I read a neat article in the last issue of Backyard Poultry. Modern breeds of chicken are really good at eating lots and lots of food so that they can grow really big as quickly as possible. So, now that prices for feed have gone way, way up, the costs of raising these birds have gone up just the same.
Meanwhile, there are other breeds of chickens that aren’t nearly as good at translating high-calorie feed into protein, but these birds need a lot less feed. They’re tougher animals — given enough pasture, they can survive almost entirely on scratching up bugs. Since feed has been cheap for so long, everybody lost interest in these breeds. After all, a skinny bird that just barely got by eating grubs and potato peels isn’t going to taste nearly as good as one that got fat really quickly off corn kernels.