Feed Strategy - January 2018 - 23
FeedStrategy ❙ 23
said Scott Sechler, owner and president of Bell & Evans, a
U.S.-based organic broiler producer.
The company recently announced the transition
of its entire flock to a slow-growing strain, the Das
Klassenbester, in 2018. The new breed's growth cycle will
be extended by more than 15 percent (47 to 50 days).
"We are estimating that our Das Klassenbester breed
will require between 25 to 33 percent higher feed conversion to reach the same 5.6 pound average live weight we
see now," Sechler said.
The company estimates it will spend an additional $14
million in feed per year, but he believes the cost will be
offset by increased chicken sales.
"Our chickens already receive a high-quality feed,
and that won't change, regardless of the increased feed
conversion," Sechler said, also noting Bell & Evans'
flock is 100 percent antibiotic free. "We've always tried
to slow down the growth of the faster-growing breeds by
January 2018 ❙ www.WATTAgNet.com
offering our chickens a high-quality, well-balanced blend
of U.S.-grown corn and extruded and expeller-pressed
soy, along with our own blend of essential oils like
oregano, cinnamon and yucca. We don't overfeed them
or add fillers to plump them up."
Ultimately, Bell & Evans' goal is to "raise a bettertasting chicken," but detractors of the slow-growing birds
cite the environmental impact of heritage strains (longer life = greater footprint) and the need for additional
chicken production to make up for supply deficits as their
downfall in commercial production.
Driven by the animal welfare movement,
California's Proposition 2/AB1437 and retailer's
pledge to only purchase cage-free eggs by 2025, the
U.S. cage-free egg production has nearly doubled.
According to the American Egg Board's October 2017