According to a recent study, chickens today are four times larger than they were 60 years ago but contrary to popular belief, it’s not steroids, hormones or artificial enlargers that are not to blame. Instead, it’s our eating habits that have resulted in the breeding of larger birds.
Published in the Journal Poultry Science and summarized in a recent article, this study compared three types of chickens. One that hasn’t been changed by breeding since 1957, a second that has been the same since 1978, and a third, modern commercial chicken, called the Ross 308 Broiler, which has been bred for selective traits over the past few decades.
The study states that these chickens were fed identical diets for 56 days and resulted in the 1957 breed weighing an average of 905 grams, the 1978 breed averaged 1,808 grams and the 2005 breed tipped the scales at a whopping 4,202 grams — about double the size of the 1978 breed. [ More ... ]