6 Influencers Toured A Chicken Farm: Here’s What They Learned
We invited six food and nutrition influencers to tour a broiler chicken farm in Maryland.
In case you were wondering – an influencer is a blogger and/or social media user with a strong following and a highly engaged audience. They are characterized by a fanbase of loyal followers. Influencers provide trusted opinions and subject expertise.
Why did we invite food and nutrition influencers to tour a broiler chicken farm?
The fact is that myths and misconceptions around chicken farming persist. Even food and nutrition influencers – who work closely with chicken by either developing recipes or discussing chicken’s nutritional benefits – still don’t know the full story around how chicken goes from farm to table.
By inviting food and nutrition influencers – each holding unique perspectives and expertise – we could address myths and misconceptions around chicken farming.
What did the influencers learn?
More than half of the influencers didn’t know that ALL chicken is free of added hormones and steroids in the U.S. In addition, most thought that broilers chickens were raised in cages – when, really, broiler chickens are all raised cage-free in large, open barns. They were also extremely impressed by Jenny Rhodes, the owner and operator of the farm, and her passion and devotion to farming. The fact that 95% of broiler chickens are raised on family farms surprised all of the influencers.
Hear from each influencer and find out the top things that stood out to them during the broiler chicken farm tour:
1. Liren Baker, Kitchen Confidente:
A Visit to a Chicken Farm: Learning about Chicken Production in the U.S.
Have you ever wondered how a chicken makes it from farm to table? #ad I recently spent the day at a family-owned chicken farm in Maryland and got to do a #chickencheckin with these fluffy little guys! Cute chickens aside, learning about the work and care that goes behind raising broiler chickens was so eye opening and educational, and I’m sharing it all today #ontheblog. You may be surprised at some of the many myths out there! ⠀ Read all about my @chickencheck.in #linkinprofile >> https://kitchenconfidante.com/a-visit-to-a-chicken-farm-learning-about-chicken-production-in-the-u-s
A post shared by Liren Baker (@kitchconfidante) on
If you’ve ever enjoyed a rotisserie chicken, and I’m sure you have, it may have come from Jenny’s farm.
“Now when it comes to poultry, I have visited a turkey farm in California, but I have never been to a chicken farm. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and had some vague idea based on what is portrayed in the media, or documentaries. To be honest, it’s felt a lot like a mystery…
I was struck by how much room the chickens had, and gained an appreciation for the saying, “birds of a feather flock together,” because despite their ample real estate, the chickens loved cozying up to one another, in their little flocks. The chickens in this barn were 15-days-old, or in terms we could understand, adolescents. These teenagers had arrived the day they were hatched, and would spend their time in this cozy climate-controlled and ventilated barn, and have access to food and water at all time. Chicken raised for meat (also called “broiler chickens”) are never raised in cages, and I will admit that I assumed that perhaps there were some that were raised in cages simply because some food labels highlight “cage-free.“” show_quote_icon=”yes”]
2. Natasha Nicholes, Houseful of Nicholes:
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Chicken Farming
Confused? Let’s put it this way. You have hormones. Your teenager has RAGING hormones. The potato that you just enjoyed for lunch has hormones. Chickens have hormones, but it’s illegal, and has been for over half a century for hormones to be added to any chickens raised in the United States. It’s the LAW. What does this mean for you all? All those “no hormones added” labels on chicken packages in your local grocery store are meant to play on the emotional side of your purchasing habits. We don’t want food that’s been tampered with in a sense, and because we’re not on the farm, we tend to look at language as is, instead of digging deeper for factual data. Once again, NO CHICKENS ARE GIVEN ADDED HORMONES IN THE UNITED STATES. Farmers could lose their farms and their income.
