Chicken Buying Guide --- How to choose the BEST chicken
While many people include chicken meat as a part of their diet, many people are not aware of where their meat actually comes from. It's very important information to understand because this not only impacts the health of the chickens being raised for consumption, but it also impacts our health as well. There are three main categories of chicken that are available to us as consumers. The first is the most popular which is the type of chicken you will most commonly see at the grocery store. This is the Factory Chicken, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation "CAFO", or Commercially Produced Chicken that is raised in Factory Farms making it easier to produce more chicken in less time. Then there is the Pastured Poultry, which is usually raised by Small Flock Poultry Farmers and Organic or free range Chicken which used to only be available from Small Flock farmers, but now factory farms can also sell free range chicken too.
Since factory chicken farms are all about producing the maximum amount of chicken meat in a short amount of time, the conditions of these farms are usually far less than humane or desirable. The chickens are raised indoors in large buildings sometimes the size of a few football fields. This is not natural to the chickens who would biologically prefer to be outdoors, and the conditions of these buildings is toxic, to say the least. For one, the air quality in the buildings the chickens are raised in is filled with dust and manure which is toxic to the chickens. Also, the lights in these factory farms are kept on for more than 18 hours a day to keep the chickens feeding constantly so they are constantly growing in size so they can reach their "kill weight" faster. Then, since the chickens are kept in such close quarters if one of them gets sick all of them will soon get sick. That means that the chickens are constantly pumped full of antibiotics and dietary supplements which is put directly into the bird's feed. All of these chemicals will eventually end up in our systems when we eat the meat.
Pastured poultry, on the other hand, are raised with more ethical chicken farming standards. These chickens live most of their lives on green pastures thriving in a natural setting as they are biologically created to do. These chickens, unlike the factory, farmed chickens see the sun, they get a healthy diet of natural insects from the earth as well as healthier feed that doesn't include all of the potions that are added to the factory raised chicken's diets. These chickens are treated with respect and given the best care until they are humanely killed for food. There are also organic chickens, but the agriculture corporations want tighter control of the organic standard so that it has more lenient rules which can have some factory raised chicken being deemed as organic chicken. So it's a good idea to do some research on the farm that the chicken comes from to see what their practices are and it's an even better idea to buy only pasture raised chicken from a reputable source in your local community. Free range chicken that is raised with ethical chicken farming practices is also much healthier for humans because number one it doesn't contain all of the harmful chemicals that factory farmed chicken has. It also doesn't have all of the fat that factory farmed chicken will have because of the high fat diet these chickens are raised on. So now that you have a bit more information, you can make a more educated decision on the type of chicken you consume.***
Learn MORE at Canadian Small Flockers
To help with slow website load, we have put all photos for this article here: View photo gallery.