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Hairyloon

Tesco chicken...

I was in Tesco today and on their knock down shelf I found some chicken. I was tempted, 'cos I wanted something for dinner, but knowing what we know about Tesco chicken I put it back...
But then I remembered that they are supposed to be reforming, so I had a closer look at the label. It said:
For more information about our strict welfare and quality standards visit www.tesco.com/realfood
So I did, and it took a bit of searching to find their poultry page: http://www.tescoplc.com/assets/files/cms/Food_news_results/Agri_content/Chicken_welfare_standards.pdf
I noticed a few things that it didn't say... perhaps it is good enough if you trust the Red Tractor, but I don't.
What do you all think?
Rob R

It depends what your standards are. I try to avoid chicken as much as possible. I wouldn't buy it from Tesco though.
pollyanna

I won't buy any meat from Tesco.
Jamanda

me neither.
Hairyloon

It depends what your standards are.

I've got some top notch meat in the freezer, but I wasn't expecting to still be home yesterday, so I didn't defrost any. I was just after some convenient fuel.
Quote:
I try to avoid chicken as much as possible.

Shouldn't be too hard for you. Wink
Quote:
I wouldn't buy it from Tesco though.

Is that not ever, or is it because of their current welfare standards?
Rob R

Quote:
I wouldn't buy it from Tesco though.

Is that not ever, or is it because of their current welfare standards?


A bit of both. And the source of feed. The welfare 'standards' aren't really that much different between 'farms', it's all much of a muchness, although I'd aim for free range or organic if I had to, based on the welfare standards.
Hairyloon

What's the source of feed? Rob R

What's the source of feed?

Exactly!
pollyanna

For me it's partly their behaviour in the slaughter process, what they do with the meat after slaughter, the way they treat their suppliers, the disrespect they display in the prices they sell meat such as chickens for.............. Shall I go on?

No, I don't ever buy Tesco meat, however pressed for time I am.
earthyvirgo

Since Tesco opened an 'Extra' in our little town (large village really), I've not set foot in any of their stores. Over two years now, and I have no intention of going back.

I know the rest of the big boys are just as bad but it was the last thing Bethesda needed. We have a perfectly decent Spar and Londis.

The Tesco opens 6am - 11pm, outdoing both of the small guys by an hour in the morning and evening. That's not fair competition.

EV
OtleyLad

I don't go into Tesco if i have any alternative choice.

Judging by their share of the market though I probably eat quiite a bit thats come via them at other people's houses (not that I get out a lot).

I know plenty of people who shop entirely on price and think nothing of it (except they think I'm daft for paying more).
Castle Farm

I find it odd that people refuse to buy chickens from Tesco and yet feed their own birds on pellets.

So your feeding the same chemically enhanced feed to produce eggs and meat that you eat.

The reason birds are kept 'commercially' is because the millions of other people living in the UK want cheap poultry.
Hairyloon

Has anybody here actually looked at their welfare statement?
They are one of the most important organisations in the country and they are supposed to be trying to change for the better.
If everybody ignores the efforts they do make, then what is the point in their trying?
pollyanna

Do they have a 'welfare of our suppliers and workers in our slaughterhouses' bit on their website?

I think they have plenty enough customers without my buying their meat and eggs, and I would rather support my local butcher who sources all his meat himself and the local free-range eggs from the farm down the road.
Rob R

I find it odd that people refuse to buy chickens from Tesco and yet feed their own birds on pellets.

So your feeding the same chemically enhanced feed to produce eggs and meat that you eat.

The reason birds are kept 'commercially' is because the millions of other people living in the UK want cheap poultry.

As I'm the only person to have mentioned feed it really isn't that odd, as I don't feed pellets to chickens. However, for most people the feed is probably the least of their worries. Birds that are kept their whole indoors in buildings containing tens of thousands of birds, a significant proportion of which will be culled (or not) for going off their legs, probably has a greater influence.

The catching gangs used are an 'interesting' bunch of people, I doubt many of them have any experience of livestock before or after doing this job. They may well do it 'efficienctly', depending upon their pay structure, but it is another area of concern.
Rob R

Has anybody here actually looked at their welfare statement?
They are one of the most important organisations in the country and they are supposed to be trying to change for the better.
If everybody ignores the efforts they do make, then what is the point in their trying?

