Diet of a Chicken: Scientific, Sustainable but Not Simple
Dr. Roy Brister, Managing Director of Nutrition and Feed Mill Operations
Some consumers are asking for vegetarian fed or “veg fed” chickens. Their feed contains no ingredients derived from animals. Instead, they get essential nutrients from plants or inorganic sources to compensate for the lack of animal protein. For example, phosphorous is sourced from rock mines around the world instead of from animal protein. All in all, about one-third of chickens in the U.S. are fed vegetarian diets.
So, what is best?
We must ask ourselves what is best for the chicken? What is best for the environment? What is best for consumers? What is best for flavor and taste?
Feeding chickens a small amount of animal protein meets their nutritional needs and provides a purpose for otherwise discarded meat and parts. It’s also similar to chickens’ naturally omnivorous diets. Vegetarian diets supplement to meet those needs, though they don’t offer a solution to the discarded ingredients. Studies show no difference in flavor or taste of the meat.
Ultimately, we believe consumers should have choices and that’s what we provide at Tyson.
Published January 7, 2019.
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