The poultry industry in Ireland is made up of two sectors- poultry meat and egg production. The poultry and egg sectors make up a small percentage of Ireland overall agri-food sector, with dairy, beef and sheep being a lot larger sectors. Whereas these larger sectors are important export industries, the poultry industry is very reliant on the domestic market though it does target niche markets with growth potential.
The poultry sector is extremely important to Irish consumers, being a very cost effective source of nutritious high protein food. Annual poultry supplies in Ireland are roughly 70 million chickens, 2 million hens of which are yielding eggs and 4 million turkeys.
On your poultry tour you could find out how broiler chickens are reared in Ireland. Broiler chickens are chickens produced for meat that we all know as "Chicken". There are 3 main chicken farming techniques employed in Ireland
On your chicken farm tour we can arrange for you to visit mostly free range and organic broiler chicken farms. Free range chickens are reared outdoors but have access to suitable shelter when needed during bad weather or during the night. Organic broiler chickens while being also reared outdoors, are reared on natural feed and meet strict organic requirements which allow the end product to carry the organic status. We could arrange for you to meet organic and free range poultry farmers where they could talk to you on the chicken farm tour about how rearing chickens organically or by free range has both economic as well as moral arguments to it.
Factory farmed broiler chickens in Ireland achieve slaughter weight at around 6 weeks, compared to free range chickens at around 8 weeks and organic free range production which can be up to 12 weeks.
The endproducts have diverse values in the market though, and on your tour of Irish poultry farms you may discuss the pros and cons of the various techniques with expert Irish chicken farmers.
Some Irish poultry producers have branched out into niche production and sales operations, where they not only produce the product but also market and sell it. This is most common in the free range and organic industries, were the producers in question target the locally sourced food movement.
On our agribusiness tours you could discuss the successes and difficulties of being the producer, marketer and seller all from the one business.
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