There’s a Giant Chicken Running Around and We Need to Talk About It

A video of a Brahma rooster named Merakli emerging from his coop on Sunday morning ruffled everyone’s feathers on Twitter.


While many are still freaking out over Merakli’s size, there’s another chicken size we need to talk about: the size of the ones we eat.

Chickens raised and slaughtered for meat in the United States are bred to weigh a staggering nine pounds today compared to just two pounds in the 1950s. The popularity of white meat has driven this change. Slaughtered at around 48 days of age, broilers are bred to grow so large, so fast, that their organs cannot keep up with their bodies. Crippling deformities are common. Broilers often die prematurely because they simply cannot move to reach water.

Don’t believe us? Just watch this Mercy For Animals undercover video from a Tyson chicken farm.


To make matters worse, as the demand for poultry rises, the industry continues to manipulate chickens’ size.

"I don't think we've seen the limit," Dr. Michael Lilburn, a professor at Ohio State University's Poultry Research Center, told The Washington Post. "We'll probably see a limit when we start getting into product quality issues, when the side-effects are too burdensome. But we aren't there yet."

This is not only irresponsible but also cruel to animals and dangerous to our health. The Huffington Post reports that today’s chicken meat contains 224 percent more fat and 9 percent less protein.

Luckily, with amazing new products hitting store shelves all the time, replacing chicken with healthy and humane plant-based alternatives has never been easier!

Click here for a list of mouthwatering chicken substitutes.

Click here to order your FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide.

Photo credit: Snopes.com