Danielle Hayden grew up in Oklahoma’s cattle country. When she married her husband, Daniel, and moved to his cattle and poultry operation in Philpot, Kentucky, she wasn’t sure what she was getting herself into. The farm is a contract grower for Perdue Farms and raises hundreds of thousands of broiler chickens. Everything she knew about big poultry farms was negative, but Danielle found it wasn’t this big, bad scary thing she had been led to believe.
She felt a desire to create transparency, and help others understand the industry. The Haydens built four new broiler chicken houses this year, and one of them includes a state-of-the-art viewing room for the public.
Danielle says visitors begin their tour at the farm’s education building, and then they walk into the chicken house.
"The first thing they see is three great big bay windows looking into a chicken house. They can see the chickens eating, drinking, playing, just doing things that chickens do," says Hayden.
They will easily see 30,000 chickens, the control room and computer systems, and learn how technology is benefitting the poultry industry.
She says the whole idea is to go beyond trying to explain how the chickens are raised.
"We can bring in groups, and host and entertain, and make this experience for people on the farm. I could put something online and tell them my opinion, but, there’s so much of that," she says. "There’s so much of ‘this is my opinion’ and then you have the opposite of ‘this is my opinion’. Sometimes people just need the opportunity to think for themselves. And that’s what we’re trying to do."Learn more about Hayden Farms and their “chicken theater”