Tuesday, February 10, 2009

poultry stats.

my intro to the world of poultry, beginning with chicken. barely meat, but worth considering.
-there are more chickens in the world than any other bird-- over 24 million!
-chickens naturally have a lifespan of five to eleven years, but commercial chickens are often slaughtered at six weeks; free range at fourteen; egg-laying at twelve months (for use in heavily processed food, like pet food and... baby food?!)
-before 1910, chicken was mostly a "special occasion" food in the U.S.
-whole, ready to cook chickens were not commonplace until the 1950s; most chickens were cleaned by the local butcher or at home!
-until 1960, chickens were primarily raised on family farms, with eggs being the priority
-chicken and their eggs used to be "seasonal," but through the use of vitamin D, they can be kept inside, ready to produce, year-round; therefore, in 1900, average egg production was 83 eggs per hen per year and in 2000, it was well over 300
-there is no federal law that regulates the humane treatment of chickens, meaning chickens are routinely debeaked, live their lives in complete darkness, are "selectively bread" to essentially create fatter birds, and fed heaps of antibiotics and hormones

and this is just for my dad, whose childhood pet chickens mysteriously disappeared one day--
-chickens are omnivores, so why not let them roam around your kitchen? they can eat anything from leftover baked goods to stray lizards and insects, but are probably best left to feast on your lawn
-the "urban hen movement" (check it out! fun blog.)
-eggs of pastured chickens contained 34% less cholesterol, 10% less fat, 40% more vitamin A, twice as much omega-6 fatty acid, and four times as much omega-3 fatty acid as the USDA standard
and just some fun articles about chickens as pets:

and if you're really ambitious, here's some (quite graphic) information on raising chickens for meat.

and maybe later, sheep.



  1. I love chickydoos! I can give you a few good reasons for not letting the chickens roam freely around the lawn, but their love of insects and leftovers certainly does come in handy.

    I'm often at odds with LA County, but I have a great deal of respect for their attitude towards chickens. They even wrote it in the County Code that they will never restrict resident's rights to keep chickens, provided there is no commercial activity associated with said chickens. So I can't have a garage, but I can have chickens.

  2. you have to watch/rent this.
    two words:
    chicken reenactments

    The Natural History of the Chicken


  3. Robin, I am fairly certain LA County wants you to return to your living-outdoors roots. They just have it out for you.
    I am interested in hearing your thoughts on raising chickens for meat though! I forsee heavily feathered craft days...