Frank Purdue was the only child of Arthur Purdue. THE chicken-farming founder of the eponymous Purdue Farms.
And it’s good be a chicken farmer in a country with a chicken addiction! Purdue Farms is responsible for over 7% of the country's chicken production of over 8 billion chickens (for eating) per year. But despite his success, Frank lived in relative obscurity until in 1971 when he decided that the country needed to know that Purdue chickens, were better than other chickens.
And he wanted you to know that he was the reason Purdue chickens were so good!
Because, “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken.”
Which is only half right!
It turns out that male chickens, what we call roosters or cocks (or cockerels when younger) are not a commercially viable product compared to their female counterparts. Being unable to lay any of the nearly 100 BILLION eggs Americans eat each year is of-course part of the problem. With their skinny bodies and tough meat less desirable for eating being the other part. With no table to be served on and no eggs to lay, roosters are no more than a byproduct of the female chicken producing process.
Sexing is the act of separating the male from the female chicks and it is not for the faint of heart. Chicken sexers (literally!) squeeze the shit out of a (usually) day-old chick, opening up their anal vent, which allows a sexer's trained eye to check their gender and separate of the males from the females.
Though it's still better to be a chicken than a rooster, a lady-chicken’s life is not a great one. Once separated from the men, the chicks are divided further. Egg layers get to live for 6-8 years, if they can keep production up. But they spend all that time in a coop where they are fed a diet designed more to make your breakfast taste good, than their dinner.
Roaster chickens have the life! Well fed and (generally) free to meander around the farm it's all sunshine and rainbows for a roaster. At least for the 14-weeks it takes them to fatten up enough that they can become a pot of my soup.
Don't Be THE Rooster
In the United States each year, over 7-Billion roosters become chicken by-product on their first day of life. Unable to lay an egg, and their skinny frames not worth the cost of the feed, the are sorted from the females and disposed of, through a process called maceration.
And experience which I fear paint dealers are about to find relatable!
I spent four-days last week “attending” the virtual AllPro show. “Attending” in quotes since I never left Stamford! But I still spent my week in countless video chats and conversations with independent paint dealers.
And while we spent plenty of time speaking about THE Revolution, my e-commerce platform for independent dealers which I was there to present to the group, it was dealers feeling macerated by the current shortages plaguing our industry which was far more front-of-mind.
Dealers have been dealing with shortages for much of this year. I spoke to one dealer who explained that even before storms in Texas shut down the refineries it had been weeks since he had received a gallon of Bin; THE shellac-based primer from Zinsser.
Another dealer shared that in an effort to keep his shelves full, he’s ordered five’s of products which he can no longer get in gallons and is then having his staff pour them off into gallon cans.
When gallon cans are available.
AllPro members are conditioned to come to these shows to buy product to fill their shelves (at a discount!) in preparation for the busy spring and summer seasons. I know, because I was a member! This year, those purchase orders went un-placed. With manufacturers of paint and many other products limited their customer's purchases rather than encouraging more aggressive buying as is the norm. As an example, Benjamin Moore dealers were limited to purchase of no more than 80% of the average of their two previous show orders.
Which from what I heard, made Benjamin Moore dealers better off than most!
With many companies on allocations of 50% or even less, I applaud Benjamin Moore for recognizing their enormous responsibility in this space. And for their bold attempt to keep their dealers stocked during what must be considered a crisis for all players in our space.
But mastication is more than just the crushing effects of not having paint to sell. Dealers struggling with shortages will soon be forced to deal with the price increases which must come after such a significant disruption in the supply chain. One industry CEO I spoke with last week shared that they have already seen increases on raw materials for latexes of over 12%. The raw materials to make solvent-based products have increased more than 17%, with epoxies, lacquers and urethanes going for the record!
All leaving dealers feeling a bit like the rooster in the sexers hand.