Chicken Farmers Go Interactive With Information Blog

“Questions are best responded to visually.”

– lisa bishop-spencer, cfc

Chickens are not genetically modified to have six wings, nine legs, no feathers and no beaks.

KFC was not forced to change its name from Kentucky Fried Chicken because its chickens aren’t real birds.

Those are two urban myths which Chicken Farmers of Canada gets to debunk in a new blog designed to correct misunderstandings among consumers about chicken production.

Established June 1, the blog, dubbed “Chicken Feeds,” also contains a range of other information, such as how to handle chicken meat and how to prepare it. There’s a compendium of recipes and even a contest for best chicken joke. (For example, why did the chicken cross the road in Italy? Because she was afraid somebody would Caesar.)

CFC is one of the first commodity groups in Canada to get involved in so-called social media, involving online interactive communication. And the response so far is “really positive,” said Lisa Bishop-Spencer, CFC communications manager.

“It’s a very worthwhile endeavour.”

Between June 6 and July 6, Chicken Feeds received 1,100 inquiries, which CFC considers quite good for the first month of operation. Surprisingly, animal welfare isn’t at the top of the query list, according to Bishop-Spencer. A lot of questions deal with meat quality.

Some examples: Is there arsenic in chicken? (No.) Are hormones used to grow chicken? (Not since the 1960s.) Why is breast meat along the bone sometimes green? (It could be a bruise from a damaged blood vessel caused when the chicken flaps its wings too vigorously. The meat is OK but you should still take it back to the store.)

So far, CFC is “just dipping its toes into the social media pool,” said Bishop-Spencer. The agency plans a podcast later this month on how to debone a chicken. Another one will deal with wine pairings (that is, which wine goes well with a particular chicken dish). A series of monthly podcasts will run from July to December.

Having a blog doesn’t mean Chicken Farmers of Canada is dropping its other advertising and promotions. Far from it. CFC was a national sponsor of the Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa. The agency still features cooking demonstrations and its television ads will continue.

But surveys show people are tuning out TV ads, which means commodity groups need new tools to get their messages out, said Bishop-Spencer.

And just because a tool used to be effective doesn’t mean it is anymore, she added. Surveys also show young people don’t use e-mail to communicate with others as much any more. It’s all YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

“Questions are best responded to visually,” said Bishop-Spencer.

The blog initially had a few problems with Internet trolls people who deliberately posted disruptive comments to create discord. The site is now moderated. [email protected]

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