1 What’s Special About Our Chicken?
It is much heavier breasted. Its flavor is distinct and
noticeably better. In general, it produces less fat when cooked.
It contains less absorbed water than commodity chickens chilled
in giant continuous chillers and pre-chillers. You can see the
difference, both raw and cooked, by way of a side-by-side
comparison. Its texture is firmer due to the breed of the bird,
the room that the birds are given to move around in and the
absence of antibiotics in the feed.
2 What do you feed your chickens
and what don’t you feed your chickens?
Wellington Farms free roaming chickens are fed a diet of
pesticide-free corn, soybean meal and soybean oil as an added
energy source. The feed ingredients are milled into a powder and
pelletized. Included in the feed formula mix is an all natural
vitamin and mineral blend.
Our feeds contain no animal by-products (used fryer fat from
fast food restaurants, rendered poultry or animal fat, feather
meal, or fishmeal), no bakery by-products, and no antibiotics
3 What’s the difference between
FREE RANGE and FREE ROAMING?
Chickens raised FREE RANGE are provided with access to the
outdoors whereas FREE ROAMING chickens are not provided with
outdoor access. Wellington Farms FREE ROAMING CHICKENS are given
plenty of space to roam freely indoors. They eat and drink in
spacious screened natural daylight housing protected against
wild predator animals and potential disease-carrying wild birds.
4 What Qualities Differentiate One
Brand of Chicken from Another?
There may be many. There is a big difference among the
various breeds of chickens offered in the marketplace. Numerous
companies compete in order to produce the fastest growing, best
feed converting, lowest fat, biggest breasted, disease
resistant, egg producing strain. Geneticists cross breed
constantly in order to produce the perfect chicken. The winner
reaps huge rewards, and the latest test flock results are
guarded as if they are classified as a national security top
priority matter. However, the best feed converter is not
necessarily the best chicken from the consumer’s point of view.
Most consumers want big-breasted birds. Consumers don’t want to
bruises or imperfections. Most have a color preference but don’t
5 Why do they cost more?
Because they cost the grower and processor more to grow, more to
process, more to package. They eat more feed; they take longer
to grow, require more space within which to grow and require
more labor to oversee their growth. The elimination of
by-products greatly increases the feed cost of the chicken, too.
We pay our family farmers more than the average broiler
producers pay their farmers so that our growers can remain
sustainable family farms. It’s a practice we strongly believe in
6 What does “All Natural” Mean?
The USDA’s definition pertains only to how the chicken is
processed, whether or not any substance such as a basting
additive is injected into the bird at the processing plant. If
nothing is added at the processing level, the “All Natural”
claim can be made provided it is qualified with the “Minimally
Processed” statement that must accompany it. It has nothing to
do with how the bird is raised, what it is fed or what it is
medicated with, as long as no “artificial ingredient” is
7 What is AIR CHILLED and what makes AIR CHILLED chicken better?
With few exceptions , all chickens are presently
water-chilled. Federal law allows water absorption up to 12% of
carcass weight, and chicken companies want to sell water. It's
cheaper than chicken! Water chilled birds are immersed in
ambient temperature water-filled chillers where absorption takes
place. The chickens then travel to the main chiller where they
are again immersed into circulating water intended to bring
carcass temperatures down to less than 40 degrees. These
chillers are community style baths into which each day's birds
go in and out. What's on or inside of one bird may also end up
With air chilling, each bird makes no contact with another and
absorbs no water because it never is immersed or sprayed with
water. It loses around 1% of its weight during the air-chilling
process. What this means is that bacteria counts are 80% lower
than those of water-chilled chickens and extends useful shelf
life significantly. It provides for a distinctly different
flavor and texture because the natural juices, proteins and
enzymes remain in the meat during cooking whereas they are lost
with water-chilled birds.
|8 Vaccinations & Antibiotics
All chickens are vaccinated at the hatchery for Marek’s and
Newcastle disease. They are subsequently vaccinated for
coccidiosis when placed in growout buildings or brooder houses.
Vaccines are not antibiotics. The difference is totally in the
use (or non use) of antibiotics as growth enhancers, stress
reducers and disease preventers. Antibiotics are used by the
large commodity broiler chicken companies for primarily 3
reasons. They enable chickens to survive in crowded growing
conditions, promote accelerated weight gain resulting in better
feed conversion ratios and reduce stress within the flock which
in turn lowers flock mortality rates. All of the above are
intended to enhance profits. However, chicken quality is
sacrificed in the process.
Wellington Farms uses no fish, bakery or animal by-products in
its feeds. We use 100% soybean oil in our feeds as an energy
|9 What about Growth Hormones? Does
Wellington Farms use them on their chickens?
It is against federal law to administer growth hormones to ANY
POULTRY and has been against the law for more than 50 years.
Chicken companies making label claims stating that their
chickens contain no growth hormones must also state on the label
that it is against federal law to do so. Those companies
choosing to make such claims are doing so in an attempt to
mislead consumers into believing that companies not making the
“no growth hormone” claims administer growth hormones which they
|10 What about exposure to Avian
Influenza (Bird Flu)?
The reason Wellington Farms chickens switched from being raised
FREE RANGE to FREE ROAMING is due to the potential risk of
exposure to Bird Flu. Allowing chickens access to outdoors
invites the risk of coming in contact with wild birds which have
been identified as likely carriers of Bird Flu.
|11 What is the Difference Between a
Yellow Chicken and a White One?
The answer is simple; only the color. It has nothing to do
with the quality of the meat, its fat content or how it was
raised. It is a marketing tool only. Depending upon the contents
of the feed, including the use of corn versus wheat in the feed
formula, the resulting color will vary accordingly from pale
white to bright yellow and all shades in between.