Study to Examine Nutritional Decline of Broiler Chickens

Researchers in the US plan to study the nutritional differences between hybrid broilers and heritage chickens.


After a 2009 British study revealed that factory-farm chickens, which are bred to grow at an unnaturally fast rate, have significantly worse nutritional value than their naturally bred counterparts, American researchers have decided to conduct a similar study juxtaposing store-bought chickens with “heritage”—or non-broiler—chickens. Beginning in the 1970s, chickens were selectively bred to gain weight at an extremely rapid rate in order to shorten their time before slaughter, but as British scientists have discovered, their fat-to-protein ratio also increased significantly.  Heritage chickens are raised more naturally (typically classified as organic and free-range) and take 140 days to mature compared to only 40 days for factory-farmed chickens. The US study will be conducted by Kansas State University, advocacy-organization Farm Forward, and poultry breeder Frank Reese, Jr.

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