As an addendum...
When I first heard about these folks, I didn't know it was as "large" an operation as it is. Not large as in a big factory or anything...it is on the property of a farm and it's relatively small in that regard. But there were so many birds being processed. It was that time of year that folks take their old layers before the winter (November when I went).
I originally thought it was smaller - maybe my perception was more like a single person operation there in their home farm. So that was kind-of what I was expecting and when I arrived and saw so many people coming with their birds, I almost just turned the car around and left. I have enough concerns about stress on the birds, etc., and that just added to it. (Of course, I was feeling like I was betraying friends in the first place......funny thing is that I had to keep from crying when I put them in the crates and then, when I left and no one could see me, I cried all the way home )
When I came to pick them up, the ladies were still working in the final finish and the door was open slightly into the office where I came in. The ladies didn't know I was there and they all broke out singing together "Faith of Our Fathers". (I later found out that the Mennonite-family-owned business employ folks from their church and they are all friends and family working together.) I have to say it was just a comfort to hear them singing and enjoying working together. It almost made me cry (again).
Thanks for the information! That is really helpful! And that is cool that they are singing and working together and all that. Question, do you worry about bio-security when dropping off your chickens at a place like that? Obviously not for the chickens you are dropping off, but that you might bring something home to your other chickens? I keep reading about biosecurity and wondering how much people actually do with that.