O. (M. gallisepticum) in
chicken and turkey flocks may be
performed at the request of the
participant. Turkey flocks may
qualify as U. S. Florida M. galli-
septicum tested when a random
sample of at least 10 percent of the

birds are tested, and no reactors
are found. Specific procedures for
maintaining isolation and good san-
itation are also required to qualify
such flocks. In order to sell hatch-
ing eggs or poults of this classifi-
cation, all hatching eggs and poults
handled by the participant must be
of this classification. In 1966, 41
flocks with a total of 340,782 birds
were tested without showing reac-
tors to pullorum disease or fowl
typhoid. The Division of Animal
Industry of the Department of Ag-
riculture also operates and super-
vises diagnostic laboratories for
poultry at the following points in
the state: Jackson County at Cot-
tondale, Pasco County at Dade
City, Dade County at Hialeah,
Osceola County at Kissimmee and
Suwannee County at Live Oak. All
poultrymen can carry their birds
to these laboratories for disease
Poultry associations have been
organized in the state on a county
and state level to assist in pro-
tecting and developing the poultry
industry of the state.
A statewide association is the
Florida State Poultry Producers'
Association. The purpose of this
association is to promote, foster,
and encourage the intelligent, or-
derly, and lawful production and
marketing of poultry and eggs. The
state membership is composed of
members of county poultry asso-
ciations, and members at large.
A second poultry organization is
the Florida Breeders and Hatchery
Association. This association has
in its membership hatchery opera-
tors and poultry breeder flock own-

ers. Its purpose is (1) to foster,
promote, and protect the baby
chick industry, and (2) to encour-
age the development of the allied
phases of the poultry industry.
Three other specialty associa-
tions, namely the Poultry Proces-
sors Association, the Florida Feed
Association, and the Florida Egg
Dealers Association, are in opera-
tion in the state to promote and
further their segment of the poul-
try industry.
The Florida Poultry Industry
Federation, Inc. is an overall or-
ganization. It is made up of two
directors from each of the five or-
ganizations listed. The objectives
of the Florida Poultry Industry
Federation are to: (a) coordinate
and correlate the efforts and ac-
tivities of all phases of the poultry
industry within the State as may
be represented by associations as
set up by any phase of the poultry
industry or by individuals repre-
senting any particular phase or
service in relation to poultry that
is conducted within the State; (b)
cooperate with the State and Fed-
eral governments and the various
agencies; institutions and organi-
zations within this State and other
states within the Southeastern re-
gion and nationally, in matters
relating to the promotion and pro-
tection of the poultry industry in
this State and the Southeastern
states and the nation as a whole;
(c) perfect an organization which
can speak with authority and re-
liability in the interest of the poul-
try industry in all phases or as it
may be developed within this state
and in this section of the United

States, or nationally; (d) more ef-
fectively represents this state in
sectional and national affairs per-
taining to the poultry industry; (e)
develop ways and means of promot-
ing a safe and logical growth of
poultry keeping upon a high qual-
ity basis of standardization of
grades and uniform terminology
within this state, section and na-
tion; (f) enhance the safety of the
poultry industry in this state, the
Southeastern states, and the na-
tions, and to make possible such
coordination and correlation as
may be needed from time to time
in order to further the welfare of
the poultry industry within this
area. Each of the poultry organ-
izations has two representatives
in the federation.

The Florida Random Sample
Test supervised by the Agricul-
tural Extension Service, University
of Florida, Institute of Food and
Agricultural Sciences is a testing
facility for the various breeds and
strains of poultry. This test is lo-
cated at C h i p e y, Washington
A random sample of eggs is
picked up at the hatchery or breed-
ing farm by a state official. All
eggs are incubated at the same
hatchery. At hatching time a given
number of the pullet chicks from
each group are identified with wing
bands. In the test all chicks are
brooded, fed, managed and reared
together. The test has a 150-day
growing period and a 400-day lay-
ing period. The results of this test
show the variations under uniform

management and housing condi-
tions of the performance of the
various stocks offered to the poul-
try producers of the state.
The summary of the Fourteenth
Random Sample Test shows that
during the growing period (150
days) the mortality was 5.7%. The
amount of feed required per pullet
was 17.55 pounds and the cash cost
per pullet housed was $1.11. The
laying period consisted of 400 days
and during this period the egg pro-
duction per pullet housed was
244.9. The number of pounds of
feed per hen was 97.7. The pounds
of feed per pound of egg was 2.8.
For the entire period (rearing and
laying) the receipts (for sale of
eggs and meat) over cost of chicks,
feed and medication amounted to
$4.26 per pullet.

Here is a layout for brooding replace-
ment pullets.

Beginning in 1968, the Random
Test will have pullets both on the
floor and in cages. A comparison
between the two systems will be

Parallel with the development of
Florida's poultry production has
been the growth of allied indus-
tries, including the feed manufac-
turers and dealers, processing and
merchandising businesses, and
handlers of poultry equipment.
These industries are rendering a
great service to the poultry indus-
Feed industry.-The feed indus-
try is a vital part of the poultry
industry. In the state, feed mills
are located so that the poultry pro-
ducers may be well serviced. Poul-
try producers are able to buy
ingredients for their feeds and mix
them on the farm, to have the in-
gredients mixed at the mill, or to
purchase ready-mixed feeds. Most
of the larger feed manufacturers
have servicemen in the field to as-
sist the producer in making his
operation more efficient. During the
past twenty years the feed indus-
try has expanded not only to take
care of the increase in the poultry
population, but also to render im-
proved services.
Egg handlers.-The collection,
processing, and distribution of the
almost two billion eggs produced in
Florida in 1966 entail personnel
and equipment throughout the
state. Brokers, distributors, truck-
ers, egg dealers, cooperatives, chain
stores, and producers are all in-
volved in processing and merchan-
dising eggs from producer to the
retail stores. The organizations en-
gaged in this phase of marketing
have not only increased in num-
bers, but they are using improved
equipment so as to insure a better

