Perdue Farms is testing mobile solar-powered houses for chicken coops


By Michael Hirtzer and Bloomberg

via Fortune - October 6, 2021


Perdue Farms is testing technology that may help with a labor crunch in the meat industry as it pertains to raising chickens outdoors: rolling, solar-powered houses that bring birds to fresh pastures every day.


The mobile coops are being used on farms in California and Georgia and allow Perdue, the fourth-biggest U.S. chicken producer, to guarantee that the birds spend the majority of their time on pasturelands. Each coop, measuring 150 feet by 50 feet, can hold up to 6,000 chickens.


So-called pastured chickens are supposed to go outside each day and are, some say, better-tasting than industrially raised animals. Normally, workers would have to manually move chicken houses to a new field. Sometimes, premium chickens including ones labeled free-range only have access to the outdoors, when in reality, they rarely see much light of day due to space and housing constraints.


“The way the system is designed is meant to mimic animals in nature,” said Ryan Perdue, a vice president and the general manager of the pasture poultry and pet business, as well as a member of the family that founded the company. “They eat, poop and move on.”


The effort comes as global chicken producers try to meet growing demand for meat raised with sustainability and animal welfare claims. Consumers have shown a willingness to pay premiums...