Ann Blanton Let's talk health, fitness, nutrition and everything in between

Farm raised chickens vs. free range- what’s the difference?

Posted on: January 4, 2013

Free range chickens

Home, home on the range

Photo by: Brookford Farm

http://www.flickr.com/photos/brookfordfarm/4856788448/

Farm raised chickens vs. free range- what’s the difference?

by Ann Blanton

Farm raised

Have you ever noticed the yellow color of a chicken purchased at your local market? The reason behind this is because these birds have been raised where they can scarcely move, stretch or engage in normal behaviors. The overcrowded space is so limited, these poor chickens can barely flap their wings. Confided circumstances such as these put stress on chickens. When chickens are stressed, they naturally produce disease.

These birds have been raised in coops with other chickens that sit around in their own feces and have been injected with antibiotics and hormones. This hardly sounds appetizing right? No wonder people are concerned about the foods they eat and where it comes from. Consuming healthy protein is a major factor for a healthy lifestyle, eliminate disease and increase energy level.

Free range

This in itself is pretty self-explanatory. It simply means these little guys are free to roam. They’re not raised in chicken houses like farm raised birds; they’re not diseased because they don’t sit in their own feces or the feces of other chickens. Unlike there farm raised friends who live six weeks, free range chickens live, approximately eight weeks longer. A diet for a free-range bird consists of natural grass, grains and seeds, and are not addicted to drugs.

Beware 

Be cautious of farmers who say there hens are free-range. If their diet consists of corn, soy and synthetics, they are not free-range. 

Which eggs are best?

Considering the conditions of the farm raised hens, eggs produced from free-range chickens are naturally healthier, more nutritious and are much healthier for the planet.

Nutritional facts:

Approximately free range eggs contain 1/3 less cholesterol, 1/4 less saturated fat, 2/3 more vitamin A, twice as many omega-3-fatty acids,  triple the amount of vitamin E, 7 times more beta carotene and as much as 6 times more vitamin D.

Remember, the answer may differ depending on the farms.

Tip:

When thawing a chicken, do so on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.  By applying this helpful tip, you can prevent salmonella from spreading. Placing a chicken on the top shelf will allow the juices to drip on the lower shelves, which can spread salmonella to other food items.

I’ve had many articles published at Fitness Plus Magazine. Here’s the link to view them if you want to check them out. http://fitplusmag.com/magazine/author/annblanton/ I’ve also had my first short story published as anthology in a book titled, “Heartscapes”.

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4 Responses to "Farm raised chickens vs. free range- what’s the difference?"

Hi Ann, very interesting article. Since I live on a farm and have raised many a chicken that were “free range”, I enjoyed your article. I’ve seen the types of places that you described in your article, where they raise chickens in tiny boxes and the chicken is never allowed out. It’s heart breaking.

Many eggs are produced in similar places where the hens are never allowed out of their confined space and when she lays an egg, it rolls into a tube to be picked up by the “farmer”.

While raising our chickens, some for egg laying and others for eating, we did have coops, but the chickens were free to come and go as desired. Sometimes, though the hens would want to “set” or in other words, keep the eggs under them until they hatched, and in those cases, the birds were held confined because they wanted to be, not because we forced them. It’s not easy getting eggs out from under a determined hen. Gloves are a must and you’d better be fast.

Just a little barn yard speculating. We don’t raise any chickens any more.

Hi Donna,

We’ve known each other almost three years and I had no idea you raised chickens. I guess you really do learn something new every day.

My kids always raised chickens to roam where they want. Now I know that no matter how big a mess they made on the front porch, they were better for you. Very interesting. I am always learning something from you Thanks

Thanks for the comment, Barb.

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