Posted on August 13, 2011 by Steve Sinn

Our baby turkeys are no longer babies. Seventeen days old today – growing rapidly, nearly full-feathered, and rambunctious. The high heat had minor consequences the first week (mostly on this producer’s comfort).  Ventilation was difficult, yet constantly walking through the birds has proven worth the time, even though I’m doing nothing more than looking at them and checking living conditions.  The birds recognize me and begin following, which enhances their growth.  Dare I say temps were in the upper fifties this morning… haven’t felt this for nearly six weeks.  Allows considerably better ventilation and moisture control of the litter.  

Responses to our recent guest column in “The National Provisioner” have been interesting.  One person asked me what sentence in the article resonates mostly loudly to me.  Without a doubt: “We can and must balance the demands of consumers concerned about animal care — some of whom are increasingly raising their voices and voting their consciences — with those of retailers, processors and producers.”

Lacuna Technologies measures individual live bird performance* during loading, in transport trailers, and again when unloaded at processing plants (poultry automated loading and unloading has our patented technology).  We locate, inspect, measure and track live animals during the final hours prior slaughter.   In the process, compromised birds will be detected utilizing objective data.  This information will then be available, in real time, for a retailer/processor to use to make decisions about what animals belong in its supply chain.  

In essence, Lacuna Technologies provides visual measurements to illustrate individual animal state being versus the current practice (little transparency).  The challenge is how best to present this information.  A retailer might decide to illustrate their commitment to animal well being right at the meat counter via a large screen display, or via a code on packaging enabling consumers to instantly view key data about meat origins.  Whatever media they chose, we believe the information must be visual and convey meaningful insights “at-a-glance.”

(* What do we mean by performance?  What measurements are captured?  In short, Lacuna gathers metrics around flock mortality, individual weight variation, thermal body confirmation, outside body temperature, leg/foot pad measurements, individual live bird shrink and dead-on-arrival (DOA) analysis.  For details, see this post.)

Back on the farm, Ruby the house cat left us for 18 days… during all of the heat.  We spent more time than I would like to admit looking for her.  Unlike house cats, it’s not unusual for outside cats to be gone for a month or so and then return.  Something like an impromptu trip to Vegas.  My mother was distressed and believed Ruby would return.  I didn’t share this thought but kept quiet.  We had a fresh batch of kittens ready to be weaned and I wondered which one might be Ruby’s replacement.  Then, as abruptly as she left, Ruby appeared in the barn yard… looking healthy, not a scratch.  She was held and petted by everyone… loved the attention.  Attached is picture of Matt (named after Matt Dillon of Gunsmoke-fame, James Arness is one of mother’s favorite actors) – Matt is being tamed for partnership with Ruby.  He had no idea his sole objective was to be mother’s pet while Ruby took her trip to Vegas.  OK, we have no idea where Ruby went or has been since (she took off for another three-day adventure)…she offers no apologies and no hints.  Her body states unequivocally: what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.