When I worked in that sector there was a set of production & welfare standards that amounted to about four inches thick of paper in a lever arch file. This was 16 years ago, and very little has changed, structurally, to the buildings now. I tend to base many of opinions on what I see, rather than what I see written down. They may well have changed for the better, but until I see some evidence for it, I'm going to take any assurances with a pinch of salt.
NorthernMonkeyGirl

The pellets thing is a fair point, but I see it more like this: A healthy animal can cope with sub-optimal diet. A healthy animal can cope with sub-optimal housing. A healthy animal can cope, to a degree, with sub-optimal handling, or overcrowding, or any other stress nature or man can throw at it.
However, no living being can (or should) cope with bad diet, AND bad housing, bad breeding, bad handling, bad flock management........
Hairyloon

This was 16 years ago, and very little has changed, structurally, to the buildings now.
Is there a problem with the building structure?
I'd understood the main issue was stocking density.
Rob R

This was 16 years ago, and very little has changed, structurally, to the buildings now.
Is there a problem with the building structure?
I'd understood the main issue was stocking density.

Well yes, stocking density was a problem, as wading through birds that can hardly move, and hardly have space to move makes the process of picking up the dead ones difficult. With a door at each end it was a long old walk with each sack.

Burst water pipes were also pretty grim to deal with, as a sealed floor meant there was nowhere for the water to go - good from an environmental point of view, less good for the clean up process.
Chickpea

In this case Rob, maybe you can breed chicken for the table and I'll have a few with my lamb and beef order???

By the by, I was talking to a lady last week in Norfolk, her husband works at a poultry factory, and has done for 30 years, and they NEVER eat the chicken, even though it could be free. Says it all I think.
Bodger

If you ever go past the chicken processing plant (Vion) in Llangefni you'll know about it a mile or two before you do, because of the stink. wellington womble

I am very tempted to breed some chickens for the table next year. Just need to get freezer space organised. Mutton

One of the problems I have with commercial chicken, in addition to the points mentioned above, is the breeds. Years back, at the start of chicken keeping, we accidentally bought a Cobb trio at market when we wanted laying birds. We kept them free range with the laying birds, as laying birds (and they were OK incidentally, occasional double and once a triple yolk, but good big eggs). They had what they found plus a share of the evening corn. So not massive feeding and plenty of exercise. At five months old, despite all of that, the cockerel was struggling to stand when four months old - legs collapsing under him. He came in at 6lbs dressed.

I disagree with the idea of breeding birds that grow really fast and whose physique is such that they cannot walk before they've even finished growing however healthy their living conditions.

Now the smaller of the two hens - and still a whacking great bird - lived until she was three (killed by a predator) and was stomping around merrily all that time and we are delighted to have some of her very recognisable daughters in the flock. (Half silver sussex, half buff sussex.)
Graham Hyde

They have for sale here 5 to 7 day old chicks @ 50 uk pence each. These are called '45 day chickens', I don't know the breed but always all white. Fast growers, almost too heavy for their legs after 60 days. I bought 5 one time, killed the three cockrels between 45 and 50 days around 6 kilo live weight each. The two hens we kept to try for eggs. Never produced eggs and both died naturally around 18 months (abnormally enlarged breast, difficulty walking).
The cockrel meat was tender but tasteless. These are the birds the commercial farmers use.
We prefer the local breeds, smaller, tougher but tasty. The locals do not have ovens so chicken is normally cooked in various types of stew so toughness is usually not an issue.
dpack

white and fast growing sounds like sasso

fed on nice food and free ranged they can be grown to quite big and very tasty organic birds in about 90 days rather than the force fed in a big shed style of pastey ,unhappy but cheap meat

for meat birds it is hard to beat the genetics for conversion of feed to meat ,fast growth etc and diet and lifestyle do make a huge difference to both welfare and product
dpack

re old breeds grannie had a rhode island red boy x big white things and the meat birds were the speckled boy children ,they took about 6 months on corn and forage and dressed out at about 6 lb of very nice eating

the girls were fair layers

the local birds are probably a good choice of stock to use wherever you are ,
Ty Gwyn

I presume the genetics of Ross Cobbs have changed since the late 60`s early70`s,then we used to by as hatched,cheaper than sexed,
The pullets like Mutton mentioned made good free range layers of large eggs,out of lay hens made 6 to 8lbs oven ready as boilers,
The cockerels were 8 to 10 lbs at 6mths oven ready,with breasts like turkeys,fed on proper fattening food they had a yellow fat inside when dressed,
A few left over from Christmas orders were 12 lb oven ready.

Not had these birds for many years now,i wonder if them weights to age could still be achieved with the old fashioned feeding we did then?
Cathryn

Whereabouts are the sheds that grow these birds? I think Bodger's mentioned somewhere near Llangefni?
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