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 Post subject: Fact from Fiction
PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:57 am 
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Golden Robin
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This popped up on my news feed yesterday. Basically aimed at non-chook people it is an description of the facts in the commercial poultry industry.

https://theconversation.com/ten-facts-you-need-to-know-about-the-chicken-and-eggs-on-your-table-61367?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+July+27+2016+-+5312&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+July+27+2016+-+5312+CID_d51745534572985506aaa49818a53a52&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Ten+facts+you+need+to+know+about+the+chicken+and+eggs+on+your+table.
Mike

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 Post subject: Re: Fact from Fiction
PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:32 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Interesting to have some clarifications

Thanks Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Fact from Fiction
PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 11:08 am 
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Proud Rooster
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The image is interesting. It appears to be the top level in a multi-tier Asian set up. Presumably, the lower levels have been photoshopped out and would be increasingly muckier. That said the chooks look healthy and contented.

The observations concerning free range chickens all relate to the commercial sense of the term which is really extremely high-density poultry without the cages. I have never seen any sign of cannibalism or other mortality in my birds due to the free range environment. Nor have I ever had any problem due to poultry "over consuming grass".

My subjective view is that the eating quality of poultry is greatly influenced by their diet but it is not surprising that there is "very little data" on the subject as there is no commercial incentive to conduct expensive blind taste experiments to establish how the commercial product compares to the home grown one.

A cynic might say that "commercial [meat] chickens do not tend to like running around" because their legs won't support them and their keels are dragging in the litter but I do concede that my Indian Game are not as agile and active the laying breeds.

I don't have any real problem with commercial poultry keepers on welfare grounds as I think that it is in their economic interest to look after their birds, at least in the short term, but I do think they misrepresent the quality of their products.


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 Post subject: Re: Fact from Fiction
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:09 pm 
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Showy Hen
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I wouldn't agree tht they're all facts. For example, point number 5 is:
Quote:
5) Do free range or organic chickens taste better?

There is very little data supporting the idea that free range or organic chickens actually taste better than conventionally farmed ones.

Commercial meat chickens do not tend to like running around, as they were selected to maximise their growth. So it’s a myth that more exercise makes chicken meat more tender.

I don't agree with this at all. I purchase whole chickens to eat, and either roast them whole or cut them into smaller piece for various purposes. I have done this in both the UK and Australia. My obvervations are that:

1) organic chicken appears to have less fat on it. When jointing an organic chicken, the 'greasy' or 'slimy' feeling is either negligible or not present;

2) organic chicken genuinely does taste better, in my experience. I doubt there is any nutritional advantage, but the improved flavour may be due to the fact that it probably takes longer to reach the same weight, and the longer that it has been alive, the more flavour it will develop.

I've read here (and elsewhere) that the chickens we buy in the supermarket are between 5 and 6 weeks old at time of death. Their bones are small and the flavour indistinct. When we raise our own cockerels for eating, the older they are when 'processed', the better they taste. This may or may not be anything to do with their age, or diet, but either way, the poor little things in the supermarket have just not had the exercise or time to develop real flavour.

It may be true that exercise helps develop flavour. Unless the writer has done controlled experiments (which seems to be not the case, as she says "there is very little data", meaning she has not generated any herself), she cannot categorically state that organic/free-range do or do not taste better than conventionally-farmed ones.


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 Post subject: Re: Fact from Fiction
PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 10:27 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Location: Brissie West
Quote:
"4) Are free range chickens healthier?

Not always. In fact, free range chickens are more likely to catch diseases, get injured and die earlier than those kept inside.

In the UK, free range egg layers have a mortality rate of 8-10%, which is far higher than caged hens’ death rate of 2-4%.

The contact between free range chickens and wild birds also increases the risk of spreading bird flu. And birds can die from over-consuming grass.

Cannibalism can also happen in egg layers and it is a big challenge for free range egg production systems in particular."


Well, technically a debeaked hen in a cage will find it more difficult to cannibalise another and is less likely to be eaten by a fox,, but to suggest that the poor creatures are therefore healthier and have a better quality of life than their free range sisters, is just wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: Fact from Fiction
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:29 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Madchook wrote:
Quote:
"4) Are free range chickens healthier?

Not always. In fact, free range chickens are more likely to catch diseases, get injured and die earlier than those kept inside.

In the UK, free range egg layers have a mortality rate of 8-10%, which is far higher than caged hens’ death rate of 2-4%.

The contact between free range chickens and wild birds also increases the risk of spreading bird flu. And birds can die from over-consuming grass.

