The poultry sector is completely dominated by a few large poultry processing companies, known as integrators, that control every step of chicken production — from chicks to cutlets. Farmers that raise chickens are known as growers; these growers do not even own the birds they raise and fatten for the processors, often under abusive contracts. Integrators deliver chicks to the growers, micromanage how the birds are raised, and frequently require the growers to build and upgrade expensive henhouses in order to keep getting contracts. Chickens reach slaughter and processing weight in about six or even weeks, but loans taken out to build henhouses can last for more than a decade, making many chicken growers entirely dependent on a series of flock-to-flock contracts to repay their debts. The poultry sector is less like a free market than abject serfdom. Growers are reluctant to defend themselves from abusive practices because integrators can retaliate by cutting off their contracts. Often there is only one processor operating in any one area, which leaves growers with no other options to sell poultry.