Tuesday, September 30, 2014

National Chicken Month

September is National Chicken Month, a promotion of the poultry industry and retailers to encourage consumers to eat more chicken. that's certainly not a goal I'd oppose, but I'd like to see it somewhat broader.

Frank Reese posted this photo of a Cornish-Rock cross from 1968, to compare it with the current version.

As I searched for images of current Cornish Rock crosses on the Internet, nearly all of them showed the birds sitting down. Their bodies grow so fast that their bones can't keep up. They have difficulty standing and walking.

Cornish are a valued heritage breed. there's nothing wrong with crossing them with Rocks to get a faster growing bird, but the industrial emphasis on bottom lines has thrown the system out of whack. The birds raised so rapidly -- they are slaughtered at 6-7 weeks of age -- don't develop flavor and their living conditions are horrible.

Check for humanely raised heritage breed chickens at your local farmers' market. I'm fortunate to have a local breeder who raises chickens, ducks and turkeys. I've had her turkeys for the past two Thanksgivings and they were delicious. I'm looking forward to a duck from her.

Her products are always in more demand than she can meet. Industrial chicken piles up. I'd rather have one good chicken than industrial chicken every day.

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