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Old 10-19-2010, 02:43 PM   #21
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Highest point in Missouri
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"Free range" bugs the hell out of me. It just means, by law, that the chickens have access to the outdoors for some time period during the day. The amount of time is not specified, nor does anyone check to make sure everyone goes out. And 'outdoors' means a concrete pad--not out into the grass. (I have a 30 by 30 pen, with about 20 chickens in it. There is not a blade of grass to be found in that pen--the girls eat anything that comes up out there.)

In essence, "free range" is a marketing ploy, especially when applied to eating chickens. Commercial broilers are slaughtered at 8 weeks* of age. For the first 4 to 6 weeks, they have to remain indoors and warm, or they will die. Then, a door in the brooder house is opened, and if they are close enough to the door, they may, or may not, go out for a while.

I would not pay one cent extra for chicken, or eggs, labeled free range.

Pastured chicken is chicken that is put on on grass--either in a "chicken tractor" (movable cage) or into a fenced area.

"Organic" means they are fed foods that were raised organically, and they and their chicken house were not sprayed with un-approved pesticides. There are organic pesticides--organic does not mean harmless, it just means that they come from natural sources.

*Which is another reason they are so tender. I don't slaughter my birds until they are at least 12 weeks--they are just too small. Commercial broilers are a certain cross-breed and they are fed special feed to make them grow so fast.
I just haven't been the same
since that house fell on my sister.
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Old 10-19-2010, 05:52 PM   #22
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: SE Pennsylvania
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I buy locally raised chicks. The flavor is cleaner and richer...the broth I get from the bones and scraps is awesome. The meat is firmer...denser... and certainly tastier than commercial birds. I do find it worth the price.
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:14 AM   #23
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Virginia
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These are definitely free range for real. I saw them outin the grass and they have plenty of room. But you're right about some places *stretching* the definition of free range!

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