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"Poussin", French for unfledged chicken or spring chick, owes its tenderness to its young age and fast growth. Just over three weeks of age at processing, and with a dressed weight of approximately 12 to 20 oz. for a whole-body, eviscerated bird, these happy little chickens are free to roam about in comfortable heated barns, in their own natural social clusters. The young Poussins have complete freedom to eat and drink at will. This combined with their young age allows Poussin to be of extremely tender, light meat, while delicately textured and flavored character.
Some have confused these special small chickens with "cornish hens":
Poussins are younger than cornish by a week or more when prepared for the market. Cornish can reach as much as 2 lbs in size whereas a Poussin ranges from 12 to 20 ounces. Recent market changes in part due to limited availability of fresh cornish, has pushed the traditional Poussin size to the upper ends of the size range. Historically, Poussin would be closer to 12 to 16 ounces is all. In recent years we have seen demand stronger for birds weighing closer to 16 to 20 ounces in size when eviscerated whole body ready to cook.
Some have wrongfully called them "squab chickens":
Poussins are not pigeons as are squabs. The practice of using squab to imply young and small is not appropriate nor is it accurate. As long ago as the early 1970's the USDA pronounced the use of the term "squab" as a modifier for chickens was no longer legal as had been the practice for years. Poussins are all natural chickens prepared for market while still extremely tender, and the word "squab" specifically and solely refers to young pigeons.
In some circles they are even referred to as "spatchcocks":
Poussins are not "spatchcocks", which is a term that accurately and historically relates to the method by which boneless birds are split (butterfly style) lengthwise down the back to allow easier cooking exposure.
Though even dictionaries vary as to the source of this term, they all agree that a flattened bird or "dispatched cock" of any species is a "spatchcock", and we agree it is a great way to prepare a Poussin.
Cherished in European cooking for centuries, Squab Producers of California began producing these delectable little birds for the marketplace back in 1983. A young and anxious gourmand, Gerald Prolman is really responsible for Poussins being grown in the United States. Gerald started with another grower, north of San Francisco, but when he quit producing them after a short time, we began production and have done so continuously ever since. Other growers in different parts of the country now raise Poussin for both retail and restaurants throughout the country, however, California all natural Poussins remain the original, and by the accounts received from our customers, the best available.
Our California Poussins are provided a balanced diet consisting of all vegetable feed, high in soy for protein and all natural grains. We use no antibiotics. We allow no artificial ingredients while either growing or processing. We recycle everything we can to follow our philosophy that sustainable agriculture is healthy agriculture. California Poussins are nutritionally excellent, the perfect single serving size whether whole or boneless, and lends itself nicely to a variety of cuisine flavors, and preparation methods including grilling and roasting.
Poussin Chicken Nutritional Information
For more information, including additional preparation ideas visit the following links:
Heritage Valley Farms All Natural Game Hens
Our All Natural Game Hens are antibiotic free and raised without any growth hormones or stimulants whatsoever. Raised in large barns, and fed an all vegetarian diet, our All Natural Game Hens meet the standards of the California Poultry Meat Quality Assurance Plan. Each bird is treated humanely from hatching through grow out and continuing through to the processing plant, where every employee receives ongoing training in Animal Welfare. Our All Natural Game Hens are air chilled, and packaged in individual "grip & tear" bags. Whether stuffed & baked, or split & grilled, this tender poultry item is a crowd pleaser.