Pasture free range chicken is BETTER than factory chicken...here is WHY!

Photo Credit: Canadian Small Flockers

While many people enjoy eating chicken in their diet, the vast majority of them are unaware of how it is raised. Why is it so important to know how the chicken on your plate is raised? Because eating high-quality and ethically raised chicken has maximum nutritional value our body needs. There is hard scientific evidence that proves that free-range pasture chicken is better than factory chicken. The American Pastured Poultry Producers Association ("APPPA") conducted a research called "Pasture and Feed Affect Broiler Carcass Nutrition” to find out more about how the nutrition varies between pasture free range chicken and factory farmed chicken. Let's first take a closer look at the difference between factory farmed chicken and pastured raised chicken.

Factory farmed chicken– Also known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a farm in which chickens are raised in confinement. Factory farmed chickens are commercially mass produced because of the profit margin involved at minimal cost. Factory chickens are typically fed genetically engineered (GE) corn and soybeans, which is not a part of their natural diet that comprises of seeds, green plants, insects, and worms. The major downside of CAFO farms is that they produce highly unhealthy meat that is injected with hormones and antibiotics. CAFO farms are also a disaster for the environment as they produce animal waste that contaminates the environment. The tragical conditions under which the chickens are raised is a huge concern in CAFO farming method.

Pastured chicken - Pastured poultry or “Grass-Fed” is a sustainable, eco-friendly and ethical chicken farming method. This type of farming is opposed to the idea of indoor confinement and lets the chickens thrive naturally by exposing them to sunlight, open land and dirt. The chickens grow eating grass, bugs, earthworms etc. as nature intended them to be. Since pasture-raised chickens are free of hormones and antibiotics, the meat has the most nutritional value to it. Additionally, the organic free range eggs that come from pasture-raised chickens also have higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A and E.

In the above-mentioned research, it was found that pastured chicken has 33% less of bad Omega-6 fat when compared to factory farmed chicken with 90% more of the healthy Omega-3 fats. As far as the fats are concerned pastured chickens have 50% less fat compared to the farmed chickens. Specifically, pastured chickens have 52% less saturated fat, 53% less Monosaturated fat, and 32% less polyunsaturated fat. The research also shows that when chicken feed is made with soybeans as the primary source of protein, the chickens tend to add significantly more body fat. Whereas, when peas are used as the main source of protein, the chickens tend to be considerably less fatty. Farmed chicken factories highly rely on soybean meal due to the cost and affordability factor. Soybeans have plant compounds that mimic estrogen levels which lead to hormonal imbalances in humans, fertility problems to some extent or may even trigger early puberty in children.

If you want to make sure that your family is healthy and safe, it is best to avoid buying CAFO chicken sold at grocery stores. Try to buy free-range pastured chicken meat from local farmers who practice organic poultry farming. The more we collectively make it a choice to buy local food from a trusted source, the faster CAFO chicken farming will become a thing of past. Thanks to the website Canadian Small Flockers that is a voice for many Canadian farmers who educate, discuss, and advocate through their about the importance of Poultry Farming in Canada.

Learn MORE at Canadian Small Flockers


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