Poultry Processing

 

During processing, the bird is converted from its live state to meat products, and eggs are prepared for market.Poultry Processing

Small poultry producers often process their birds on-farm. Some states allow small numbers of poultry to be processed on-farm without government inspection (less than 1,000 birds/year or sometimes up to 20,000 birds/year). In a Mobile Processing Unit (MPU), processing equipment is mounted on a trailer and moved from farm to farm and is a way for producers to share resources. There are few small poultry processing plants that are government licensed or inspected to which independent producers have access. Some small and mid-size plants offer both poultry and red meat processing. Good handling practices are particularly important during catching, transportation, and processing. Innovative technologies such as the use of gas stunning to improve welfare and air chilling to improve meat quality can be adapted to small plants.

Eggs are washed in the U.S.; however, there are very few small egg washing machines, except for immersion washers. However, immersion washing is not permitted by the USDA. (If a producer has less than 3,000 layers, the operation does not require USDA inspection.) Each state varies on egg regulations for small flocks. Usually eggs must be candled and washed and held at less than 45°F before selling to the customer.

Related Publications

Related PowerPoint Presentations

  • Small-Scale Poultry Stunning [PPT/10MB]
  • Expansion of Small-Scale, Pasture-Based Poultry Businesses: Improving Feasibility and Access to Processing [PPT/7.9MB]
    Small specialty poultry producers raise free-range or organic poultry that boosts income on limited-resource farms and contributes to agricultural sustainability. Many would like to expand their operations but lack infrastructure and feasibility/business planning tools.

Related Videos

Poultry Processing on the Farm

 

Tour of a Mobile Processing Unit

 

ATTRA Poultry Publications


Alternative Poultry Production Systems and Outdoor Access - IP300

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Arsenic in Poultry Litter: Organic Regulations - IP266

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Biosecurity Basics Tipsheet for Pastured Poultry - IP569

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Growing Your Range Poultry Business: An Entrepreneur's Toolbox - IP211

PDF Price: FREE

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Label Rouge: Pasture-Based Poultry Production in France - IP202

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Meat Chicken Breeds for Pastured Production - IP256

PDF Price: $1.95 for non-members
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Organic Livestock Feed Suppliers Database - IP171

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Organic Poultry Production - IP331

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Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine - IP363

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Parasite Management for Natural and Organic Poultry: Blackhead in Turkeys - IP372

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Parasite Management for Natural and Organic Poultry: Coccidiosis - IP245

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Pastured Poultry Budgets: Slow Growing Broiler and Organic Comparisons - IP361

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Pastured Poultry Nutrition and Forages - IP453

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Pastured Poultry: An HPI Case Study Booklet - IP161

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Pastured Poultry: Egg Production - IP493

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Pastured Turkey Production - IP545

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Pastured-Raised Poultry Nutrition - IP227

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Poultry Basics Tipsheet - IP489

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Poultry House Management for Alternative Production - IP308

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Poultry: Equipment for Alternative Production - IP295

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Range Poultry Housing - CT125

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Ratite Production: Ostrich, Emu & Rhea - CT087

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Small Poultry Processing Plants and Services Database

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Small-Scale Egg Handling - IP348

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Small-Scale Livestock Production - IP411

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Small-Scale Poultry Processing - IP231

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Tipsheet: Organic Poultry Production for Meat and Eggs - IP405

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Links to Non-NCAT Poultry Information

American Pastured Poultry Producers Association
Guidance for Determining Whether a Poultry Slaughter or Processing Operation is Exempt from Inspection Requirements of the Poultry Products Inspection Act
[PDF/437KB]
Legal Issues for Small Scale Poultry Processors
[PDF/172KB]
Meat, Poultry and Egg Product Inspection Directory
NMPAN Guide to State Poultry Processing Regulations
[PDF/541KB]
Profitable Poultry: Raising Birds on Pasture
The Chicken and Egg Page

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