As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Saturday 22 March 2014

Revealed: How your supermarket chicken has shrunk... and millions of birds are suffering even worse conditions

Chicken sizes in supermarkets are shrinking as recession bites
But more, smaller chickens means their welfare is compromised

PUBLISHED: 02:06, 21 March 2014 | UPDATED: 12:00, 21 March 2014

The chickens lining the chiller cabinet in Morrisons’ meat section are tightly packed, drumstick to drumstick, in life as in death. ‘Mix and match — three for £10’ proclaims a bright red sticker slapped on the packaging to promote their latest deal.

But take a closer look and this is not quite the bargain it seems. The trio of chickens on offer weigh just 1.3kg each — individually about big enough to feed a couple of adults, but far too small to provide the centrepiece for a family’s Sunday roast.

And the Morrisons’ chickens aren’t the only ones that are shrinking.

At Aldi there’s a bird weighing in at 1.25kg, at the Co-op a 1.1kg bird, while Tesco’s offerings go down as low as 900 grams — lighter than a bag of sugar and small enough to fit comfortably in a man’s hand.

Of course, the supermarkets would argue that the small print on the labels shows the weight of the birds, after which it is up to consumers to choose what size they want to buy.

But, they also know that in these straitened times, shoppers make their purchasing decisions more than ever before on price alone.

If they can pick up a whole chicken for less than £3 (Aldi has the cheapest of the lot at £2.99), then they will gladly do so, irrespective (and possibly unaware) of its weight.

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