If you wondering why I go on about the chickens and turkeys being hybrid I will try and explain. In todays world people worry about GMOs and their effect on what we eat and the farmers ability to save seed and reproduce their own crops. Before GMOs we had hybrid seed which also would stop the farmer from saving seeds and growing his own crops year after year.
That is why groups like seed savers came into existents to help save and preserve non-hybrid seeds. It made for a wider variety of fruits but the farmer couldn’t save his seed from year to year, and had to buy seed each year to plant his hybrid crops. The same thing came to happen in poultry about 40 years ago. Much of the commercial poultry being raised today is hybrid and the farmer can no longer reproduce their own birds.
This was a brilliant move by the poultry companies to control poultry production and now there is less bio-diversity in poultry. Genetically all the birds being raised for the market are the same but with slight different growth rates and feather coloring. Even with this different growth rates and feather colors the birds are all still hybrid genetically. Now the poultry farmer, like the grain farmer buying seed each year, must go back to the factory poultry producers to buy their chicks or turkeys. All the birds being sold at stores like Whole Foods comes from hybrid stock and cannot be reproduced.
It may be raised cage free or some kind of pasture raised but the genetics being raised is hybrid and not truly sustainable without the returning to the factory farm system for more birds. The development of fast growing hybrid birds and fast food servings all came into existents at the same time in the early seventies. They feed off each other and are depended on each other. 60% of all hybrid meat chickens being raised worldwide are used in the fast food system. The factory companies like to say we need to raise poultry on this massive scale to feed the world but that is a fallacy. They are feeding the fast food industry and not the poor of the world unless you think feeding people cheap food like fried chicken nuggets is feeding the world.
Many of the big guys and chefs like to state that the heritage chicken is too tough to eat and too little white meat. My answer to them is, they no longer know how to cook a real chicken. What do they think we have been eating for the last few hundred years if it was not the old heritage chickens. The type of hybrid fast growing obese baby chicken that everyone eats today has only been around for 40 years.
Colonel Sanders started his company using Barred Rocks. His big break through was not his secret spices but that he figured a way to speed up the cooking process. He found a way to cook with oil in a presser cooker and that sped up cooking time and about cut it in half. It does take much longer to cook a heritage chicken because you have a bird that is much older and much more active when it is processed.
If you are looking for true sustainability, a bird free of factory farming, healthier to eat, highest of welfare, best tasting, free of the use of sub-therapeutic antibiotic and beautiful to look at you have to buy certified heritage poultry.
Check out Frank Reese’s website for more information and to see more of his beautiful birds at Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch.