Putting Homegrown Chicken In Your Freezer



Chicken is highly regarded as a healthy part of the American diet. It is a good source of protein with low saturated fat. It also contains 8 essential amino acids, and is a good source of vitamins B3, B6 and B7. It is rich in zinc and iron, and also low in sodium. I had to wonder however, how healthy is that store bought chicken really? I dove into the subject, and what I discovered was alarming to say the least.

Poultry manufacturers chemically treat their chickens to reduce the bacterial count before routine inspectors test them. The testing solution used by inspectors neutralized the chemicals used by the farmer, but the use of several new chemicals at high concentrations has resulted in those antibiotics continuing to be active in the testing solution, killing off the offending organisms before the sample reaches the lab. This is resulting in false negatives, and the manufacture’s are getting a clean bill of health when harmful bacteria is present in their birds.

In addition to the faulty testing process I was also concerned about how these mass produced chickens are being raised. They live in very small quarters with little to no light, fresh air, or natural food. They will often peck one another, so their beaks are cut to prevent that. At the time of slaughter (usually around 60 days) many have damaged legs, eyes, and lungs from their cramped living conditions resulting in a high likelihood for contamination and disease. In an attempt to ward off disease the chickens are pumped full of antibiotics, and many are vaccinated.

They are also pumped full of salt water, and fed growth hormones in their feed. The sudden weight gain from the artificial feed they are given makes many of them unable to stand. They are slaughtered in mass numbers, increasing the likelihood that contamination from their living conditions will taint the meat. To clean the dressed chicken before packaging them they are dunked in a chemical solution to kill off germs. So I had to questions again, is store bought chicken really a healthy choice, and why on earth am I feeding this to my growing children?

We decided to raise our own meat chickens, and see to it that they were raised as cleanly as possible, fed as naturally as possible, and slaughtered with high standards. We started with Red Rangers chicks, although there are faster growing chickens that can be purchased for meat purposes. The Cornish Cross are also a great meat bird. We kept the chicks under the heat light in our garage until they were fully feathered, and then they were moved outside to a lawn tractor.

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