In 1936 chicken sold at a considerable premium in the United States. Only about 10 years previously a successful campaign for President was waged on the slogan, “A car in every garage and a chicken in every pot!” BTW, a car in every garage proved a lot easier to achieve than a chicken in every pot.
Chicken was a luxury for middle class Americans, only the rich could afford to buy chicken and the rural poor ate chicken because it was the only meat they had. If they had any other meat they ate it and sold their chickens at the produce house for cash. The going price was about a dollar per bird. Quite a lot when you consider that many jobs didn’t pay a grown man more than that per day.
These natural, organic, free range, birds were killed, picked and then sold in the butcher shops as “New York Dressed” chickens. This term means that they still retained their heads, feet, and all of their internal organs. All of this offal was part and parcel of the price of a chicken. The only thing missing was most of the blood and feathers. A 1938 New York Dressed chicken could run over 2 dollars at retail. This price was about twice what many laborers earned a day.
So those of you who still yearn for 8¢ baby chicks, come with Mr. Peabody, Sherman and me while we all take a ride on the Way Back Machine to the year 1936.