Science: Case of the Barren Mink

The U.S. Department of Agriculture once advised chicken raisers to dose broiler pullets with the synthetic hormone stilbestrol. The drug stops the growth of ovaries in pullets, turns them into the fat, tender female equivalent of capons, which fetch a premium price.

Agriculture said further that stilbestrol should be administered as a pellet thrust under the skin of the pullet's neck. If the head and neck were removed, according to instructions, before the broiler was marketed, no human chicken-eater would get the remains of the pellet. To avoid waste, the department suggested feeding the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!