Those who enjoy a chicken dinner, be it barbecue, parmesan or fried, often find themselves leaning towards eating free range chicken. Not only does it make for a better life for the chicken before it becomes dinner, but many people find it more ethical. This is due to the fact that free range chickens can move around a lot, eat bugs and food they find outdoors, and don’t have to experience being de-beaked to help prevent fighting amongst one another.
The definition of free range is wide, and some farmers choose to provide the bare minimum to meet the requirements by the USDA while others give their chickens a lot of freedom. Smaller farms often have free range chickens with a large amount of freedom, while some larger commercial farms do only what they have to get the certification.
Just what is a free range chicken?
By USDA certifications, a free range chicken is one that is given access to the outdoors. This is wide, and one farmer may let their chickens wander outdoors all day in a grassy pasture, while others may only give them a limited dirt space outside of their coop.
Most people who think of free range chickens often think of chickens who have a fenced space or ample pasture space, and leaves some farmers specifying just how they personally define free range for their flock.
Why do some farmers choose to raise free range chicken?
There are many different reasons that farmers choose to raise free range chickens. For many, giving their poultry a high quality of life is important for both them and their customers. The chickens then live most of their lives in a way that is the most humane possible, as it is closest to a natural habitat and they’re able to stay out of fights and have space to move around.
It can also be less work for some farmers, especially if their chickens are given access to the outdoors for a majority of the day. They may eat bugs and other things that occur naturally in their pastures, which means feeding schedules don’t have to be as strict. There is also less cleaning to do of the crop because the chickens spend less time in it.
Why do people prefer to eat free range chicken?
For many people, the often higher price of a free range chicken is worth it for knowing that the chicken lived a humane life. Many free range chickens also have less exposure to antibiotics and other unnatural things that chickens that are raised in coops their entire lives. Many find it to be a healthy and humane alternative to other poultry.
Where is the best place to find free range chicken for consumption?
While many large supermarkets offer free range alternatives in their poultry section, many people who prefer free range like to find it at local farmers markets, directly from a farm, or from small local butcher shops. It can also be found in smaller natural and organic food stores. Many people even raise their own chickens so they know just what they are putting into their bodies.
The reasons people prefer this are plenty, and for many chicken is a healthy alternative to other meats. If they are actively making healthy life choices, it is only natural that they’d want the meat to be as healthy as possible. True free range chicken have a humane life up until their slaughter, and they for those who are eating it, it makes them feel better about the conditions of which the chicken was raised.