To order to raise chickens for meat, chicken farmers must select an appropriate breed and determine how many broilers to raise in each henhouse. This study proposes a mathematical programming model to develop a production planning and harvesting schedule for chicken farmers. The production planning comprises the number of batches of chickens to be raised in each henhouse, the number of chicks to be raised for each batch, what breed of chicken to raise, when to start raising and the duration of the raising period. The harvesting schedule focuses on when to harvest and how many broilers to harvest each time. Our aim was to develop proper production and harvesting schedules that enable chicken farmers to maximise profits over a planning period. The problem is a highly complicated one. We developed a hybrid heuristic approach to address the issue. The computational results have shown that the proposed model can help chicken farmers to deal with the problems of chicken-henhouse assignment, chicken raising and harvesting, and may thus contribute to increasing profits. A case study of a chicken farmer in Yunlin County (Taiwan) was carried out to illustrate the application of the proposed model. Sensitivity analysis was also conducted to explore the influence of parameter variations.
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