What accounts for the popularity of chicken in America? From a delivery error

In the early 1900s, being able to enjoy a chicken meal was a rarity, especially in America, which today is the leading producer of broilers.

In those days, eating a broiler chicken cost about $0.50 per kilo, which corresponds to about $22 per kilo today. Rural Americans only ate chicken when an old hen stopped laying eggs, which tasted rather dry and tough.

So how did the American chicken industry develop as we know it today?

The protagonist of this story is Cecile Long Steele of Delaware, who is credited with pioneering the poultry industry in 1923!


Cecile Long Steel
Cecile Long Steel

It all seems to be related to a delivery error.

Steele received an accidental shipment of 500 baby layer chicks instead of 50. She quickly processed that fact and thought of building extra housing to raise the excess baby chicks and decided to sell them for meat … at $0.62 per kilo.

Steele’s neighbours took that fact as an example to imitate and started raising chickens themselves.

The following year, Steele’s production rose to 1,000 baby chicks and by 1925, in Delaware alone, chickens raised for meat became 10 million!

The further development of broiler farming then found optimal conditions for it to flourish as the 1920s saw a flourishing economy, along with advances in refrigeration, transportation and supermarkets that contributed greatly to the popularity of chicken in America.

The interesting story can be found at this link:



The editorial staff of M.A.C.