There are many negative items that society today attributes to the industrialized livestock practices that exist in agricultural production, some of them are true, others depend on the producer and others are exaggerations or practices that are out of context. In any case, in the meat chicken sector, this negative view of the fattening of chickens and the treatment that animals receive on farms has led to supposedly better, healthier, more natural and respectful versions of animals And the surroundings are known as peasant chicken, chicken poultry, chicken campero or chicken ecological. But what is true of everything we think we eat? This article aims to clarify objectively the differences between the different types of chicken that can be found habitually in our butcheries or poultry.
First of all, it should be clarified that there are basically three types of chicken clearly differentiated, although within each type there is so much diversity and nuances as different breeders exist. These three types, are based on the quality and differentiation of the final chicken that is obtained and which reaches the consumer.
In this differentiation of chickens we would find the industrial chicken, also known as conventional or normal chicken, on the other hand, the farmer chicken that also receives the name of chicken, farm chicken or chicken campero, and to end the ecological chicken or biological.
|Ecological chicken||Farmed chicken||Industrial chicken|
|breeding density||3m 2 for chicken||35kg / m 2||35kg / m 2|
|race||Ros slow growth||White or white growth fast or slow||White or blond fast growth|
|durability of meat||long||Half||short|
|days of growth||> 81 days||90 days approx||35-50 days|
|hardness of the bone||Fort||Fort||cartilage|
|taste||very tasty||tasty and greasy||not very tasty|
|Transgenic in food||No||yes||yes|
|chemicals in food||No||yes||yes|
|price||€ 8-12 / kg||3.5-5 € / kg||1.5-3 € / Kg|
The industrial chicken is what we find in most shops and the one that presents a lower price, Behind this type of chicken there are usually large farms that move thousands of chickens daily.
This type of chicken can also be found under the name of conventional chicken or normal chicken.
Within this type of chicken there are different types of qualities, in the lowest step we would find the white chicken (breed broiler), followed closely by the yellow chicken (usually redbroot breed) a little slower growth. Then we can find some certificates that guarantee a minimal improvement in the quality of this type of chicken breeding. For example:
- Catalan yellow chicken : Certification for the yellow chicken that requires 65% cereal feeding and if it is satisfied, it allows to sell chickens with neck, liver and stoneware.
- Pio Certification : This certification is intended for yellow chicken and slightly improves the previous one, where apart from a 65% cereal feeding supplemented with vitamins and minerals, and enriched in Omega-3, the use of cocciostatic drugs and s ‘Increases the minimum slaughter age up to 56 days.
- Certification “Q” : The food is lowered mainly in cereals (minimum 70%) and the use of growth factors is totally prohibited. The slaughter takes place in slaughterhouses whose distance to the farm does not exceed 75km.
- Halal Certification: This certification guarantees that animals have been slaughtered according to Muslim rites, which, amongst other things, obliges slaughter to derail in the direction of Mecca.
This type of chicken is sacrificed within 35-50 days of life. At these ages, the chicken has not completed its growth and presents a weak bone that can often seem like a cartilage.
These chickens breed in an extensive system at very high densities, chickens are usually raised at a density of approximately 35Kg / m2, so that as they grow and increase in size and weight, breeders are giving chickens more space. To get an idea, when the chicks are small and they make about 150 grams, in a square meter we would find about 220 chicks, while when they grow up and are already close to the sacrifice age with 2 kg, we would find about 16 chickens in one square meter.
In spite of what many think, the breeding method is not closing the chickens in collective cages, but in extensive industrial buildings where chickens can travel theoretically from end to end without impediments excepting the high densities of animals that occupy the space intensely
It is a common practice to give animal medications systematically mixed with the food they ingest. The medication that is more normal to supply chickens is what avoids an infection called coxidia. However, when raising chickens at high densities, humidity is high, and the risk of developing diseases and rapid infection is very high, so the provision of antibiotics on a regular basis is a regular and standard practice, and It is stopped providing for a few days before bringing the chickens to the slaughterhouse to reduce their presence in the meat of consumption.
This type of chicken tends to be sold to the fish market at prices lower than 1.5-3 € / Kg
The farmed chicken receives many different names, and most of them are deceptive or are thought out and disclosed thinking that the consumer has an idyllic and bucolic image of the breeding of this type of chicken, and that it is far from the reality. Some names that receive this type of chicken are that of chicken, farm chicken or chicken campero. That is, the names we throw in a country chicken, a farmer, understanding farmer like that person who lives in a farmhouse surrounded by green meadows. The sad reality is that most of these chickens breed in industrial buildings and barely see the sunlight. Peasant chicken breeding is not far from industrial or conventional chicken breeding, this will always depend a lot on the breeder and the importance that it gives to the quality of the product it offers.
