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I enjoyed reading the conversation about chickens and crocs and even
noticed there's a posting about feeding crab shells to chickens.

Here's an EarthWatch story that ferments chicken carcasses into a
pleasant smelling substance is then used as bait to catch crabs.


The audio is also available online, see:

Ron Emaus		Great lakes Commission
remaus@glc.org		Argus II Bldg.
P: 313.665.9135		400 Fourth St.
F: 313.665.4370         Ann Arbor, MI 48103
EARTHWATCH/ Chicken for the Sea
January 29, 1997

Crabs find poultry pincer-licking good.

People in North Carolina raise a lot of broiler chickens and
turkeys, but some of those fowl die before they go to market.
Farmers usually bury or incinerate the dead birds. But these
disposal methods can spread disease and contaminate
groundwater. A solution to this problem is brewing.

Researchers are turning dead poultry into crab bait for North
Carolina's large crab-fishing industry. They grind up the
birds, add sugar and let the mixture ferment. The process
kills off harmful pathogens and does away with foul odors.

     "This product that basically is a dead bird now has no
     odor ... or the odor is pleasant, like a summer sausage."

That's Teena Middleton, a graduate student in nutrition at
North Carolina State University. She's looking for new ways to
use farm waste. Middleton says fermenting poultry would solve
a disposal problem and would save farmers time and money. It
can be stored for a long time, unlike dead birds. So farmers
would not have to haul them away as often.

     "We're taking an environmental negative and turning it
     into an environmental positive by reusing the nutrients
     that are available in those carcasses for either the
     feeding of poultry and livestock, aquaculture species or
     use as bait products."

Poultry producers won't be the only ones to benefit. Crabbers
in North Carolina will solve a problem too. They usually use
small fish to lure crabs into traps, but tight fishing
regulations are making it more difficult and expensive for
them to get bait.

Bob Hines is a marine extension agent with the North Carolina
Sea Grant program.

     "You can only see it getting worse rather than better in
     terms of a bait supply, so I think it's time to look for
     an alternative source."

Next spring Middleton and Hines will conduct a taste test to
see what formulas of fermented fowl the crabs prefer.