3. Nicole Rodriguez, RDN:
Checking in with Chicken
Question: when you think chicken farm, which “F” word comes first – factory or family? Comment below… The truth is, 98% of chicken farms are family-owned and operated. #ad Had the pleasure of spending the day with 5th-generation farmer @rhodes_jenny, (pictured here with her mom) touring her chicken houses, talking food labels, and then sitting down to a beautiful spread of home-made jams, beef stew, chicken salad, and a host of other goodies. ? The rotisserie chickens raised on Jenny’s farm feed nearly half a million families a year, yours probably being one of them if you’re on the East Coast. As a mother, I’m continually in awe of the women who raise the food I feed my family. As a dietitian, I want you to feel good about shopping for your own families, and to make choices based on fact and preference, not fear. Keep an eye out for my latest blog this week, in which I’ll be busting some common chicken farming myths. #agvocate #sponsored #chickencheckin #motheranddaughter #thankafarmer #winnerwinnerchickendinner #rdapproved #allfoodsfit #farming #labelreading #nutritionknowhow #healthier #delmarva #cheseapeakebay #marylandfarm #womeninag #familyfarm #strongwomen #localeconomy #sustainability #dietitian #motherhood #factsnotfear #knowyourfood #enjoyyourfood #enjoyyourlife
A post shared by Nicole Rodriguez RDN, NASM-CPT (@nrodriguezrdn) on
MYTH: CHICKEN HOUSES ARE CRAMPED AND MISERABLE
Fact: anything can be photographed to misconstrue information. The chickens at Deerfield Farms had access to plenty of food and water, exhibited happy behavior (dusting themselves, huddling together in small groups), and, most importantly, are kept safe and warm. You may have heard the expression “cage-free,“ and thought of an idyllic meadow studded with chickens happily foraging for critters. Truthfully, the chickens here ran AWAY from the door to their house as soon as it was opened, rejecting the cold air. Flocks are safe indoors, away from predators and unfavorable conditions.
Takeaway: It’s in the best interest for chickens to be cared for, and from what I saw here, they most certainly are.” show_quote_icon=”yes”]
One of the first things I learned was that the way egg-laying chickens are raised and the way meat chickens are raised is entirely different. Different breeds, different purposes – much like how grapes for eating are sweet, thin skinned, and seedless but grapes for wine are highly acidic, thick skinned, and with seeds. We visited a chicken farm for meat, so I’ll be speaking to my experience there, not on how egg-laying chickens are farmed.
One of the biggest points of confusion was over hormones. The phrase “no hormones added” makes it seem as though chicken packaged without this phrase must have added hormones, but chickens, like humans, have naturally occurring hormones in their system, and since the 1950s, it has been illegal to add hormones to poultry. “No antibiotics ever” simply means the chicken was never given antibiotics. Chicken that has gotten sick and needs to be treated with antibiotics is sold to conventional, rather than organic,, lines of chicken. Cage-free is only relevant to egg-laying farms, as the industry standard for meat chickens is for them to be raised outside of cages. That means that the chicken meat you buy at the store is always raised cage-free. Natural is a generally meaningless term, with no oversight applied to it.” show_quote_icon=”yes”]
5. Naomi Robinson, Baker’s Royale:
Chicken and Apple Kale Salad + Getting to Your Chicken
And I paid a premium for it. I take some comfort in knowing I’m not alone in that. If you follow me on Instagram than you might have seen (or even participated in) the poll in which 87% of my followers said they would pay more for a hormone free and steroid free chicken.
News flash—FACT: It is against the law to inject or feed chicken with steroids or hormones. In fact, this law dates back to the 1950’s. Who knew because who takes the time to read those little asterisk marks—apparently not a lot of us. If we had, our wallets would be a little heavier.” show_quote_icon=”yes”]
6. Matt Robinson, Real Food by Dad:
Meat Lovers Pasta
Free-range vs. cage-free: All chickens raised for meat are cage-free. Free- range chickens have access to go outside for parts of the day, but most chickens will choose to stay in the chicken house near their water and food supply and where the temperature is controlled and set to maximum comfort.” show_quote_icon=”yes”]
Want to keep learning about broiler chicken farming?
Check out our FAQ page and read our blog, The Cluck!