An inside view of an egg processing plant.

quality of egg for the housewife.
Both producers and retail stores
sell eggs to the consumer. These
handlers are fairly well distributed
throughout the state, but they are
more concentrated in the egg pro-
ducing areas and in the larger
Poultry processors.-The large
poultry processing plants are locat-
ed near the larger broiler produc-
ing areas and near the larger cities
of the state. Poultry processing
has made very rapid strides dur-
ing the past ten to fifteen years,
and improved facilities are now
available in the producing areas.
Poultry handlers.-Freshly kill-

ed, dressed and drawn poultry,
and quick frozen poultry are han-
dled by brokers and distributors
and in retail stores. Retail stores
throughout the state stock fresh-
dressed and drawn poultry and
frozen poultry, whole, eviscerated,
or in parts.

The growth and development of
the poultry industry in Florida has
been such that it may be helpful
to state what appears to be the
minimum size flocks for a one-man
operation where the main source
of income will be poultry produc-
tion. A one-man commercial broiler

A view of a turkey flock in Florida..' ,.',
A view of a turkey flock in Florida.

farm should have a plant with a
25,000-broiler capacity in order to
raise four lots a year or a total of
100,000 broilers per year. The
farm should produce 40 pounds of
meat per 100 pounds of feed, have
less than 5 percent mortality and
market the broilers before nine
weeks of age. A one-man commer-
cial egg farm should have a ca-
pacity for 25,000 layers, produce at
least 240 eggs per bird per year
and have a mortality rate of only
10 percent or less, and secure 235
eggs for each 100 pounds of feed
fed. In general the flock should be
composed entirely of pullets.
The trend in the poultry business
in Florida is for larger flocks of
layers, broilers, and turkeys. Better
efficiency can be obtained where
the flock is sufficiently large to
warrant proper attention and man-

agement, and where feeds and oth-
er supplies can be purchased in
wholesale quantity rather than at
retail. Where poultry meat or eggs
are produced in large amounts, bet-
ter facilities for taking care of the
product and for getting these prod-
ucts to market will be provided on
the farm which will help to improve
and hold the quality of the product.
Today there is a demand for high
quality products.
Due to increased production, not
only in Florida but in the United
States as a whole, the trend in re-
turn per unit of product is down-
ward. Larger flocks and better ef-
ficiency in individual operations
can help to offset this reduced in-
come per unit of product and enable
the poultryman to maintain a fair-
ly high over-all return for his


Eggs are processed and market-
ed in many different ways in Flor-
ida. Factors influencing the choice
of method are location of the farm
as related to the market, the size
of the industry in the area, its dis-
tance from the market, and the size
of the flock.
A small percentage of the pro-
ducers grade and package their
eggs in cartons and sell direct to
consumers and retail stores. Most
of the eggs produced in Florida,
however, travel from producer to
egg dealer, trucker, or cooperative,
and then to the retail stores where
they are purchased by the con-
In the handling of the eggs on
their way from the farm to the re-
tail stores, the operations of clean-
ing, cooling, sizing, candling, and
packaging are performed by the
producer, egg dealer, trucker, or
cooperative. The trend in Florida
is to have the egg dealers and co-

operatives candle, size and package
the eggs so as to offer a more uni-
form package to the trade.
The merchandising of poultry
meat has become a very specialized
business and includes the sale of
live poultry and dressed poultry.
Practically all of the broilers are
sent to processing plants where
they are prepared for market. Only
a few poultrymen process poultry
on the farm for the consumer
trade. The processor renders a very
valuable service to the poultry in-
dustry by preparing the live poul-
try and selling the dressed and
drawn product to retail stores,
brokers, and distributors. The pro-
cessing plants handling large vol-
umes of poultry are in a position to
offer a more uniform product to
the trade.
The brokers and distributors in
the state handle both Florida
dressed and drawn poultry as well
as shipped-in dressed and drawn
poultry and frozen poultry which
they sell to the retail stores.

\ Automatic counting
Sof cells using the
new electronic
Coulter Counter


Opportunities for a career in poultry science
and its related fields have never been better.
Positions in public service include scientific re-
search, teaching, extension, inspection, grading
and market news service. Industry offers a variety
of employment opportunities such as farm man-
agers, egg and poultry processing plant managers,
hatcherymen, flock supervisors, and sales and
service work for feed, equipment, and pharmaceu-
tical firms. For poultry graduates with journalism
training positions are also available in the radio,
television, newspapers and magazine field.


Several tuition scholarships are available to
qualified poultry majors. Numerous loan plans
are available for financing university studies.
Part time work is available on an hourly basis
and provides students an opportunity to earn while
they learn. Assistantships and fellowships are
available to graduate students.

The University of Florida Poultry Science De-
partment is located just off the main campus of
the University. Office, laboratory and farm fa-
cilities in one location provide excellent coordina-
tion of both teaching and research.

Office, library and
classroom building

Laboratory and research building

_o -" _:.. t. --

For further information on a career in the
poultry industry contact:
Poultry Science Department
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32601