Friday, February 29, 2008

Birds of a Different Feather Favored

Our buddies across the pond are really sinking their teeth into the idea of free range poultry. According to several different animal welfare groups, there seems to be a big trend in the consumption of free range birds as opposed to those that are factory farmed. Apparently, this sudden switch was instigated by a few exposés done of European chicken production. It has become a question of ethics that is driving those who think about food as having once been a living breathing thing rather than simply its delectable breaded and fried final form. According to the article (see below), this type of conscious decision to buy free range isn’t a new idea, but the media coverage has helped get it a leg up and a higher market value. With the recent beef fiasco, people may start becoming more conscious about where their steak and egg breakfast comes from. What sort of implications will this have on organic and free range producers in the States? It begs the question of long term economic stability. There will always be a place in the market for Happy Chicken eaters regardless of how much control the big producers have, but are we seeing the beginning of the fence line of the Feathered Free Rangers beginning to grow?


A New Level of Feather Sexing

One of the most time consuming and expensive parts of the poultry production process is undoubtedly sexing of chicks. Accuracy is critical, so that the correct sex of bird is placed. Scientists in Germany are developing a test that will eliminate the old standby methods of vent and traditional feather sexing. These methods can be stressful on the birds, the new test would be minimally stressful to the birds. The Scientists propose to use tissue pulp from a birds feather in a lab apparatus to instantly and with minimal stress determine with 95% accuracy the gender of the bird. If this test works out and can be made cheap enough so that industry can utilize it, it could change the poultry industry.

"Raising Chickens....its "health" benefits

Plenty Magazine explored the ways in which keeping hens as a barnyard turned into backyard pet that is very helpful to your garden area as well as your health. Hens are easy enough for anyone to keep as all they need is a sheltered area that is cleaned and has a nice area where the hen can lay her egg because as we all know, hens will not lay eggs until they are content with their environment. The hen needs about 100-150 grams a day of feed in order to stay healthy and even adding cider vinegar to their water will help with the molting process.

In another article I found, that encourages free-range chickens mind you, there is a listing of the health benefits that come from free-range chicken eggs. These chickens who supposively lived in "rotational" cages in some 14 flocks throuoght the country. This company decided to conduct their own research for this assignment. Thus not a reliable resource.

In search of an article in disagreement with "sustainable" agricultural savings i was overwhelmed with hundreds of "organic raised is the way" websites but finally stumbled upon a website based out of London that finds different results than the studies listed above. This site lists organic chickens as "less nutritious, containing more fat and a horrible taste". And tests show they are actually lower in the healthy omega-3 fatty acid and are also lower in antioxidants.

Until true, non-biased research is done by a government sanctioned program, there will be much debate over which "form" of raising chickens is the healthiest and best for humans. Until then, sort through all of the nonsense litature about organic chickens and enjoy your conventional farming chicken on your plate tonight!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fat to fuel

An upwards population of 8 billion birds are processed annually. According to University of Georgia Researcher’s, waste chicken fat can be processed into effective fuel. In larger operations the amount of waste created during processing can displace the cost of $9 millions of fuel a year. Running much like diesel or termed Biodiesel, internal fuel costs may be reduced by harvesting the energy from these fats and burning them. (Research)

The idea of making fuels from animal fat has been in the works for years now. As a substance much like corn oil after processing, this fuel runs much like its diesel and biodiesel counterparts. Its goal is to cut poultry processing costs and have a cheap simple way to utilize their waste products. With about 9 billion gallons of oil produced in the state of Georgia in one year, this market could have a reasonable impact on the oil market nationwide.

In addition to the processing of poultry fats, oils, and feathers, bedding and litter have become a possible source of energy too. Turkey Litter is running a $200 million dollars power plant in the Midwest. The poultry industry is attempting to utilize their waste products and turn them into something useful: FUEL.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Recall on Chicken Products due to undeclared Allergen


This article of the WASHINGTON was last month Jan 26, 2008. There was a recall for 24,710 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast, because it contained an Italian seasoning that included milk, a known allergen. The ingredient was not declared on the label which caused Purdue Farms, Inc to recall specific allergen poultry products.

The chicken products were produced on Jan.19, 2008, and were distributed to retail establishments in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The problem was discovered by the company. FSIS did not have any cases of illness from this recall, but if there had been health concerns for a allergic reaction they were to contact a physician.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

New human avian flu vaccine

A promising new avain flu ( vaccine has just been tested at the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Vaccine Research (

The tests were performed on mice, who showed an immune response to the H5N1 virus and were actually protected from death after being infected.

seeing how, like human flu viruses, the avian virus can change and evolve, this new vaccine was engineered to encode genes for three flu viral proteins. this will help against possible new strains of the virus.

the vaccine uses virus-like particles that the immune system recognizes as a real virus, but does not have genetic information that would allow it to reproduce. these types of vaccines are easyto develop, produce, and manufacture, which makes them very effective and cost-effective in the event of mass production if an avian flu pandemic was a threat.