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What Size Bag Should I Use?

Posted by Jim McLaughlin on

We here in the office are noticing increases in calls concerning poultry shrink bags that are too small for the birds folks are processing.

In order to answer the question we need to go back a few years to find the answer.

In the 1950’s when chicken began to see an increase in consumption as a cheap protein source it took about 16 weeks to raise a chicken from day old to a market weight of 3 pounds. Today’s chicks reach a slaughter weight in about 6 weeks.

When we began raising pastured poultry in the mid 1990’s it was a solid 8 weeks for a Cornish-cross broiler to get to 5-6 pound live weight for a 3.5 to 4.5 ready to cook bird. In the 90’s we basically used a 9x16 poultry shrink bag for all our birds.

We began to notice that our 8-week-old birds would not fit in a 9x16 shrink bag any longer and realized that the industry had done a good job of managing the genetics and feed conversion on the birds and the result was a bird that finished sooner. The result was that at 8 weeks you had a heaver therefore a larger bird, which would no longer fit in a 9x16 poultry shrink bag.

We began to offer 10x16 poultry shrink bags and then actual had to go to an11x16 shrink bag to keep up with the longer grow out period. Farmers continued to raise birds to 8 weeks even though they end up being too large for many consumers. Two people cannot eat a six-pound bird and many people are not interested in eating left over chicken for a week. Another consideration is single people defiantly don’t want such a large bird to try to prepare and eat. (That is discussion for another time)

So keep that in mind when purchasing shrink bags, please give us a call if you need recommendations for bag sizes.

As always, thanks for stoppin' by and keep looking UP!

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