How Many Wings Does a Chicken Have, Anyway?

As surprising as it may seem, wings are currently the most valuable part of a chicken to the commercial poultry industry. Large scale chicken producers are able to sell wings for even more per pound than boneless, skinless breasts. Apparently, demand for chicken wings is perpetually higher than supply. The simple answer would seem to be to simply raise more chickens, but the fact that there is an oversupply of dark meat complicates things. A new, patented cut may be the answer.

Those of us who are not commercial chicken farmers may not be aware that the most frequently used processing method allows for four wings per chicken. The “drumette” and “flats” from each side of the chicken carcass are sold as wing parts.  The new cut allows for the scapula (shoulder) to be used as a wing part, also.

The new cut does not skimp consumers, either, even though it is smaller overall,  in comparison with the drumettes and flats, the scapula has slightly more edible mass. The name Chicken Wings Select is trademarked to be used for the third wing on each side of the chicken. A Chicken Wing Select actualy has more meat and less gristle and cartilige.

Maybe the question “how many wings does a chicken have?” is a trick question, but the new cut represents a boon both to the commercial poultry farmers and folks who like to have chicken wings with their football games. And, while six wings per chicken might conjure images of genetically modified monsters, it is really a simpler matter of how each carcass is cut.