Perdue chicken, chicken antibiotics, chicken farms, and a family run business that I didn’t know much about prior to a recent trip to Maryland. All that I knew was that as a mom living in NY, it was the brand I most frequently purchased at the supermarket. But I guess I never really thought about why?
Generation X is pretty brand loyal and I grew up with Perdue chicken. So, it made sense that I would continue on with that tradition. I was told to trust them by my mother and grandmother and so I did without much thought. I knew they were great because great people in my life told me so. Wasn’t that enough?
My household is primarily organic. We slip up when it comes to chips and dips and the occasional chocolate chip cookie – just being honest. We have to LIVE, people. But when it comes to dairy, meat, and vegetables I tend to choose organic more than not because that’s what feels right for me.
Everything You Don’t Know About Perdue Chicken
However, when it came to Perdue chicken, I would waver at times. Their labels read good enough. Cage-Free. No hormones or steroids. No animal by-products. No antibiotics ever. It all felt right in my book.
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I continuously found myself standing in front of the freezer aisle questioning if that was what I really was looking for. Did Perdue meet my personal needs as a consumer without having to go all the way organic? The answer was yes. I can’t say whether or not that will do the same for you, but for me… it did.
But let’s break down the “no antibiotics ever” concept. I read it a thousand times and never really thought about it.
No antibiotics ever – was it just chicken antibiotics? Human antibiotics? Did it matter?
Can I be honest with you? I didn’t know. I wasn’t a mom that researched such things. Like I mentioned earlier, I stuck with what I knew (or was taught) and just rolled with it. And I was taught that Perdue was the right choice at a very early age.
That meant that I never thought about chicken antibiotics for a second in my life. But now that it was brought to my attention, I realized that it was an important conversation and I was happy to see that Perdue was not loading their product line unnecessarily with antibiotics I might eventually have to consume.
So, I came into my recent Perdue Farms visit feeling a bit differently than others. I was already a customer and a solid one at that. I didn’t need to be convinced. I was already convinced.
In fact, I was convinced by their grandfather from so many years ago. But I remained present and with an open mind – curious to hear more because that’s what we are supposed to do as consumers – listen. And so I did.
Learning About Perdue Farms And The Perdue Family
What I thought would scare me just ended up reassuring me that my purchasing decisions were correct. Perdue chicken is the right choice for my family.
Here are a few things that I learned about Perdue chicken which I consider important and top line.
No Chicken Antibiotics Ever – No Human Antibiotics Ever – No Antibiotics Ever
Many years ago, Perdue made a decision to remove antibiotics from their chicken and I am talking ALL antibiotics. This includes chicken antibiotics and human. I won’t get into the WHY but their decision changed the way that the industry handled this species as a whole.
When Perdue chicken made the move, other competition soon followed… but most did NOT.
Within their own company, this decision had a trickle-down effect. When Perdue chicken removed the antibiotics and started the “no antibiotics ever” campaign, something else changed. They also decided to change the feed they provided their birds.
Other companies still serve their chickens by-products – stuff you do not want chickens to eat or even HEAR ABOUT. I most certainly did not. It was gross.
Chickens eating parts of chickens because it is cheaper that way. YUCK and YUCK.
Perdue does NOT do this. I didn’t even know that I needed to know about this and now that I do, I am so thankful to hear this news. PLEASE! The food matters!
Perdue chickens eat a 100% vegetarian diet and that doesn’t matter what line you purchase – it is across the board. You don’t have to worry about whether or not you buy organic, not organic, frozen or fresh. Every single product gets this checkmark.
What’s included in their vegetarian feed? Corn, probiotics, soybean meal, and water. That’s it. No animal by-products at all. The competition cannot say the same thing.
Small Farms Make Up A Big Company
Perdue is a multi-billion dollar company. There. I said it. It’s so ugly, right? Screw the man! Guess what? It’s not like that with this family.
This company is made up of hundreds of small farms which are run by even smaller families. How do I know this? I met some of them.
Husband and wife teams, a widow and her son, a family of five – they have a chicken house cap rule that must be adhered to in order to be a vendor for Perdue Farms and it keeps the levels manageable AND SMALL. It is their choice to do this and it’s a smart one. No big business can farm for Perdue because of this cap.
I need you to visualize this because you hear billion and you see billion and that’s what we walk away with after our brain processes that thought. The farms they work with have an average of around three chicken houses. I said three.
What did you think originally? MASS production, right? GIANT operations! I did too. I’m not going to lie. When I learned about this part of their business, it made me happy.
Again, I was already a customer – but knowing that I was providing for small families warmed my heart. It truly is this way.
Feels good to know that Perdue is a bottom-heavy company. The company proudly leans on its family of farmers and they like it that way. It works. It keeps an industry working the way it should – by keeping everybody working. And you know what? I have no problem with that at all.
