Chicken meat query
QIs it true that chickens are killed for meat at only six weeks old? We hatched some chicks this summer and at six weeks they wouldn’t have been more than a mouthful! Also, why aren’t the cockerels that hatch out in the egg-laying farms used for meat instead of being killed off as chicks?
AAnne Perdeaux says: Before the Second World War, chicken meat was a luxury with traditional breeds needing months of feeding and care before reaching a respectable weight. The creation of hybrids, designed to grow fatter faster, changed all that and chicken became a cheap source of protein. Further refinements have resulted in chickens that are ready for the table only a few weeks after hatching. A different type of hybrid was developed to lay eggs at a rate undreamt of by her ancestors, but these slight birds can’t be fattened successfully. Thus males are surplus to requirements, and until technology finds a way of producing only hens, cockerels will continue to be despatched on hatching.