There are many sectors, levels, disciplines and species to the poultry industries of the world. Employment and career opportunities are many and varied. This page sets out to help you make appropriate decisions if you wish to embark on a future or undertake further academic or practical education in this great industry.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (www.fao.org) provides official definitions of the various sectors of the poultry industry. They are:
- Sector 1 : Industrial integrated system with high level biosecurity and birds/products marketed commercially.
- Sector 2: Commercial poultry production system with moderate to high biosecurity and
birds/products usually marketed commercially.
- Sector 3: Commercial poultry production system with low to minimal biosecurity and
birds/products entering live bird markets.
- Sector 4: Village or backyard production with minimal biosecurity and birds/products consumed.
It is sometimes difficult to place all poultry production entities into one of these sectors. There are cases where the boundaries between one sector or the other are blurred. However these definitions offer a good insight into the range of poultry producing enterprises there are.
From an employment perspective, there are a multitude of options. Like most industries the poultry industry requires people with practical, managerial and governance, teaching, research and extension skills. As well there are peripheral requirements such as sales and marketing, design and other skills. The more practical skills are important in on farm situations and where poultry production takes place. These are the people who "do the work". Managerial skills as the name implies are required to manage the practical on farm work, ensuring that the work is done efficiently and governance is important in corporate situations where company policy and direction must be decided on.
Many disciplines have developed since poultry were first domesticated. From husbandry and nutrition to breeding, genetics, incubation, veterinary, immunology, physiology, management, environment/welfare, economics, marketing, to more recently the scientific forays into cellular biology and genomics. All contribute to the team that continues to deliver an efficient poultry industry.
Several avian species are "farmed" in the poultry industry. By far the most common is the chicken. Turkey, duck and geese are also popular. Guinea fowl, quail, pheasant, pigeon, ostrich and emu are less common but important in some markets.