Man is a narcissist creature. Sure, like every other creature on the planet and beyond, we are driven by the urge to survive and perpetuate ourselves. However, man doesn’t seem to know where to draw the line. We always hunger for more and enough is just never good enough. This article will explore just how man’s greed led to the featherless chicken; one of the biggest industrial farming mistakes in human history.
As of July 2020, there were 7.8 billion human beings living on Earth. That is according to the Worldometer’s elaboration of the United Nation’s estimates. With such a huge number of people, comes an immediate need to fed 7.8 billion mouths. Where there is a need, there is always a business opportunity.
Science meets Business to satisfy Human Greed
Chicken is a great source for protein among other nutrients for the human body. Not to mention the ‘mouth-orgasms’ we get from the well-prepared chicken nuggets at KFC. There is currently a huge demand for chicken dishes across the globe. The farmer is tasked with delivering chicken as food on our plates at the fastest pace possible.
Thanks to the industrial revolution and selective breeding, farmers can now practice industrial farming. Where animals are born, bred, fattened, slaughtered, and delivered to our plates in a big efficient conveyor belt system.
Through selective breeding, broiler breeds of chicken are farmed to produce as heavy a mass of meat as possible. Unethical farmers have even gone to the extent of injecting their flock of birds with steroids to fasten their fattening and growth. So yeah, you are eating a lot of steroids in some of those chicken plates.
Farmer’s solution to Broilers rearing in Hot Climate
Now that commercial chicken farming has become an industrial farming venture. Chicken are no longer treated like animals, rather as paychecks. These paychecks need to be cashed in at the bank ASAP. The problem with broilers is that they don’t gain weight when kept in hot temperatures; the optimum temperature is 20°C.
The broiler’s choosy temperature presents a huge problem for farmers living in hot environment. Such as those in Africa, Latin America, Middle East, and Australia. For farmers in the hot regions to rare broilers that gain a lot of weight fast enough, they will need to invest a lot in A/C to keep their birds cool. That only translates to more overhead cost to the farmer and pricier chicken meat to the end consumer.
Featherless Birds, One Israeli’s brilliant plan Broilers in Hot Climate
Israel is a world-leading destination for tech revolutions. It is a small country from the perspective of arable land compared to its population. Israel is definitely a hot country with limited sources for fresh drinking water.
Avigdor Cahaner a geneticist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem came up with a ‘brilliant’ idea for Israeli farmer breeding chicken for meat. Rearing the conventional broilers would require the farmer to go deeper into their pockets to keep their birds cooler at the 20°C desire temperature.
So Avigdor decided to selectively breed chicken that naturally has bare necks with the typical broiler chicken. After breeding several generations of the crossbreeds, he ended up with a featherless chicken. These chicken based on the fact had no feathers were better adapted for the warm weather. So the farmers could spend less time and resources in keeping their birds cool. Instead spend time fattening their pockets with the proceeds from the sales of the chicken.
Other benefits from Avigdor’s featherless chicken include:
- They are lower in calories
- They are faster-growing
- They are environmentally-friendly; less carbon footprint based on less power consumption in keeping them cool, removing their feather and less water consumption during slaughter
But why didn’t the Featherless Chicken catch on?
For one, the bare-skinned chicken is just too ugly for most people. Though that is not important since they are not there to be seen but to fill up your belly. In any case, do you eat chicken with its feathers? So no, the chicken being bald was not the reason they have never caught on. The reasons they are not as popular as Avigdor had hoped for include:
- The male birds have a severely poor rate of successfully mating with the females since they cannot flap their wings when mounting. As you might have noticed, the cock needs to flap its wings for stability and to support itself long enough to successfully mate the female chicken.
- Their lack of feathers makes them more susceptible to insect and parasite bites (including mosquitoes). Thus they are often sickly compared to their feathered counterparts.
- The featherless chicken can easily get sunburns
- The birds are usually shorter and smaller in size compared to their feathered counterparts. Thus produce low meat yield in terms of mass.
Featherless Chicken was a Big Miss attempt in Industrial Farming
In conclusion, we can say that these featherless chicken, though attractive in their unique look. They cannot be commercially viable breeds for chicken meat production.