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Chickens and Added Hormones

Updated on June 23, 2019
Ali Dillender profile image

Lex is an Animal and Dairy Science major and assistant researcher studying bacteria in chickens and their role in foodbourne illnesses

Who wants chemically modified chicken sitting on their dinner table?


How often do you walk through your grocery store and immediately become overwhelmed with all the packaging claims on meat products?

Often? Makes sense.

There are so many false claims that advertisers use to get you to buy their product and only a handful of these claims are actually backed by the USDA.

In chicken products, specifically, many products claim to be "hormone free" or contain "no added hormones."

This claim really makes you want to buy those chicken breasts right?

Who wants chemically modified chicken sitting on their dinner table?

But, is this claim legitimate?

The answer?



No matter what product you buy, there will have been hormones that have made it possible for it to be living.

Natural Processes

First of all, let's look into this "hormone free" claim.

Let me ask you this: what runs our natural body processes? What is the factor that allows us to grow, what factor helps run pretty much every process in our bodies?


Now, every living thing uses hormones to control functions that keep them alive. Therefore, how would it be possible to have a chicken that has grown and been living to not have any hormones?

No matter what product you buy, there will have been hormones that have made it possible for it to be living.

Hormone free packaging is just a complete gimmick.

They only want to drive traffic to their product even though it is no different nor is it any healthier

From 1957 to 2005 broiler growth was increased by over 400%

Legality and Confusion

Adding hormones to chickens has actually been banned by the FDA since 1960.

So, why do people still think that there are added hormones to all of our meat products?

Well, the beef industry does use added hormones and that is how we have been able to grow larger cows in a fraction of the time. The same thing has happened with our chickens, but not as a result from adding hormones.

Increased breeding selection, artificial insemination, living conditions and health over the years have allowed us to create a genetically superior broiler (meat chicken). From 1957 to 2005 broiler growth was increased by over 400%.

All but 3 years of this poultry growth was done without hormones.

But were hormones really used all that much before anyway?



Even if a producer decided they were going to start using hormones for their chickens it would be a complete waste of time, money, and resources. Oh and they would be caught by the FDA.


It would be insane for a broiler producer to use hormones. Why?

Hormones cannot be added to feed. Any extra hormones that would be added to a broiler's feed would just go into the digestive system and be broken down so much that it would no longer cause any real change in the chicken's hormone levels.

This means that all hormones would have to be given via injection.

To make sure the hormones do not disrupt the natural cycle and truly be efficient, injections would be given to every single bird, every 90 minutes.

you would need 84 workers all on the same shift with that same efficiency to capture all the birds 8 times to be able to successfully deliver hormones.

Let me put this in perspective. According to the USDA, a full grown broiler requires at least 3 square feet of space. The size of one broiler house in the U.S. has increased to over 20,000 square feet. This means that one broiler house can hold over 6,500 chickens at one time.

To top that, according to the USDA, the average grower delivers 90,000 birds to a processing plant at one time. NCFH also outlines the working conditions of a poultry worker claiming they usually work 12 hour shifts and in one whole shift a group of 7-10 workers can capture 30-60 thousand birds.

There are 720 minutes in 12 hours and so therefore those workers must capture 90,000 birds 8 times during one shift.

If you took 7 workers being able to capture 60,000 birds in 12 hours then you would need 84 workers all on the same shift with that same efficiency to capture all the birds 8 times to be able to successfully deliver hormones.

No one. I mean no one. Is doing that.


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Thank You!

Please remember to really look into what you are buying at the grocery store. Stop falling for those fake, non-backed claims just trying to get a little extra money out of you! Thank you for reading my article please leave constructive criticism and comments below!


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    • Sehar Nadeem profile image

      Sehar Nadeem 

      24 months ago from Stoke On Trent

      very informative article. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      24 months ago

      This is a well structured article regarding a system which is more about profit than the health of people or animals. Thank you for sharing.

    • Asad Dillz profile image

      Asad Dillz Khan 

      24 months ago from United Kingdom

      Very informative article! Yeah, I heard about it but your article describe it and explain it very well..... Well researched and well written article! Thanks for sharing this piece of knowledge! Great Work!


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