What does it mean when we call a chicken a «Broiler»?

Surely you have heard your butcher refer to a chicken as a «Broiler», but what does this designation mean?

By Broilers, the meat industry refers to varieties of chickens developed especially for meat production. That is, they are highly efficient animals in transforming feed into body weight, developing much faster than other poultry varieties traditionally selected for «dual purpose» (meat + eggs).

In general, we refer to them as industrial chickens, and they are characterized by being slaughtered between 45 and 50 days old (weighing 2 to 2.5kg), grown in artificially lit houses or in high-density cages (maximum 16 chickens per m2), and fed on artificial feed. Due to the rearing conditions, they are preventively medicated to avoid possible diseases and infections. Their meat has little fat, but also little nutritional value.

Today, chicken is one of the most widely enjoyed animals around the globe. The average consumption of chicken in Spanish households was, in 2018, 6.34 million tons, of which we were producers of 1.41 million tons. The following video (unfortunately without Spanish translation) is a fascinating short documentary film from 1948 about the advances of the time in chicken farming.

Recorded to educate the public about poultry farming, it presents the advances in genetic engineering and technology that eventually produced the chicken we know today.

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