Leading the way in breeding
Modern poultry breeding has resulted in breeds that are specialised either as laying hens or as meat birds. Both specialisations have short lives with a production focus, bred to produce lots of eggs for a short time, or to fatten quickly. There are some really negative consequences to this kind of breeding, including the culling of male chicks of layer breeds.
This does not sit well with Demeter farmers who are always looking for better welfare solutions and has led to initiatives to return to ‘heritage’ and ‘dual-purpose’ breeds. Traditionally, chickens had to be able to grow sustainably and slowly, allowing hens to produce a constant supply of eggs and all the birds raised for eating.
Learning from the wisdom of the past sometimes gives farmers a way to work with the problems of the present. There are now pioneer farmers working intensively on the development of dual purpose breeds, establishing biodynamic parent flocks and developing their own hatcheries.
This means that all chicks can be raised for meat and eggs and results in robust, healthy and slow growing birds that produce flavourful poultry products without stress.
This radical approach to raising poultry is led by Demeter farmers, working with other organic associations to focus on the raising of dual-purpose chickens. This is a challenge that needs the willingness of the whole supply chain to value animal welfare and the time it takes, even if it means that eggs and meat come at a higher price. We are convinced that animal welfare is worth it.
Learn more at organic-breeding.org