Most Chickens Take More Medicine Than My Children Do.

File:Roasted chicken.jpgScientists at John Hopkins University ran a feather sample test to find out what toxins could be found in the feathers of our non-organic chickens that are used in the poultry industry. Researchers were only looking for antibiotics in the poultry, but when other chemicals were included in the test at no charge, they went ahead and asked for those results too.


Even I was shocked to learn that they found that chickens had been being given Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics. I was only shocked because the practice of giving this kind of antibiotic to chickens has been banned because it greatly reduced the antibiotic’s effectiveness for people who needed it. It was given to chickens as a preventative  measure, and resulted in some bacteria becoming resistant to it so that when humans were infected, it no longer worked. I guess rules don’t matter to the big time corporate farmers though, because they are clearly still giving it to their chickens. I guess it doesn’t matter that according to to the Infectious Diseases Society of America  them that antibiotic-resistant infections already kill more Americans than AIDS.


The researchers weren’t quite sure why chickens were given Tylenol. They presumed it must be as a pain relieving measure, because stressed out chickens makes for a bad texture of meat. Whatever the reason, there was Tylenol in there. How many of you ever presumed there was Tylenol in the bodies of the chickens that we eat?


Benadryl is apparently commonly given to chickens to relax them. They are all penned together and overcrowded and it creates a very stressful situation for the chickens. Chicken farmers try to help them relax by doping them up with Benadryl. Presumably their bodies use most of it, but never the less, the non-organic chickens we eat often  have been given Benadryl.


Why in the world would farmers give chickens arsenic? Right? Actually arsenic is routinely given to poultry because it reduces infections in them and gives their meat a nice pink color. In recent months, we’ve learned about arsenic in rice and in apple juice. Now we also have to worry about arsenic in our chicken. The poultry industry however says it could easily be arsenic that was just naturally found in nature coming from the corn or soybeans that the chicken were fed.  Given that the poultry industry demonstrated a lack of trustworthiness in regards to the use of banned antibiotics though, I don’t trust them. Besides, a different study showed that chicken feathers contained mostly the kind of arsenic that is not naturally occurring in nature.


Why in the world would chickens need caffeine? Well, apparently chickens are routinely given coffee pulp because it keeps them awake longer. The longer they are awake, the longer they eat. The more the eat, the bigger they will be. Since poultry chickens only live a few months anyway, the goal is to get them as big as possible in as short of a time as possible.


This is really just insane. By the time I learned that chicken feathers tested positive for caffeine, I was pretty much numb. The study got worse though. Also found in the feathers of our poultry chickens was anti-depressants like Prozac. Seriously? Prozac? I guess, now that I know the horrible conditions these chickens have to endure during those short months, I should be thankful that they don’t have to go through it will complete awareness. Even still though, wouldn’t eating free range chicken be a kinder and healthier choice?  Farmers feed their chickens Anti-depressants to regulate their moods so that they are relaxed enough to make meat that isn’t tough, not because they feel bad for the quality of their lives.


Now, it’s important to realize that because of this, more tests have to be run on the meat of the chicken. Just because it’s in the feathers, the poultry industry pointed out in response to this study, does not mean it’s in the meat.  So, it looks like we’ll learn the complete scope of this situation at a later date. In the meantime:

Now can we all just start eating organic?


  1. c. murray

    This is one of the reasons I am a vegetarian, the government knows what these places do to these animals and the drugs and toxins they feed them and they refuse to do anything about it!

  2. Bob

    Can you cite your information? The post above says that “a study” was done but doesn’t reference that study. Also, why was the study done on chicken feathers and not the actual chicken meat or tissue. It seems to me that chicken feathers would contain a whole lot more crap than the chicken meat itself. I am all for natural/organic food but solid research needs to go into claims like these. Based on this article alone, I’m not convinced.

    • Dawn

      Sorry! I forgot to add the hyperlink. My internet kept going out when I was editing this one. I just went to John Hopkins and searched for “chicken feather meal antibiotics” and there was an article on it at the top. 🙂 Hope that helps.

    • Dawn

      ANd from what I understand it was the feathers, because it works the same as a hair sample, giving a complete understanding of anything they’ve ever given them, besides for just what they were given a few hours earlier.

  3. Lisa B

    Hey Dawn! I’ve read several well-researched articles that include studies with the same findings… but I am curious which specific study you are referencing here 🙂 Thanks!

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