What Has Changed the Chicken Throughout the Years?

By August 26, 2016Poultry Processing

While many people assume that the final product after production and poultry processing is due to growth-hormones injected into chickens, this simply isn’t the case. In a previous blog, we discussed how growth-hormones are banned by the FDA for use in chickens. Then why is there such a discrepancy in size between the chickens of the 1950s to chickens of today? Why is it poultry processors have had to adapt to different processing equipment, outside of regular upgrades and efficiency improvements?

The truth is chickens have simply become bigger, roughly four times bigger, than their previous counterparts. This doesn’t make them dangerous to eat or something to be avoided. In the next few blogs, we are going to touch on the main reasons that chickens have quadrupled in size in about 50 years.

Genetics and Breeding

The number one reason that chickens have gotten larger in the last several decades is simply in how they are bred. The chickens of today are not the same breed being processed and consumed as in 1957. Selective breeding has caused new, larger breeds to emerge and become prevalent in chicken farming. Along with breeding chickens with ideal genetics that made them larger, breeders have also selected for genetics that reduce the time it takes for chicken to reach maturity. The time has been reduced from 70 days to 47 days. This increases production and yield, as well as turnover. A chicken farmer can now raise and sell more chickens in one year than previously.

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