Chickens are twice as large today as they were in the 1950s

Akhil Aravind

It’s no secret that chickens today are almost twice as big compared to those decades before. The average weight of chickens was only 3.07 pounds in 1955. The figure rose to 6.46 pounds in 2021, according to the National Chicken Council.

Several rumors regarding this have been circulating. Some say it’s due to the use of growth hormones, and others think genetic engineering has a role to play.

In truth, the credit can be given to careful breeding, rich nourishments, and veterinary care. Today, farmers grow chickens with utmost care and attention to health. Also, they breed chickens that have shorter production cycles and a higher feed to meat ratio.

This trend started in 1948 with Arbor Acre, who bred two chickens for a contest aiming to produce “Chicken of Tomorrow.”

As a result, the production cycle has been reduced by half. While a chicken in 1925 took 112 days (16 weeks) to grow completely, it takes 47 days (around 7 weeks) now. On top of that, all this happens when the chicken consumes less than half the feed they had before.

Despite such prominent advancement in the chicken production business, some companies still inject hormones or steroids to grow the birds. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has prohibited their use in the poultry industry. Instead, companies may use antibiotics, which act as growth hormones.

Also, most chickens are locked up in small confinements and continuously fed to attain the required weight.

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