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Digital Subscriptions > Hobby Farms > JulyAug 2019 > Meat Birds

Meat Birds

column & photos by Rodney Wilson

Ilove chickens, and not just because they give me eggs. I love watching chickens strut quirkily around the yard, hearing their guttural mutters and caws, feeling the weird, warm body when I reach under a broody hen to retrieve a clutch of eggs. I love standing in a farmhouse window and seeing an alert rooster protecting his group of hens as they forage on the forest’s edge. And I love it when my kids casually stroll by carrying a chicken. (All three have a favorite.)

But I can’t say I love broiler chickens, also known as Cornish Crosses, which are, in my mind, different creatures from their egg-laying cousins. I mean, I understand that a chicken is a chicken, and broilers have just been bred to monstrous extremes for maximum yield, which is not a judgment; I raise broilers and am in awe of the almost century-old breeding program that led to the broilers of today (shout outs to Mrs. Wilmer Steele, the grandmother of the broiler industry, and the A&P people who sponsored 1948’s “Chicken of Tomorrow” contest). Also, I truly believe there’s no meat superior to a pasture-raised chicken breast. It’s just difficult to think of broilers as chickens after you’ve raised your first thousand.

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About Hobby Farms

Hobby Farms Jul/Aug 2019, I LOVE MY FARM : Photo Contest, The Secrets Of Milking Through, Cash Crop : Shiitake Mushrooms, And More...