According to the USDA, if you were living in America in 2017, 64.1 lbs of chicken was available for consumption, and that’s per person! This was more than any other meat, including beef and pork.
To put that in perspective, the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) shows 9 billion chickens processed for that same year. That’s a LOT of chicken.
Obviously, with a demand this large, you need the right breed of chicken.
Today, the breed of chicken that we most commonly eat is the Cornish Cross Chicken. This breed of chicken boasts the fastest growth over any other breed. From hatched to processed, typical turn around time is generally less than eight weeks.
So not only does the bird grow fast, thusly allowing farmers to grow more of them, but the farmers are also able to minimize costs as the birds require less input than say other broiler breeds such as the Rainbow Ranger with its 12 week growth requirements.
For an in depth look at this, check out, ‘How Fast Do Chickens Grow In Factory Farms?’
Is Most Chicken Meat Male Or Female?
With roosters being generally larger than hens, it would make sense to have more males in your broiler flock than hens. However, at the moment, it appears that the egg producers are not able to influence any particular output when it comes to male or female.
In short, store bought chicken meat can be either male or female, as what comes out of the egg is currently determined completely by chance.
It is possible that males can be purchased in smaller numbers – particularly for backyard flocks. However, there is generally a premium paid for this as the chicks must go through an identification process, where the males are separated.
For the overwhelming majority of backyard farmers who are raising broilers for their own consumption, this identification/separation process is ignored in favor of purchasing the much cheaper ‘straight run’.
### Important Note ###
Straight run refers to the the process of taking just hatched chicks and running them ‘straight’ through. This makes things easier for the hatchery, but can also make things surprising for the recipient as you don’t immediately know what you actually have.
For people looking to fill the freezer, this isn’t really an issue. Male and female broilers both produce a decent amount of meat. However, if you are looking to produce eggs, then clearly only a hen will do!
It’s also worth noting that roosters generally don’t get along. Their philosophy is that they are king and all other must submit.
In other words, a flock of eight hens is a happy flock, where a flock of eight roosters is certain to be a death-match.
Always be careful when planning your flock.
Is Chicken A Red Meat?
Trying to decide whether or not chicken is red meat is actually quite difficult as there are two different definitions as to what red meat actually is.
In the culinary definition, red meat is actually red before cooking and then darkens to a brown as it is cooked. White meat is reddish/pink to start with, but lightens to a pale white after cooking.
In the nutritional definition, red meat has a higher myoglobin protein count than white meat.
So as far as the nutrition gurus are concerned, chicken is white meat, as the myoglobin protein content is low. However, things get complicated from the culinary perspective as chicken legs tend to darken when cooked, while chicken breasts turn white in color.
However, for the most part, chicken is considered white meat. Just understand that there are some subtle nuances to the actual definition of red meat that are open to interpretation.