Canadian Poultry Magazine

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Restaurants cry fowl over the demise of the small chicken

Chickens are being raised bigger because it makes economic sense, but that’s left restaurants caught in a clash between taste and efficiency.


July 21, 2017
By The Financial Post

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July 21, 2017, Toronto, Ont. – Portuguese barbecued chicken restaurants in Toronto are struggling with a supply shortage of the younger, smaller chickens they cook on charcoal barbecues or rotisserie spits.

“Where is all the chicken?” asks Guiherme Salera of the Portuguese Chicken Guys, a downtown restaurant. “We are calling all our suppliers, scrambling.”

The eateries, called churrasqueiras (a Portuguese word that translates to barbecue restaurant), have over the decades become a popular dining option in Toronto; dozens of the family-owned shops thrive across the city and the suburbs. But several restaurateurs say that for the past few months they have been unable to find the 1.1-kilogram chickens that taste the best.

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At its heart, their beef seems to result from a clash between taste and efficiency.

Canadian farmers prefer to raise heavier chickens, because they get paid by weight. Abattoirs have set up their shackle lines — where workers slaughter, defeather, eviscerate and chill the chickens — to process the bigger birds. It takes about as much time to process a small bird as a big bird. READ MORE