A poultry breeder raises chickens to produce eggs or for meat retail. They typically feed and care for them, also keeping charts to select the optimum chickens for production and mating, but some work in research labs and in the offices of poultry producers.
Poultry breeders combine their expertise in genetic selection and animal science to breed lean chickens for meat processing and healthy hens for egg production. Poultry breeders can work in research laboratories and offices, reviewing bird characteristics and analyzing genetic information. They also work in the field tending to chickens. There are no minimum education requirements for poultry breeders. Some have only high school diplomas, while others may have some college background. Those who work in labs may hold doctoral degrees.
|Required Education||Varies from high school diploma to graduate degree|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)*||3% for all animal breeders|
|Median Annual Salary (2018)*||$37,060 for all animal breeders|
Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Job Description of a Poultry Breeder
Poultry breeders select healthy cockerels and hens for fertilization. Once the egg has been laid, breeders collect the eggs and place them into hatcheries. Specialized equipment then reduces the effects of harmful bacteria and provides an ideal area for incubation. Once the chicks have hatched they are transferred to a farm to be raised.
Breeders may also be responsible for tending to newly hatched chicks. For example, breeders vaccinate chicks in order to prevent disease and trim beaks in order to prevent chickens from cannibalizing other birds. Additionally, because chicks can't keep their body temperatures up, breeders place them into transporting boxes that both conserve heat and provide ventilation.
Breeders using chickens for egg production begin by raising healthy hens, also called layers. Breeders design specialized cages in which laid eggs gently roll down onto a conveyor belt and are transported to a processing facility. At the processing facility, eggs are disinfected, cleaned, and reviewed for quality. Eggs that pass standards are then graded and packaged for shipment.
Duties of a Poultry Breeder
Raising chicks involves feeding and watering the animals, as well as disinfecting their quarters. Breeders also monitor the chickens' health, taking action on any signs of disease or injury. While raising the chicks, these professionals track food consumption and body weight in order to breed lean, healthy chickens for meat processing and fertile layers for egg production. Lastly, breeders record chicken size, health, and other factors in order to determine which breeds produce the highest quality offspring.
Salary Information for a Poultry Breeder
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual salary for animal breeders, including poultry breeders, was $43,080 as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that in the same year, animal breeders in the 90th percentile or higher earned $$67,180 or more, per year.
Breeders analyze and choose poultry for reproduction and yielding. They can work in laboratories, hatcheries, farms, or processing units, each requiring different levels of education. Employment growth for animal breeders is projected to increase slower than the national average through 2028.