Are hybrid chickens still 'all natural'?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Smokin Silkies, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. Smokin Silkies

    Smokin Silkies formerly browneyebuttafly

    Mar 27, 2009
    Western, PA
    Somebody was saying since they are hyrbids that they are less natural than a normal bird...for example a Cornish X Rock vs a Buff Orp. They said since they are bred with so many different breeds and that they grow soooo fast, they have to be less natural/organic. Is this true? Thanks
     
  2. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    I think they should still qualify as 'all natural' or 'organic' if they are raised in a way that qualifies. They are not necessarily genetically engineered, just selectively bred. Unless there's some engineering with them that I am unaware of. And as long as they are not being fed hormones, steroids, antibiotics, or any junk like that to 'enhance' them....they should still be all natural. That said, I had a friend who butchered a whole bunch of Cornish Cross chickens last year and said they were so full of tumors and weird growths and abnormalities inside that she was afraid to eat them. The turkeys and other breeds of chickens that she butchered were fine. I don't know what caused the issue in her birds, as she feeds an organic grain mix to all her birds, plus kitchen scraps/free range.
     
  3. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any chicken (or other animal or plant) that isn't purebred is a hybrid. Being a hybrid doesn't make it any less natural than a purebred. They're just mixed breeds. The broiler hybrids are specifically selected mixed breeds, not your ordinary barnyard cross. If they are raised on good, clean feed, without antibiotics, (chickens are not fed hormones or steroids, that's a bit of misinformation that keeps going around) they are natural.

    Now, that doesn't mean there aren't issues with the fast-growing broilers. There are some. Some feel that birds that are bred to grow so fast, and often put on a lot of excess fat, might not be as healthy to eat as slower-growing old-fashioned types, purebred or mixed breed. Though I'm not wild about the fast-growers myself, I have raised them in the past, and at some time I might again. Or not. But I've never before heard of them being full of tumors and weird growths. I can't help but wonder if she was just seeing big fat deposits and mistook them for tumors. Especially if she let them grow much beyond the 6-8 weeks that most people raise them to.

    Arial 301 said they are not necessarily genetically engineered....actually, they are NEVER genetically engineered. Genetic engineering would involve splicing in genetic material by means of gene insertion rather than breeding. These meat birds are ONLY the result of intensive breeding, NOT genetic engineering. They have been bred for many generations,(chicken generations, not human) but not really very many breeds. They just kept the fastest growers, bred them, kept the fastest, bred them....eventually they got the 42 day broilers.

    I doubt it would be feasible to get them to grow any faster than they already do, just on normal broiler feed. If they grew any faster, they'd probably drop dead before they could get to butcher weight. So even if it were not illegal to feed them hormones or steroids, it would be an unnecessary expense, and likely to be counter-productive. Genetic engineering has not yet reached food animals, except in experiments, partly due to the extremely high cost, and partly because the selectively bred ones are so fast growing already, it would, again, be more expense for no additional gain.

    They grow so fast (when fed like a broiler) that the internal organs don't keep up very well, and they don't live long, even if you don't butcher them. Some people, through feed restriction, have kept a few for quite awhile. I did, I had several hens, many years ago. They lived over a year, but eventually started keeling over from congestive heart failure. We butchered the last one when she started showing symptoms. She dressed out to around 15 pounds, like a small turkey. She had a huge heart, and lots of fat, but no tumors or anything weird.
     
  4. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Since I reject all certification labels as meaningless, let me say they are not natural because they can't reproduce naturally. Even if you raised it to an age where reproduction is possible, it isn't, because they have to be AIed. In fact, even the parents that create the cross have to be AIed. But that is from my own broad but limited definition of the word "natural".

    I did not say (since I assume you are paraphrasing me) that because they are hybrids they are not natural. I said because they are hybrids, they aren't technically a breed, since no hybrid is. Not even my backyard mutt birds.

    And they do not breed true, meaning even if they could live long enough to breed, and even if you artificially inseminated them, you would not get the a Cornish/Rock Cross. Your results would be all over the place. That has nothing to do with whether or not they are natural, since all hybrids fit that description.

