While this particular Blog has nothing to do with Clint Eastwood—-the three descriptions in the title sum up the future of the chicken industry. There has been concern over current chicken flocks being grown too fast which in turn can sometimes make the breast meat too tough (woody breasts). There’s additional concern that the cross breeding has made our chickens top heavy—big breasts and short undeveloped legs. So, certain powers in the industry have decided that they want a slower growing chicken with a more proportionate make up. This group of consumers has dictated that by 2024—they want their chickens to be of the slow growth kind. Let me now explain what the time difference will be. Current chickens are harvested around the 6 to 7 week age. The slower growth breed will be harvested from 8-10 weeks old. And, it should be noted that it is a different breed of bird– not just the same conventional chicken only fed slower.
The Good: This slower growth bird should yield a more tender breast, a more proportionate make up and may even taste better (no guarantees here).
The Bad: The result of raising the chicken for this extra time is increased costs and lots of money. If just 1/3 of the chickens were switched to slow growth–nearly 1.5 billion more birds would be needed to maintain current production levels. The slower production would require additional feed—-enough to fill 670,000 additional tractors-trailers on the road using millions more gallons of fuel annually! Additional land will be needed to grow this extra feed. Additional water will be needed for chickens to drink and irrigation for the extra land. Last but not least—-these chickens would produce 28.5 billion pounds more of manure each year—-enough to create a pile 27 times higher than Dodger Stadium. So, as you can see—you will be paying a lot more for your chickens.
The Ugly: These slow growth birds will be long and slender even though the overall weight of the bird will be the same. That doesn’t make them ugly—just different than what you are used to seeing. I sent a slow growth bird out to a customer by mistake last week and he immediately returned it and said, “where’s the meat”. It will take some getting used to for sure.
So, go ahead-“make my day”—-switch to slow growth birds or stick to the conventional birds—–Rogers Poultry will have them both!!!!
CEO, Rogers Poultry