Friday, November 11, 2011

I Paid $19 for a whole chicken (and I bought 10 of them) - Here's Why!

There are some foods I am lenient with.  I am not perfect at eating 100% organic whole foods, but this year we have switched to buying all of our meat and poultry from local sources that are organic or beyond organic.   When I say "beyond organic" this is a term used by the farmer we buy them from because he is not certified organic because organic certification has lots of hoops to jump through. Here is information about their chickens:
We start our chicks out as day old hatchlings in our brooder where they spend the first three weeks of their life until they are old enough to go outdoors safely.  Once out, they are moved each day in one of our portable “chicken huts” to a fresh spot of pasture where they will obtain about 15% of their food from forage and insects.  The balance of their diet is a custom mix of GMO free and chemical free corn and roasted soybeans grown on local Indiana family farms.  These grains are then blended with certified organic minerals and supplements.  Our chickens never receive antibiotics, vaccinations or growth stimulants.  Lastly, our chickens are carefully transported to a local, hard working Amish family.  Here they are processed with care, by hand, in this State of Indiana inspected facility. - Simpson Family Farm

Is this expensive - YES!  Is it worth it - YES!  We buy in bulk which means we buy a quarter of a cow (and split it) and a half of a hog and 8-10 chickens at a time.  These are chunks of money that we come up with because we think it is very important to have good quality food.   We try to spread it out over the year and buying in bulk actually makes it cheaper overall.

I have gotten beef this way for over 2 years but I was reluctant to buy chickens because they are so expensive.  I stopped buying chicken breasts a long time ago to make myself get used to cooking whole chickens because I knew I would buy organic ones eventually and I knew I could never afford to buy organic chicken breasts.

After reading about arsenic in our chickens I knew I had to stop buying grocery store birds and actually buy organic chickens - local, organic chickens.

This is part of an article from The Whole New Mom:

What the FDA Says is Safe

Arsenic in Chickens, Arsenic in You and Arsenic-Laced Chicken Poop Being Fed to Cows - OK.  I am so done with letting my family eat conventional meat now.  I was being a bit lenient with it at potlucks until now, but no more. 

The basics are that for years the FDA has known that arsenic-laced feed was being given to chickens.  The argument was that the arsenic would all come out in their poop.  Now they have discovered that it is not so. 

To their credit, the company who manufactures the feed has agreed to pull the feed off the market, but there is no telling how much of it is left (still being fed to chickens on a farm near you??).  In addition, according to the AP,:
Scott Brown of Pfizer Animal Health’s Veterinary Medicine Research and Development division said the company also sells the ingredient in about a dozen other countries. He said Pfizer is reaching out to regulatory authorities in those countries and will decide whether to sell it on an individual basis.” (…)
Not good enough for us, but maybe good enough for others??
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Now you see why I do what I do?  I just can't know that and not do it.  I will say that I do a lot with a whole chicken.  I usually cook it up (our favorite is sticky chicken) and then after we have eaten I will take the carcass and make broth with it and pick off the rest of the meat to use for another meal - such as chicken pot pie or bbq chicken quesadillas. 

I know not everyone can afford to do this but it is a priority for us.  We don't buy as much clothes.  We don't upgrade our furniture or buy lots of other things.  Sometimes I wonder how people afford new coffee tables and other things and then I realize - they probably don't buy $19 chickens.


  1. Yikes! I'm sitting here making my grocery list and see that the store (I won't name names) has chicken breasts for $1.97 a pound. Oh the temptation!

    I've been trying to buy as local as possible too. It IS expensive, but it is worth it. I asked God if HE would help me do this and He has:)

  2. So is arsenic in organic chicken, and that's why you bought beyond organic? Or is there something else that makes it beyond organic?

  3. Hi! thanks for the chick report! I'm the same way about my money going for good foods instead of other things, my sister says she's love to buy all organic, but says that it's too expensive, yet she just bought a brand new Buick! Oh well........

    Cheers to good eating!

  4. @VintageKrista
    Sorry for the confusion Krista - I added more information to my post to explain myself.

  5. @musemater
    Very good point! We do sacrifice buying other things to buy good food. It is too important to me. And now that I know all I do about our food supply I just can't NOT do it.

  6. Thank you for sharing this! God has been pulling me towards the direction of really changing how and what my family eats, but I've always thought it was way too expensive for us, especially living in Florida. Packaged organic food is pricey!! However, after a little digging, I am realizing that changing the way we eat doesn't have to be super pricey and such a difficult change. I've found a co-op in my area to get cheap organic grains and a few farmers about an hour away that have very affordable organic produce and grass-fed beef. I have yet to look into chickens, but definitely will now!! Now i just have to sit down with hubby and pray that God will show us how to be good stewards of our money so we can make this change!

    Loooove your website by the way!! I appreciated your honesty about struggling with writing recently, because I have found myself in the same "rut" I guess you could say. Especially now as I am shifting our eating habits and having to spend more time in the kitchen! :) But please know, that I am VERY encouraged by your blog and you should definitely keep going!!!

  7. @Carolyn
    Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I really appreciate them!

  8. I'm not sure where you get your info, but poop is not fed to cows. Beef cows of the organic and organic manner are both inspected as well as the farms that raise them. Cows would not eat poop even if they were fed it.
    As far as arsenic goes, after Dr. Oz tried and cause mass caos with arsenic in apple juice the FDA issued several articles explaining that arsenic is a naturally formed material and trace ammounts are in many products and have been proven not harmful for humans. If chicken were fed arsenic in large amounts it would kill them, just like humans.
    I totally agree with buying local, but it is upsetting when people post one-sided information and don't provide any resources.

  9. @Anonymous
    Is that your real name? Just kidding, although it would be nice if people that left comments would leave their names so I could address that individual. I understand your comment. I linked to the original article from "The Whole New Mom" in which she links to several sources. While arsenic will kill you in large amounts it has been shown to cause cancer even in small amounts. This is from one of the articles linked above, "the FDA continues its campaign of denial, claiming arsenic in chickens is at such a low level that it's still safe to eat. This is even as the FDA says arsenic is a carcinogen, meaning it increases the risk of cancer.

    Also, "In a study of 100 chickens, the FDA found that chickens that had eaten the Roxarsone had higher levels of inorganic arsenic - as opposed to organic arsenic, which is naturally occurring - in their livers than chickens which had not eaten the Roxarsone. Inorganic arsenic is more toxic than the naturally occurring form." (Source:

    As stated above this arsenic is inorganic and not naturally occurring. It is in the FDA report so I am sure we can find it.

    Just my two cents . . .

    And as far as apple juice, we don't drink it because it is very difficult to find apple juice not made in China so we just avoid it all together.

    I do appreciate all comments and I do want to address all concerns as factual as possible.


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