Pilgrim's Pride (NYSE:PPC) continues to ride the momentum of its add-to-earnings acquisition of ConAgra's (NYSE:CAG) noncore chicken business. For the fiscal fourth quarter, revenue increased 110%, and net income almost tripled.

Wall Street found the news something to crow about and sent the stock up 16% to a 52-week high.

Pilgrim's Pride has been riding high with the strong protein sales spawned by low-carbohydrate diets. Like competitors Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN), Gold Kist (NASDAQ:GKIS), and Sanderson Farms (NASDAQ:SAFM), chicken margins have fattened substantially -- operating margins at Pilgrim's Pride went from 3.5% in last year's fourth quarter to 8.8% this quarter.

Not all meats are created equal. Pork producer Smithfield Foods (NYSE:SFD) could manage only 4.2% operating margins in its latest quarter.

Pilgrim's Pride is excited about 2005, too. Rising export demand and further drops in commodity grain prices will be positives. Analysts were looking for earnings of $2.41 a share (which would be a drop), but the company's $2.60-$2.90 a share guidance will certainly get those numbers raised.

The company is enjoying a peak earnings period. When it comes to commodities, Wall Street loves to see those companies build balance sheet wealth during peaks -- but it does not richly reward those earnings with market multiples.

The good news in chicken is out. For those looking for the stability of a food stock, a low price-to-earnings ratio, and a high yield (much higher than Pilgrim's Pride's 0.2%), take a look at Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation Sara Lee (NYSE:SLE). Selling for 13 times 2005 earnings estimates, that stock yields an impressive 3.4%.

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Fool contributor W.D. Crotty does not own stock in any of the companies mentioned but does have a few chickens for fresh eggs.