Cannibalism can also happen in egg layers and it is a big challenge for free range egg production systems in particular."


Well, technically a debeaked hen in a cage will find it more difficult to cannibalise another and is less likely to be eaten by a fox,, but to suggest that the poor creatures are therefore healthier and have a better quality of life than their free range sisters, is just wrong.


I don't doubt that the author was telling the truth, but (like an awful lot of people), has not told the whole truth, only her edited and sanitised version of it.

For example, that "free range chickens are more likely to ... die earlier than those kept inside." sounds odd, given the tendency to cull layers at 75 weeks. The "mortality rates" are not well-described because, strictly speaking, the mortality rate of everything is 100%, given time. I suppose she must mean that the premature mortality rates are 8-10 versus 2-4. However you then have to work out what is meant by "premature" because I'd say culling at 75 weeks sounds pretty premature to me.

I'd be interested to know more about why cannibalism is "a big challenge for free range egg production systems in particular" as opposed to... what?

I suppose the author is primarily interested in poultry nutrition, rather than welfare and/or quality of life, not to mention human moral values. Nothing she wrote convinces me that I ought to eat caged/barn-raised birds or their eggs.


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 Post subject: Re: Fact from Fiction
PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:35 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Quote:
Disclosure statement

Dr Liu receives funding from several sources including Rural Industries R&D Corporation Chicken Meat Program. The program is funded by statutory levies paid by industry participants. Other sources include broiler integrators and suppliers of feed ingredients including enzymes and amino acids.


This explains a few things :idea:


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 Post subject: Re: Fact from Fiction
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 3:14 am 
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Gallant Game
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Location: adelaide
From memory wasn’t the hormone used for chicken oestrogen?

There were instances of this causing side effects in humans 30+ years ago.

So 60 minutes said but this is not a peer reviewed journal :-)

Hopefully using oestrogen is not now common practice and illegal.

Taking about insulin is ether deliberately clouding the issue with irrelevant facts or displays historical ignorance that would seem surprising for a university lecturer As she got her PhD in 2014 it is posibal that she was not born when chickens were allegedly fed oestrogen

As oestrogen can be used in the pill it seems likely that it could be given orally to other animals.

Would someone who is funded by a levee on the poultry industry have a vested interest in portraying the poultry industry positively?

That is a different topic entirely.


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 Post subject: Re: Fact from Fiction
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 9:24 am 
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Golden Robin
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Basically the process of laying (or secreting of eggs in mammals) is a series of hormones. The one that was used in chickens was "stilbestrol" and basically it hasn't been used for close on fifty years now. It was a female hormone causing secondary sex characteristics in men specifically a condition called "gynomastica" (man boobs). Yes, oestrogen is used in the pill but it is not and wasn't used in poultry.

The whole commercial poultry industry is one that is price controlled by the valued added retailers such as the supermarkets and the fast food chains. The producer works on a very low margin and relies heavily on volume turnover to survive. Frankly, the industry has a bad name with the consumers and some of that bad name is myths perpetuated, such as the hormones. Of course, they employ publicists to lighten to the load.

However, worldwide and certainly here in Australia there is more chicken protein (eggs and chicken meat) eaten than any other meat protein. For those that really care, true free range eggs and range grown and matured meat poultry is available processed. The general population still goes for the cheaper option every time.

I know the problems, I just dont know any answers and the last thing we need to do is shut down a viable industry and begin importing foreign poultry products because its production is further out of our mind.

Mike

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 Post subject: Re: Fact from Fiction
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:45 am 
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Gallant Game
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Location: adelaide
people want cheap food the less they spend on food the more thy have for the other stuff.

changing this to people will spend more on good food even if it costs more will be challenging


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 Post subject: Re: Fact from Fiction
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 11:39 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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That's a bit harsh. Even in Australia there are people who struggle to buy any food or who don't have the skills/ability to prepare food economically.


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 Post subject: Re: Fact from Fiction
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 2:20 pm 
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Golden Robin
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Location: Tuross Head, NSW fsr south east coast
Another truism is that food is energy and is expressed as kilo-joules and that the cost of a kilo-joule has become a lot cheaper with the processed and fast foods. At the same time the cost per kilo-joule on fresh and wholesome foods has risen. Therefore it is actually cheaper to go the short cut route as well as being more convenient for many people.

We all recognise that this includes higher salt and sugar intakes as well as goodness know else is added. All of this leads to a multitude of medical problems and a general level of obesity never observed previously. People of my generation (b. 1948) are stated to be the first generation that actually might outlive their children because of the dietary changes.

Mike

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