How Raising Meat Chickens
Has Changed

What does raising meat chickens have to do with dog food nutrition? Here's a little history you should be aware of.

Still better than dry dog food, I don't feed it to my family or dogs nearly as much as I used to because it leaves me uncomfortable.

Are you old enough to notice chicken is not what it used to be?

I remember my mom teaching me about the purchase of chicken for the family meal.

There were three grades of chicken. I’ll start at the top of the line and most expensive.

Roaster Chicken: These hens were well fed specimens who reached adulthood (presumably by eating lots of healthy whole grains.) These plump good sized hens had just enough fat to roast or rotisserie whole and have mouthwatering tasty tenderness.

Young Fryer: A chicken not quite as old or mature, a fryer had less fat and could be purchased whole or in pieces. My mother always bought them whole and cut them up herself to save a few pennies in feeding the seven of us. The fryer was a staple in our diet since it was cheaper than the roaster and still tender enough for baking or frying.

. . .

Funny how I still love drumsticks. Being one of the youngest kids it’s as far as I progressed in the mealtime hierarchy. The baby got a wing, I got the drumstick and the older kids fought over the rest. I don’t think I even tasted a chicken breast until I left home and I still think they're too dry to eat unless sliced in a sandwich.

. . .

Soup Chicken: Last on the list and the cheapest chicken to buy, my mother told me they were retired egg layers. Too tough to bake or fry, they made the soup or stew pot. The cooked pieces were small so chewiness was not an issue.

Now let’s step ahead 40 or 50 years. Not only has raising meat chickens changed, but the flavor of those birds has changed as well. With consumers wanting low cost chicken and the producers wanting profit, technology stepped in.

Raising meat chickens in overcrowded conditions led to disease, just like it would in nature. Rather than using more land like a free range bird, antibiotics became a routine precautionary measure.

To accelerate growth and get that bird to market faster, growth hormones were added. Now instead of waiting seven or eight months for a chicken to mature, it gets butchered at seven to eight weeks.

True roasters are a thing of the past in most grocery meat sections. Instead, a quick grown chicken is injected with water, juices and flavoring to plump it up and tenderize it. (Read that fine print.)

Feed is cheaper and unnatural. What happened to all the antibiotics and growth hormones in chicken? They didn’t disappear. They became part of the meat. Yum.


Raising Free Range Meat Chickens

Free range chickens are just that. Raised the old fashioned natural way, the optimum free range chicken would be raised like this:

Let’s say a health conscious producer raises both beef and chicken. They have several grass pastures and rotate their livestock. First the cows graze on the healthy non-fertilized grass until they lower it but do not delete it.

When they move to the next pasture, the chickens move in behind the cows. The chickens eat bugs and plant parts. Any insects attracted to the cow manure become a meal while the manure gets spread out naturally by the chickens. This keeps down the insect population and speeds up the manure decomposition which then feeds the grass.

A traveling hen-house is provided for roosting at night and egg laying for any mature members of the flock. These birds are not only dozens of times healthier, they are happier. If you believe in healing energy and toxic energy, a free range chicken feeds you not only quality food, but quality energy!


Raising Meat Chickens to Nutrition

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