    Now, I'm quite certain it doesn't have to be this way. Someone could no doubt breed up a superbird for chickens similar to the broad breasted breeds of turkeys if they really worked at it. Then, that meat bird would indeed be a breed, and everyone could raise and breed their own, albeit by using AI.

    But where is the money in that? [​IMG]
     
  5. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Buster, was your post in response to me or the OP? If to me, no, I wasn't paraphrasing you at all. I'm not even sure what post of yours you're referring to.

    Just attempting to explain that hybrid doesn't mean "unnatural", and the diff between selective breeding, like the frankenbirds, and genetic modification, like the spider-silk genes in milk goats, luminous green rabbits with genes from who-knows-what, and fish genes in strawberries.

    I don't consider AI with chickens (or turkeys) either natural or unnatural, just cumbersome and a bother. At least it's still chicken-to-chicken breeding. The genes work the same way regardless of how the sperm reaches the egg.

    Some people say they AI breeding birds because they want to be sure which roo bred the hen. I always thought that was kinda dumb, because if you isolate the roo you want, with the hens you want him to breed, he'll do the deed all by himself. And if other roos are there, even if you AI the preferred one, how does that stop the other roos from breeding her, too? I have to wonder if some of them just like to AI, for some odd reason. Some say the feathers of some breeds get in the way, and claim doing AI is easier than just clipping the feathers near the vent so the chickens can just breed. I don't see how going out and getting the chickens and rubbing them together, (takes 2 people, too, I'd think) day after day, is easier than just trimming feathers now and then, and leaving it to the birds to get busy, is "easier", but to each their own.

    AI in cattle is standard procedure due to the expense and inherent hazards in keeping a bull, or taking a cow to be bred.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  6. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No, Jenny, I was talking to the OP.

    On the issue of AI, the difference is most cattle can breed naturally if you want them to and if they are allowed. These birds can't. They can only be artificially bred. That means they can't breed naturally, which would fit squarely under my own personal definition of unnatural.
     
  7. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Broilers reproduce naturally just like any other chicken. There is no special procedure done for meat type chickens to get them to breed other than their food intake. Females and males eat out of different feeders... Two totally different types of feed is given. Plus they are on a very strict diet.

    AI is done for poultry if they want a specific trait in a birds as they can inseminate a lot more females by hand than what the rooster could do by himself. Secondly the use AI if the particular breed is to heavy to breed. For instance the Broad Breasted varieties are bread through AI as the males get too big and they end up hurting the female.

    As of now... commercially only Broad Breasted varieties of turkeys use AI in poultry. It is not economical for one to do this many chickens though AI.


    Also as far as breeding goes... you can breed two cornish birds together and get great results. A bird with good meat traits that is bred with another bird with good meat traits... will give you birds with faster growing genetics than any dual purpose breed.

    There are a lot of mythes that come with the "frankenchicken" that are just that... Mythes.


    Are the cornish x's considered natural/organic? To answer the OP question... they are as real as it gets. They are no different than the mutts that other people raise.
     
  8. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    These birds can't. They can only be artificially bred

    That is not true... they breed like any other chicken.​
     
  9. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:That is not true... they breed like any other chicken.

    That ain't what I read, but okay, since you've bred them I reckon. [​IMG]
     
  10. Smokin Silkies

    Smokin Silkies formerly browneyebuttafly

    Mar 27, 2009
    Western, PA
    Quote:No Buster, I wasn't paraphrasing you. I must have missed a previous comment of yours concerning this? My uncle and I were talking about these the other night and he was saying how he don't understand how they could be natural,etc. because of the way they are bred. I argued with him saying that in my opinion, they would still be natural. I guess I couldn't give him a 'real' answer that he was satisfied with, so I decided to get other peoples opinion on the subject. Thanks for all of your answers. They were very informative and I hope he understands better with your exlanations. Thanks again everybody [​IMG]
     

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