The main difference between farm chicken and industrial chicken is that it is allowed to grow longer so that it reaches higher sizes and weights. Regarding the breeds used, yellow chicken is often used as “redbro” or “red label”, although a considerable part of breeders uses the same white chicken as the fast-growing industrial chicken (broiler).
Peasant chicken grows for a minimum of 3 months and reaches weights greater than 3 kg. Having had a longer growth, the chicken has completed its growth to a greater degree and presents more hard-form bones that have a more elaborate and tasty flesh, which, on the other hand, increases its expiry date as it is preserved more time maintaining a good quality.
Like industrial chicken, it is customary to breed in industrial buildings at densities of 35Kg / m2 and does not have access to grassland, although it is usually differentiated by food that usually has a minimum of one 65% of cereals, which, as we have seen in the previous case of industrial chicken, this more natural feeding is achieved only by chickens with special certificates such as “Catalan yellow” or “pio”.
The farmer’s chicken receives the same treatment with regard to the medication that is used by the industrial chicken.
This type of chicken is usually sold between 3.5-5 € / kg.
In spite of everything explained, which is the most common, we can find in this category some (few) handmade breeders that despite not reaching the level of ecological requirement if they provide a slightly more natural feeding and have patios for Let chickens have access to grass pasture and grow more exercise. Normally these breeders reject ecological certification for their high costs and thus they can sell at lower prices, but they are closer to the standards of mandatory ecological compliance. But unfortunately this exception responds to a very small minority of breeders, so if you want to consume this type of chicken, we recommend that you know the breeder well and visit its facilities. Do not be disturbed by breeders who do not let you visit their farms, from experience, we will tell you that a farmer who has nothing to hide and feels proud of his work, does not have any hindrance to teaching his farm, on the contrary show the fruit Of his work he gives him pride and satisfaction.
Organic chicken or biological chicken is the one that presents a greater taste and quality in its meat while ensuring a life that is worthy for animals and a respect for the environment.
The ecological chicken is free of medicines and chemicals, such as pesticides or herbicides, which tend to accompany most non-ecological livestock feed. On the other hand, the foods that the ecological chickens ingest are also of ecological origin reason why besides being free of chemicals as we have commented, also they are free of transgenics that cause numerous problems of allergies and alimentary intolerances, and also create biodiversity problems in crops. There is a lot of information about the transgenic problem in the accessible network with a simple google search.
Each ecological chicken must have a minimum of 3m2 of patio to graze. It is precisely this contribution of natural food and the amount of space to move, which makes the taste of organic chicken very different from any other breeding method. They develop more muscle mass and less external fat, the fat they develop is infiltrated within their own muscle.
The ecological regulation ensures a minimum growth of ecological chickens of 84 days.
Organic chicken meat is the highest quality and has a higher durability and often has a shelf life that exceeds the week.
Ecological chickens are necessarily and compulsorily certified by an official certification body. In the case of Catalonia, the Catalan Council for Organic Agricultural Production (CCPAE). Any organic product will be labeled with the corresponding seal of the certifying body that corresponds to each zone and by European ecological logo (green square with leaf made of white stars).
Certifying bodies charge quotas for ecological livestock farmers in order to obtain the corresponding certificate and to carry out the inspection tasks. These quotas are highly criticized by farmers and ranchers to be considered exaggeratedly high and abusive. That is why other entities such as the eco-network are working to launch other types of certifications based on proximity and trust with the producer audited directly by groups of nearby consumers.
Ecological chicken guarantees a correct life cycle of animals with a minimum of 8 hours of sleep, in the dark.
It is evident that the ecological chicken is of all the types of chicken exposed, the healthiest, tasty and at the same time respects animal welfare and the natural environment. But not everything is as good as it seems, there are ecological chicken breeders that give money to principles or quality, and carry out bad practices, or at least doubtful practices to achieve greater weights in lesser fears and thus obtain higher benefits. Some of these practices happen to breed fast-growing white chicken obtaining in 3 months weights greater than 3Kg, while other spicy chicken in 3 months does not reach 2.5Kg. Some breeders keep the chickens confined to the hens and do not let them graze, or the courtyards are made of cement or without grass to graze. Other bad practices happen to mix medication or sugars with water.
As always, it is advisable to know the farmer of origin and ensure that it has an ecological certificate and, above all, to ensure that it does not commit bad livestock practices.
This type of chicken is usually sold between 8-11 € / kg
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