Chicken is widely eaten across the globe on a daily basis. It’s the entire business model for KFC! But the question is, how on earth is that much chicken even produced? Well, the answer is rather simple: broilers. There is a breed of chicken that is completely white. We call this breed Broiler Chickens because they can go from a newly hatched chick to a full-grown chicken in the span of 4-5 weeks. That’s faster than most animals take to learn how to walk! Furthermore, the process of growing Broiler Chickens has become so streamlined that it can be followed in steps:
Broiler Chickens: The Eggs
The company first procures female breeder chicks, called “Pullets”, to produce the eggs. Chicks are generally cheaper than hen and roosters, so it can be considered a cost saving measure among other things. At about 20 weeks, they join their fellow hen and roosters to produce the fertile eggs required for the process. The eggs are then collected and sent to hatcheries where they are incubated and then hatched into chicks.
The chicks move on from the hatcheries to local family farms where they are raised in barns. These barns are no ordinary animal houses, but host advanced heating and ventilation and provide ample and clean feed for the chickens to eat as well as plenty of space for them to move around. All of this are under the inspection and care of a veterinarian that monitors the health of the chickens and their growth.
Once the chicks grow into chickens, the ones that meet a certain weight criterion (4-7 pounds) are selected to be moved onto the next process. The remainder is waited on to enter the appropriate weight range. After a certain point however, they are moved onto the next stage, regardless of their weight. Now that the chickens have been moved from the farmhouses to the processing plants, it’s time to slaughter them. Processing plants deal with the chickens very professionally and get the process of slaughter done as quickly, cleanly, and humanely as possible. The meat is thoroughly washed and cleaned, after which it is chilled and packaged. After a final inspection by the USDA, the chicken meat is ready to head towards the supermarket.
Because of how streamlined the process of growing and slaughtering chickens has become and the scale of the operations, chicken is an affordable way to have a nourishing and nutritious meal. Though their lifespan is very short, Broiler Chickens are raised for the singular purpose of slaughter. Given that reasoning, it’s only humane to end their life as soon as possible. Furthermore, even though we have the best heating, ventilation, and feed we have ever had for the sustenance of these chickens, their lifespans are generally very short and keeping them alive for any longer than that would be akin to forcing a 110-year-old man to live when he has lost most of his physical ability due to his age.