Birds that are raised outside on lush green meadow (i. e. pasture-raised or pastured) are nutritionally better than chickens that are branded “free range” and sold in grocery stores.
The Fact About Free Range Birds
Free Range chickens are actually raised inside structures. While they are not in cages, they are only allowed to roam inside the building that they live in. Up to 40, 000 chickens are raised inside these football-field size buildings. They never reach to get sunshine or inhale and exhale fresh air. They live their lives roaming around in their own deposits. In fact, air they inhale is filled with ammonia and fecal dust particles from their own excrement.
Pasture Raised Chickens — The Way Nature Designed
Pasture farmed chickens, on the other hand, are raised outside in endless pens that are relocated daily to fresh green grass in their meadow. The pens guard the young birds from possible predators while allowing them to move around and feed. In this environment, the birds scratch the earth and eat bugs and worms plus seeds along with their grain. They enjoy the oxygen and sunshine that the outside provides. Their manure is spread over the complete pasture as they roam about which fertilizes the soil and maintains the pasture rich and green for every following year’s rotation.
Health Rewards of Pasture Raised Hens
1. Chemical-free meat. Since of how free-range hens are commercially farmed they are washed with heavily chlorinated water which leaves a chemical residue on the meat. Pasture-rearing is really a more sanitary method of raising chickens, and does not require heavily chlorinated water washing.
2. Zero antibiotics. Pasture reared chickens are healthier (no overcrowding, natural environment, etc) which contributes into healthier various meats. Chickens reared on pasture fields do not need antibiotics or medication to keep them alive.
3. Higher Omega-3s. ‘Pasture-farmed chickens have recently been shown to contain up to 4 times the amount of omega 3 fat, when comparing to free-range chicken’ (1). They also have the proper ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fat. Together that means eating pasture-farmed poultry makes it much easier to balance the essential fats in your diet. To find out more on the needed balance of Omega 3s and 6s, read The Omega Diet plan by Simopoulos and Robinson, HarperCollins 1999.
4. More vitamins. ‘Pasture farmed hens convey more vitamins E, C, and beta-carotene’ (2).
5. Tastes better. Pasture-farmed hens are tastier than from the commercial perspective raised free-range chickens. Just ask chefs of high end restaurants.