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 Post subject: Need technical explanation
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:57 pm 
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http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08 ... ckens?lite

This article says two things I don't understand.

1. It says 70,000 chickens are worth $20,000. I'm bad at math, but it seems to me that would indicate that chickens wholesale for about 30cents each. Is that right? It seems impossible.

2. It says that without power, chickens begin to die in 15 minutes. That totally mystifies me. I've been to a modern chicken operation (what some people call a "factory farm") I know what they're usually like. I don't understand why a power out would kill chickens in 15 minutes.

There's a third thing I don't understand, if #2 above is true, why wasn't there a backup generator? An alarm for power outs?

I don't pretend to understand farming, but this one completely confused me.

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 Post subject: Re: Need technical explanation
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:11 am 
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That would be $3.50 per chicken, which still seems low. My guess is that when the power went out the place heated up quickly and they chickens died from the heat/suffocation.


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 Post subject: Re: Need technical explanation
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:58 pm 
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I don't think it can be that much - there are more chickens (70,000) than dollars (20,000).

Since whole chickens, prepared & cooked retail here for $4.99, I don't think they can be as much as $3.50 wholesale (before butchering, plucking, transport, cooking & sales costs). But, $3.50 sure *wouldn't* seem enough to me if I had gone to the work of raising them.

It just amazes me that it could heat up that much in 15 minutes - it must cost a fortune to cool if the place is designed so poorly with no shade or insulation.

This article left me with more questions than answers.

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 Post subject: Re: Need technical explanation
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:57 pm 
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Location: South Dakota
First, a little caution about journalism. Anytime I know the details of an event, the paper gets some or many details WRONG.
Second, while 15 minutes surprises, 30 minutes would not. It is the ventilation, and no amount of shade will move fresh air through the building. Most farm buildings like this would have a backup generator--but that is when the power COMING in shuts off. I think the system assumed this was someone shutting things down for a reason--from the main control center.
And yes, whoever wrote the article left you with more questions than answers.


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 Post subject: Re: Need technical explanation
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:55 pm 
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Thanks, Kysa. The ventilator thing does make it make sense - as does your generator explanation. The price- perhaps it was a typo - no matter where you put the decimal, it doesn't make sense to me.

Thanks for the clarification.

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 Post subject: Re: Need technical explanation
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:22 pm 
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You are right on my math, put the numbers in backwards. Oops. Still, there are too many holes to get the whole picture here.


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 Post subject: Re: Need technical explanation
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:25 pm 
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Location: Searcy, Arkansas
Yes, modern chicken houses generate so much body heat that even in the winter they need ventilation to cool the chickens. There was a story near us about a chicken house that experienced a power outage in December or January and the chickens all died from the heat.


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