Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Here's an interesting figure from one of the videos I linked to, I think it's worth adding here:

"If we grew as fast as battery cage chickens are forcibly grown, we'd weigh 349 pounds by age 2".

by Alex in Toulouse on Thu Jan 26th, 2006 at 08:34:09 AM EST
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That is disingenuous. What is the ratio of adult to newborn weight in chickens v. humans, and at what age is a chicken fully grown v. 16 to 18 years for a human?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 26th, 2006 at 08:39:14 AM EST
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I had the same reaction you had, but thought the figure was opportunistic enough for me to use (I know, I'm totally biased), particularly because it came from a source that I would be capable of passing off as serious (University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture).

Apparently, hens mature at 6 months, so here they would be culled at 1/5th or 1/6th their adult age, which applied to humans being adults at 16-18 would make it, say, 3 years of age, so the age part is passibly accurate. (ps: I wonder whether hens are said to be adults at puberty, in which case the appropriate human age would be, what, 12 years?)

The average chicken adult body weight is at 1.5 kg, so killing them aged 6 weeks and weighing 2.5 kilos is 1.6x too much weight. (this is just a rough calculation, a quick one too, just to see if the 349 lbs statement is off or not)

Applied to humans, that would be 2-3 years of age, and 1.6 times the average human weight, and since I don't know that figure, I can't get the correct result, but I'm starting to think that the 349 lbs for 2 years can't be that far off.

by Alex in Toulouse on Thu Jan 26th, 2006 at 09:06:40 AM EST
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In the US, breeding has become so extreme, that most factory-farmed meat chickens (called 'broilers') are a 4x hybrid. The hatcheries sell what they call grandparents. These grandparents in turn produce chicks which are again crossbred to produce the modern broiler chicken.

The US produces more than eight billion meat chickens each year. The large producers contract out the actual raising of the chickens to small farmers. The small farmers have large sheds and the producers bring them feed, 10 - 20,000 hatchlings for each shed, and then collect the chickens when they are 4-5 weeks for what is called "Rock Cornish Game Hens" or 7-8 weeks for standard broilers. The Rock Cornish Game Hen named product was invented by Tyson Foods in the early 1950s as a way to distribute young, frozen standard meat chickens.

Spent (old) grandparent and parent broiler hens are sold to canners for soup, or other meat products. In the US, spent factory egg-laying hens, which are much smaller than meat hens, are often destroyed. Canners pay only $.10 to $.16 per chicken delivered, the cost of delivery alone from rural egg-laying areas to more urban canneries is cost-prohibitive.

by capslock on Thu Jan 26th, 2006 at 02:00:12 PM EST
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