ANU is throwing the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons with research showing backyard chicken keeping is less sustainable than leaving it to the big boys:
Two ingredients from the humble chicken salad sandwich gave Cluster member Dr Martyn Kirk from NCEPH, an insight into how the production of food may impact our climate future.
“We compared the carbon footprints of lettuce and chicken produced by local industrial producers with that of civic producers, such as community gardens or veggie patches in backyards.”
“Civic lettuce had a carbon footprint similar to that of industrial lettuce, but industrial chicken is far better than growing chicken in backyards for meat. The main reason is that industrial chicken farms are very efficient – they have low water and land usage, and low carbon dioxide output – largely because the chickens are slaughtered early.”
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“There are other things which need to be considered when looking at efficiency in food production, such as animal welfare, but from a climate change point of view, industrial produced chicken gets a thumbs up as a source of high quality protein.”
On the other hand I don’t know any backyard chicken growers who eat their chooks.