What kind of birds do commerical meat companies grow?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Rainman, Oct 26, 2008.

  1. Rainman

    Rainman Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 29, 2008
    Woodinville WA.
    What breed of bird am I buying at the grocery store?
  2. Cason

    Cason Chillin' With My Peeps

  3. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

    Feb 10, 2008
    Eastern NC
    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
  4. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    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.
  5. SandraMort

    SandraMort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2008
    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?

  6. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    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 poultry—in 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 production—birds 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 advantages—ascites, 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).


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by