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Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Rainman, Oct 26, 2008.
What breed of bird am I buying at the grocery store?
They have their own meat bird cross. Around here there are quite a few Perdue chicken houses. They raise their own chicks, make their own feed, it's a totaly self contained operation.
Steve in NC
All broilers come from three large breeders, Cobb-Vantress, Aviagen and a 3rd one I can't think of.
Every single commercial hatchery buys broilers as either hatching eggs, day old chicks or for breeding stock from the same three producers. The companies have dozens of Cornish Crosses given only alphanumberic designation to differentiate amongst them. Some are better at altitude, others a day or two faster, others more tolerant of heat, etc. It's only a scant few % different for each, but over millions of birds it makes a difference to large broiler producers.
We often get asked here which hatchery people should get their Cornish X's from. It makes no difference as you're likely getting the same bird from each factory.
It's estimate in a normal person's lifetime, they will never eat a chicken which is not a Cornish X. I believe only 2% of chicken produced in the US is considered free range, organic or pastured, and most those prodcuers are using Cornish X's as well.
This is something I've been thinking about. My mother in law grew up on a farm and it's likely her mother had a flock of dual purpose birds, given her frugal nature. I just can't see her buying chicks to raise for meat. MIL has told me many times that chicken doesn't taste like it did when she was growing up. SHe's eaten free range organic chicken and said it wasn't much better. Is it possible that she will prefer one of my buckeyes or (I can hope, right?) my rangers?
The closer the birds get to sexual maturity, the more firm the meat will become. It may well remind her of "home" when she was young. Here is a statement from the Label Rouge website:
The Label Rouge program focuses on high-quality products, mainly meats, with poultry as the ﬂagship product. The program emphasizes quality attributes such as taste, food safety, and free-range production. The average consumer can easily tell the difference in taste between Label Rouge poultry and conventional poultryin fact, regular taste-testing is a certiﬁcation requirement to prove that these products are "vividly distinguishable" from conventional poultry.
The main reason for the superior taste is the use of slow-growing birds harvested close to sexual maturity, instead of the fast-growing birds used in the conventional U.S. industry. The meat is ﬂavorful and ﬁrm, but not tough.
Slow-growing birds are the key to Label Rouge productionbirds grow to 5 pounds live weight in 12 weeks. In comparison, the fast-growing broilers (Cornish cross) of the conventional industry reach ﬁve pounds in six to seven weeks. The slow growth allows the organs, muscles, and bones to grow in harmony. The carcass is generally more elongated, with a smaller breast and larger legs than conventional carcasses.
Using slow-growing genetics and the low-density Label Rouge production system also offers distinct health advantagesascites, leg problems, and sudden death are minimal, and birds have good immunity. Mortality for conventional broilers in France is 6% during the 6-week grow-out; it is half that for Label Rouge production (3%), even during a much longer grow-out (12 weeks).