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This issue is all about genetics and industry greed. There are only three major breeding companies in the broiler industry—in the world! One of the breeding companies is owned by a major chicken producer, another owned by investment bankers. And they all breed chickens to achieve the following goals, with little to no thought for the health and welfare of the chickens:

  • Fast weight gain
  • Bigger birds
  • Bigger breasts
  • More eggs per hen
  • Most efficient feed conversion
  • Significant cost per pound decrease in processing costs (costs the same amount to process a 4 lb. bird as it does an 8 lb. bird)

All at the least cost over all.

Our industry is hoping to give each of the chickens “some kind of pill” and hope it all goes away. It’s like drinking excessive alcohol and expecting not to have a headache the next day.

The term “Slow Growing” birds is being overused. The big chicken companies aren’t interested in correcting the breeding issue… Lengthening the growing cycle by a few days isn’t going to fix the problem. Putting time and effort into new breeding stock will fix the issue, but it is costly.

Here at Bell & Evans, we are working overtime to import parent stock from a new partner with genetic lines that will bring us back to the quality of lines we once knew. We expect to transition all breeders to new genetics over the next 2 years.


  1. Bart says:

    Thank you for the great article Scott! So it sounds like you are going to start with new breeding lines. This must be the only way to fix? Changing the growing rate or lack of steroids will not improve unless you start with new stock. Fast weight gain seems to be the intended process for all others, and it makes since if the end product produces more or larger birds. The striping may not be a concern to others, and I have seen this in all breast meats I find. I never new it’s cause and always thought it was marble like fatty tissue.

    1. Bell Evans says:

      We do believe that the issue can be corrected through improved genetic lines. Thank you for your interest and support, Bart!

  2. Rozanne Silva says:

    Your chicken is ,by far, the best chicken in the case. All of these articles are telling us how you are working to make it better. These are the reasons I will only buy your chicken , and will continue to only buy your chicken. Thank you for your high standards!
    Rozanne Silva

  3. Edward Wollman says:

    I so enjoy your air chilled chicken Which I purchased at whole foods. I am so turned off by what I read about it see about the other major chicken products producers, Let alone the quality of their products.I sincerely hope that you are able to continue the quality that you now show. I am more than willing to pay the extra cost for the quality that you provide.

    1. Edward,thank you for the kind words. We continue to seek ways to raise the bar higher.

  4. Jackie Lombardo says:

    Bell and Evans chicken is the best, and only chicken I will eat

  5. Christine Lazarski says:

    I only purchase Bell and Evans chicken. It’s the only brand I trust!!!

    1. Thank you, Christine!

  6. Marie says:

    Have you successfully transitioned all breeders to new genetic lines? It has been 4 years since this was posted.

    1. Hi Marie, we completed our breed conversion in the Spring of 2019.

  7. John F. says:

    Despite this conversion process having been completed years ago, I just had to throw away a package of Bell & Evans chicken breasts after a meal ruined by a woody breast.

    1. Hi John, we are sorry that you had this experience. Please give us a call at 717-454-3561 or send us an email at [email protected] so that we can get more information.

  8. Diane says:

    I am so happy that you were trying to get the farming and chicken industry back under control. There’s gigantic chicken breast that you can’t even eat in one setting you have one breast and it feeds three people no thanks….,. I cannot eat chicken that has all the junk in it. I was raised on chickens that my parents fed, and we had our own grown vegetables. it’s a shame what’s happening here and everywhere around the world with our food chain. I am praying that God will prevail in your efforts to keep our environment with the chickens and the future of the chickens to high standards not to change the subject, but I just saw on a short clip that they’re growing real chicken cells in a petri dish and they’re going to replace our chicken with that no way that is so scary. Please continue your efforts to keep your chickens being chickens !!!$

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