Originally Posted by LeslieDJoyce
Is it that our standards have shifted? Or our breeds have deteriorated? Deteriorated by hatchery productivity practices, or breeding the annoying productivity out of them to enhance their show potential? Or were they just never any good?
I think the only way we can even assess their potential is to work on them. I do think there is some purpose in genetic distinction and diversity.
I think it is a combination.
Standards have shifted and more people want that big commercial industry breast size in a chicken. These days they want it super-sized, super-fast.
Some breeds that were not popular have deteriorated because not enough people have been keeping standard bred flocks throughout the 20th century.
Hatcheries are based on volume sales, so they automatically are selecting for egg production in all birds except the modern meat birds that have to be killed at 2 months old before they begin to suffer.
Show people have too often been breeding for pretty birds and forgetting about their production qualities. There used to be a PDF on the APA website that admitted that production in show birds had become poor, especially with laying.
I don't think it was a problem of them not being any good to start with - goes back to the commercialization of chickens and people's expectations shifting. We went from nearly everyone having chickens to few people having chickens as more people moved to urban areas and no longer raised their own food. It went even further when companies went from making a profit to stay in business and pay their bills, to needing to make a HUGE profit in order to satisfy shareholders and make the top officers in the poultry companies filthy rich instead of just comfortable.