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Chicken Not So Little and the American Dinner

March 14, 2015
Washington Post photo (click for link to article)

Washington Post photo (click for link to article)

Boneless skinless chicken breasts – it’s been the focus for decades. Now, in an attempt to spread misinformation, activists are hitting informational articles about food to push another round of food fear factor.

The photo appears in the Washington Post with an article about the “insatiable” demand for chicken meat. Demand. Fewer birds, with more meat per bird, is more efficient. It doesn’t always make a demand for the slower growing birds, such as those buff Orpingtons we’re growing for meat.

So here’s the thing, dear reader – you’re buying chicken. Let’s say you’re paying $10 for the dressed chicken – which bottom bird are you going to buy? The one on the left right?! Most folks, with all three priced the same, will go for the bird on the right, as there’s simply more muscle – and more meat – than the bird on the left, which I also suspect is a younger bird.

If they’re all the same age and size, however, genetics plays a big role. There is a big difference between the Cornish cross and the heirloom breeds or traditional broilers, such as the Delaware X New Hampshire that was popular a generation ago.

The comment sections of such articles, however are full of ‘experts’ cutting and pasting ‘proof’ from activist sites such as:

Nothing said here about the hormones and antibiotics and the lack of range free, chicken available.
just blaming the pubic, we need to educate the public to the health problems from eating these bigger chickens. If people new the health costs, they would stop eating the chickens..

We pump our chickens with hormones so that that they can become fat and sexless….and now Americans have become fat and sexless….

Because of the chicken feed. What’s in that stuff? It’s one thing if chickens evolve that way, say over a millennium, but in less than a century?

There often is also comments about getting them out of cages so they can move or being fed GMO food. Here’s some truth.

Ingredients of a feed tag are listed

Ingredients of a feed tag are listed

1. No hormones are fed to chickens. Hasn’t been for over 50 years. And there aren’t folks going into barns of 20,000 birds that all look alike and injecting each bird individually every day, just to deceive you. Antibiotic free is a new niche, but that denies attention to birds that need it. Also, things used in Europe cannot be used in USA antibiotic free designation.

2. Meat birds are not raised in cages. They are typically in large barns or, in other places, in mobile pens in big fields. These pens are moved to fresh ground daily, but the birds themselves are often the same Cornish cross birds used in large barn operations.

3. As above, genetics will determine growth. If birds are fed nonGMO, organic feed of the same type as commercial rations, they will grow the same fast growth.

4. There can be some health issues brought about by fast growth. One way to alter it is slowing down feed consumption, allowing the birds to run out of feed about 5 p.m. until the next morning. This feed restriction can be deemed “cruel” by those who, while wanting solutions, don’t want birds to do without feed. The birds get plenty of feed, just not 24 hours per day.

Purebred Cornish not pushed for weight gain

Purebred Cornish not pushed for weight gain

5. The modern Cornish cross bird was developed from crossing with a breed called the Cornish. These are naturally wide, with characteristic thicker legs than other heritage varieties. This is a breed characteristic, much as a Rottweiler is wider than a Greyhound or a beef steer is wider than a dairy heifer. That is what they are developed for – meat.

7. There are alternatives to the Cornish cross. There are alternatives that look like both of the other birds in the photo. The question is – if they are all the same price, for the same input and effort, which one will YOU buy to feed your family?

Food choices vary considerably. Many don’t like the “old type” birds because they have more texture – they’re more “chewy” as are older when they make the same weight as the larger bird. That younger, more tender, large bird can get that way in less than 2 months. Put another way, would you pay MORE for the other two birds?

We are just one place that has that option of different types of birds, including heirlooms. With those options comes different management, handling, taste and cost. Choose, and finance, what you want!

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