Future Plans In The Work
Did you know that Perdue is paying for their farmers to make adjustments to their chicken houses? They are making quality-of-life adjustments to every single house on every single farm and they aren’t asking their farmers to chip in. It’s at their cost.
What is the adjustment? They are adding windows to every chicken house that every farm has on their land – at their expense. I just wanted to say that again. The farmers don’t have to pay a dime. By the time I publish this article (10/1/19), the company should hit about 50% of their goal to date. Pretty neat.
Perdue Farms also announced plans for reductions in greenhouse gas, water use, and solid waste. Always looking forward. Always trying to assess their current workload and make it better. Never satisfied and that’s how I like brands to be – aspiring to be better.
They Give Back In A Big Way
I know this matters to a lot of people and so I wanted to include it. Perdue Farms is quiet about what they do on the backend. This family has provided more than $2.3 million in grants through the Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation.
I could go on and on about this, but just know this number is just one piece of the chicken pot pie.
Jim Perdue Was Sort Of Amazing
I had a chance to sit down with Jim Perdue and Chris Perdue and get to know them a bit. Obviously, we didn’t have that much time to get too personal, but I will say that I saw passion and truth behind their words.
While Jim Perdue was hosting my group in his backyard in Maryland, he had to worry about 50 or so people and a full catering staff. He had to worry about people going in and out of his house, strangers on his property, hoping everything went according to plan. And do you know my group of friends heard him ask?
He went right up to the caterer and told him that he knew there was a bus driver waiting around back and he needed to be sure that he was fed. He asked the caterer team to please make sure that someone gets him so that he could join us to eat because everyone should eat while the dinner was hot.
Take that for what you will but that is character. That is a good man. That is something that is strongly needed in this world.
On top of that, while we were all enjoying his fire pit after dessert was served, we chatted and laughed the night away. His wife, Jan, saw us all having a great time and she brought out a basket full of s’mores supplies. Jim Perdue took those supplies and made each and every one of us a treat like we were friends – real friends.
I kept thinking about how funny the night was. How comfortable and warm the entire family had been to this group of strangers. We weren’t meeting a business. We were meeting people and that gets lost in the world of big names and big brands.
It wasn’t Perdue chicken that night. It was Jim Perdue and Chris Perdue and Jan Perdue, a woman who spent time to talk to me about her love of art. It was wild horses and clams. It was scary campfire stories and rained out wedding days. It was zebras in barnyards and over-rambunctious dogs and it was real.
Not a label. Not a commercial. Not an infomercial. Just a family who believed in what they were putting out into the world and in some small way, I got to be a part of it for a while.
(This pic is of my husband and I getting ready to visit a chicken farm and enter a chicken house. You have to keep things really sterile – so the suits are a must.)
I’m Happy To Be Part Of The Team
We eat a lot of chicken in this house. And I mean a LOT. Whether it’s my chicken alfredo lasagna roll-ups, chicken teriyaki sheet pan recipe, chicken fried rice recipe, my slow cooker chicken noodle soup, our my creamy chicken corn soup – it’s always yummy!
Oh wait! You want more? From chicken farms to table… so to speak.
- Creamy chicken and broccoli recipe
- Chicken noodle soup recipe
- Crockpot chicken and rice recipe
- Homemade chicken nuggets
- Gluten-Free Chicken Parmesan
- Air fryer fried chicken
- Chicken and vegetable couscous
- Chicken and pepper fajitas
- Spicy Thai chicken noodle soup
- Chicken taquitos
- Chicken pot pie mini appetizer
- The best chicken soup
I’m not kidding when I tell you my children are made up of 67% chicken. In fact, I would argue that it is part of my downfall. When my husband and I go out to a steakhouse, he has to literally coach me during our drive over to NOT GET THE CHICKEN.
WE ARE GOING TO A STEAKHOUSE – PLEASE – FOR THE LOVE OF GOD – GET SOME STEAK! IT IS A STEAKHOUSE. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, WOMAN???
Yes, that is me. And that happens every single time we go out. It’s kind of funny. I’m like a child. I like what I like and it drives my man mad. Either way, I’m beyond thrilled about the next year.
Look Out For More Information This Year
I’m so excited to announce that I’ve teamed up with the Perdue Family and this year I will be sharing great content, recipes, and new launch information every month. Stay tuned!
Who would have thought that a girl born in NYC would be writing about chicken farms? Not me! But I’m so happy that I am because now that I’ve actually visited a few chicken farms, I feel much more educated about the entire process. Maybe the next time I go, I will muster enough courage to actually hold one of the chickens. A girl can dream.
Monday 14th of October 2019
Hahahah regarding your love of chicken my husband is the same way! He could eat chicken everyday and never get sick of it!
Tuesday 1st of October 2019
Vera - We so appreciated all the insights you brought to the discussions and glad you enjoyed the experience.