Friday, March 5, 2010

Dumping Chickens 101

I've been meaning to describe "dumping" chickens for a while now, so since we got baby chicks back on Thursday, I thought I would do it! "Dumping" chickens is basically what it sounds like, you dump the chicks out on the ground. Let me explain!
The chicks are brought to the farm on converted school buses. One of these buses can hold two of our houses full of chickens, so we usually get two bus loads. It's different for everyone depending on what size their chicken houses are, and how big they will be growing the birds.

The chicks arrive in trays, approximately 100 chicks per tray.

The trays are stacked 10-12 high. We normally get around 33,000 chicks per house, and we have 4 houses, so that means we get 1,320 trays of chickens!

The stacks of trays are pulled off the bus and loaded onto a trailer. We load just enough trays to do one house at a time.

The trailer is attached to a tractor and pulled into the chicken house.

The trailer is backed to the far end of the chicken house and the "dumping" begins!

The tractor is driven forward at a slow rate of speed while about 7-8 people walk beside the trailer. They grab one tray of chickens at a time and "dump" the chickens out onto the ground. You can see the guy in the picture above "dumping" the chickens.

Depending on which hatchery the chicks came from, there may be "papers" in the tray. The papers are thick pieces of brown paper (in a stack behind that guy in the picture above) that are placed in the bottom of each tray. They are there to keep the trays clean, so you know what that means...they are covered in poop! We have to remove those papers and throw them away, so someone has to be the designated "paper puller". In this picture, our friend Linda is stuffing the papers into a garbage bag. (I would also like to mention that baby chickens are kept at 92 degrees, so all that dust flying around in that picture sticks to the sweat pouring off your body. Dumping is not for the faint of heart!)

After all the chickens are dumped, the empty trays are stacked back up and loaded back onto the bus. Then the process starts all over again until all your chickens are off the bus!

Here's a picture of some of our freshly dumped baby chicks!
Snead doesn't have book clubs, sewing circles, or bingo halls, instead, chicken dumpings are our big social events. It's how you catch up on all the latest news! I'm just glad we have a great group of friends that always come to help us, and we return the favor by helping them! Hope I taught yall a little something about the chicken business!


  1. My goodness, that is a lot of chickies.
    How long do you keep them?

  2. It's amazing how cute and cuddly they look, and how bad they!


    Robin ;o)

  3. Great post, so interesting! My kids loved it too!

  4. We keep them approximately 35-37 days. They chickens weight 4 lbs by then.

  5. Thats so neat to see how it's done. I remember getting groups of baby chicks for our little chicken house when I was little. We always had to be careful not to step on the little guys when we would first get them.

  6. I learn something every time I read your blog, Steph. Thanks.

  7. if my job/time would allow it....well, could i try out for a "chick dumper" sometime? =}

  8. i will come to see if in indonesia ;-)

  9. Hi my name is Mona me and my husband take care of 4 poultry houses. Ours hold 19300 per barn are brought on semis taken in barns with forklift. Usully three people dump ours i always pull papers. my emal is would love hearing from you would like to know what state you are from. Im in Oklahoma

  10. Steph, I am so excited I ran across your blog!! (google is the best). My husband and I just submitted our loan appliacation to purchase a poultry farm. If you had it to do over again, would you still be in the chicken business? We have heard the good and the bad! Love your post, they are very helpful in letting me know more about what I am in for. Thanks, Lisa