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Aug 30, 2011

Chicken Farming Devoid of Technology

By Evelyn Hoover

Technology generally exists to make various tasks and jobs easier. I can read my email, check the weather, send texts and make calls with my Android phone, for instance. I use my credit card in the card reader to pay for my groceries. Some magical piece of technology in my car tells me when I need an oil change.

The business of free-range organic chicken farming, however, seems devoid of technology, unless you count using your cell phone as a flashlight to gather eggs from the hen house. It's an occupation that could use a little technology boost to make it easier.

My 16-year-old son volunteered (because he is a good friend and because money was involved) to care for 1,000 chickens when his friend's family took a 10-day vacation recently. Caring for the chickens meant twice-daily visits to the farm, which is located about five miles from our home. One trip in the morning--and I mean before 6:30 a.m.--to let the 1,000 birds out of their barn and into the pasture. The early hour was required to ensure they had enough time to also eat the 250 pounds of food my son put in the feeders.

Perhaps something as seeminlgy simple as the My Wake Up Call motivational alarm clock would be an asset. The clock awakens sleepers with motivational messages.My motivational message would have been something like: Get up. Tend the birds. Those chickens will taste really good on my plate in a few weeks.

At night, the free-range birds must be rounded up from the pasture and coaxed (chased, really) back into the barn to keep predators at bay. Let me just give you a mental picture of the chicken roundup. You enter the pasture with empty feed sacks. In an ideal world you are accompanied by at least one, preferably two, other people. You try to herd the chickens into the chicken house. These young birds--my son admits they are teenagers in chicken years--don't really understand the concept of going to bed when they are told to do so (definitely sounds like a teenager to me). So rounding up 1,000 birds takes about 30 minutes.

I'm trying to think of a piece of technology that could help with the roundup. I'm coming up empty. Maybe something from IBM that enables smarter chicken farming?

All I know is I'm grateful that my son's 10-day chicken-tending job has ended. Now my motivational alarm message is more like: Arise. It's a new day. Be thankful you're not a free-range chicken farmer.



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I'm wondering: What has this to do with IBM, AIX, POWER???

To me, it's private stuff and I'm not keen to tell colleagues or hear from them about private stuff.


I got a good laugh out of picturing you herding chickens - you needed a good Border Collie! :)

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